The Band and Bugles of The Rifles Senior Bugle Major Sjt Simon Topp Asst Director of Music Lt Bethan Waters Other Band Personnel

Born in Stevenage in 1992 Lt Bethan Waters studied the violin, piano and voice from an early age, soon achieving the highest grade standards in each instrument. On relocating to North Devon in 2006 she took up the saxophone, and after completing her secondary education began reading Music at the University of Bristol (UoB) in 2010. As a vocalist she has appeared at several BBC Proms with the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, and was delighted to give the world premiere of two newly discovered Elgar songs on BBC Radio 3 in 2013. She also features on several commercial discs ranging from popular music to Gorecki. Turning to conducting she directed the UoB Chamber Choir and Orchestra in their 2011/12 season and the UoB Wind Orchestra the following year. She graduated with First Class Honours in 2013.

As Deputy Senior Under Officer of Bristol University Officer Training Corps, Lt Waters was awarded the Council of Military Education Committee’s national prize for outstanding service during her degree, and in 2014 entered the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Commissioning into CAMUS, she was promoted to Junior Under Officer and was awarded the Commandant’s Merit Award after excelling during her training. She arrived at The Royal Military School of Music to begin the Young Officer Course in April 2015, with highlights including a Short Term Training attachment to Jordan where she worked with the newly formed Jordanian Army Female Band. She was delighted to take over as the Assistant Director of Music of The Band and Bugles of The Rifles in May 2016.

As well as music Lt Waters has a passion for sports and outdoor pursuits including hockey and skydiving, and is a qualified ski instructor. In her spare time she loves getting back home to the beaches of North Devon.

Before his appointment as Senior Bugle Major of The Rifles, Sjt Topp passed out of training 16 July 1999 and joined the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Green Jackets, serving in Germany, Warminster, Ballykinler in Northern Ireland and Bulford. After three years in a Rifle Company, he was selected for the Machine Gun/Bugle Platoon, where he served as a Section 2iC and Section Commander before being selected to go to the Army School of Ceremonial in Catterick, as a Bugle Instructor. In 2008, a year after the reformation of The Light Division into The Rifles, he was posted to the 3rd Battalion The Rifles in Edinburgh, to the newly formed Fire Support Group which re-roled into the Bugle Platoon and became part of the Assault Pioneer Platoon.  Here he held the post of Platoon Commander.  He then returned to the Army School of Ceremonial to take up the appointment as the Bugle Major.

Sjt Topp’s operational experience includes tours of Bosnia, Kosovo, Op FRESCO supporting the fire strikes, a residential tour of Northern Ireland and two tours of Afghanistan, as well as deploying on numerous exercises in Great Britain, France, Germany, Poland, Ukraine and Kenya.  

Since the beginning of his military career he has been married to Nicola, who has been a constant support to him throughout his time in the Army.  Nicola remains at home to look after their four daughters, Grace, Eve, Olivia and Matilda.

His hobbies and interests include walking, reading, fishing, Historic days out and spending as much time with his family as possible.