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Remembered Today:

The Bugles and Drums of the Stedfast Association


The Scorer
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"Operation Flanders Poppy"

I am one of the Drum Majors for the Bugles and Drums of the Stedfast Association (for the former and current members of The Boys’ Brigade), and I would like to tell you about our trip to Flanders and the Somme in August and September this year.

The purpose of the trip is to commemorate the service given by the former and current members of The Boys’ Brigade in the First World War. We will be playing at several memorials and visiting the battlefield sites and museums.

We leave the UK on Friday 29th August and travel via Dover to Calais and then on to Ypres, where we are staying at two places, Poppies or the Menin Gate School Hotel. Once we’re settled in, we’ll make our own evening meal arrangements, and then return to the hotels for a well earned rest after a long day!

On Saturday 30th August, we’re up early for a departure at 08.45 for a Band Practice at a local military establishment for approximately one hour. At 10.00, we’ll depart from the Barracks for visit to TOC H (Talbot House) Museum at Poperinge and the “Shot at Dawn Memorial” at Poperinge Town Hall.

After lunch we’ll visit Essex Farm Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery in Ypres, followed by the Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery and Memorial at Zonnebeke, near Ypres, where we will lay a wreath & sound the Last Post.

When we return to Ypres, we’ll have an opportunity to visit the “In Flanders Field Museum” in the Cloth Hall, Groot Square, or to relax. That’s not the end of the day, however, as at 18.30 we will form up for a musical performance in Groot Square at 18:45 hours before we march off at 19.30 for the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate.

The ceremony will begin with a “Call to Attention” by the Ypres Fire Brigade Buglers, who will then play “The Last Post”. This will be followed by the Exhortation (from ‘For the Fallen’ by Laurence. Binyon, which will be said by the Lord Mayor of London or someone from her party. Following the two minute’s silence, our Pipers will play during the laying of the wreaths. Our Bugle teams will then play a second “Call to Attention” followed by “Reveille” and “Retreat”.

Following the end of the ceremony, it’s hoped that we’ll be leading the Lord Mayor of London’s processional party back to Groot Square, where we’ll dismiss at 20.30 – thus ending another very long day!!

Our third day (Sunday 31st August) will begin at 09.30 with a parade to St George’s Chapel for morning service. After the service finishes, we will have some leisure time, and several options are available to us. One is a Battlefield tour, including the new “Passchendaele Museum” and other sites; a second is to remain in Ypres to either shop (for Belgium chocolate?) or a visit to the “In Flanders Fields” Museum and a third is simply to relax.

However, we’re back “on duty” at 19.20, when we muster in Groot Square for the march to the Menin Gate for the “Last Post” ceremony. This will broadly be the same as on the previous night, and following the ceremony the band will march back to “Beat the Retreat” in the Groot Square, where we will dismiss by 20:45 – and then to bed?

Monday 1st September will be our final full day, and we’ll be up early to depart by 08.00 for a full day visit to The Somme. Our first visit will be to the Thiepval Memorial at 10.00, where we will be Beating the Retreat at 11.00.

Our next visit is of special significance to The Boys’ Brigade, as it is to Authuille Church, where there is a memorial to the 16th (Glasgow Boys’ Brigade) Battalion, the Highland Light Infantry. This Battalion was mainly formed from former and current members of the Glasgow Battalion of The Boys’ Brigade in 1915. During our visit, the band will be playing.

We will have lunch at the Ulster Tower, where our pipers will play a lament. In the afternoon, we move on to Newfoundland Park, Lochnagar Crater and, if time permits, Delville Wood and the Footballers Memorial.

We will then return to Ypres for our evening meal – and we have an evening off!

Our last day (Tuesday 2nd September) sees us leave Ypres mid morning for the journey to Calais and the ferry to Dover. On our arrival at Dover we will be travelling back to our various homes – tired but happy!

My reason for posting this is to extend an invitation to any former or current members of The Boys' Brigade to come and say "hello" to us if you see us on our travels. I don't know whether any of the Forum Pals are Old Boys, but if you are, please get in touch and I'll let you know more about the band.

"Sure and Stedfast"

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There's at least one - me, formerly Lance-Corporal 14th Southport Company, and bugler in the band fielded jointly by 14th Company and a couple of other local companies (whose numbers now escape me, and appear to have been disbanded from the listings on http://www.stedfast.co.uk/2.html, possibly 2nd and 7th from the history available via that same site). Good luck with it all.

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Thanks very much!

I was in the 1st Newport Company (the first Company in Wales!) as a Boy up to the rank of Colour Sergeant. I left there to join the 8th Newport Company as an Officer, and spent around 25 years there, including being the Captain for thirteen years.

I'm now the Secretary of the Federation of Stedfast Associations, UK and the Republic of Ireland.

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My dad and various other relatives were boys (and officers) in Cardiff companies.

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My dad and various other relatives were boys (and officers) in Cardiff companies.

Your surname isn't famliar, but I may well have known some of the others - would you care to give me any of the names, please?

Thanks!

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I can't recall the exact family members now - they were mostly at Grand Avenue though. Dad would have been in from about 1955-65. Think I should still have an officer's cap somewhere that was a great-uncle's or great-grandfather's, but not sure of name off the top of my head.

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  • 1 month later...

I'd just like to bring this "back to the front" if I may.

We're off to Belgium on Thursday following an overnight stay in London tomorrow, and we'll be in Ypres on Thursday evening. The programme will be as described in my original post, so if any Forum Pals are in the areas that we're visiting and would like to say hello, please feel free to do so (even if you weren't in the BB!).

As I said above, I'll be one of the Drum Majors, so you'll be able to identify me by the stick .... !

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm pleased to be able to say that everything went well ... in fact, better than that, as we had an excellent time.

We did everything that we planned to do, and the weather was kind to us while we were doing it! If you were one of the spectators, I'd be pleased to hear from you .. as the old joke goes: if you liked us, we were The Boys' Brigade; but if you didn't, we were the Scouts (with apologies to all my Scouting friends)!!

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