Garvey Silver Band playing at the 16th Irish
Division Memorial in Guillemont. US29-731SP
THE members of Garvey Silver Band recently
represented the city of Lisburn at the Menin Gate ceremony in
Belgium during the band's trip to the 90th Anniversary 'Battle
of the Somme' celebrations.
The five-day tour to the Somme region based
in Amiens was organised under the auspices of the Royal Ulster
Rifles Association with members of the Lisburn Branch of the
Royal British Legion, accompanied by the band and guests. Partly
funded by Lisburn City Council and generous subscriptions from
the local business community, the tour was a great success.
The party with their tour guide Col Derek
Smyth of the Army Benevolent Fund visited many of the sites of
the Battle of the Somme in and around the Amiens area. The band
played at many of these sites, entertaining the large crowds
there and also commemorating the fallen soldiers of the island
Garvey Silver Band taking a break
while playing at the Ulster Tower US29-728SP
Garvey Silver Band playing at the
Island of Ireland Peace Park in Belgium US29-729SP
Garvey Silver Band playing with the Newfoundland
Territorial Army Band. US29-730SP
All the members of the party attended the
National Service of Commemoration at the Thiepval Memorial on
July 1 in the presence of Prince Charles and the Duchess of
The party then moved to the Ulster Tower for
a further Service of Commemoration in the presence of the Duke
of Gloucester and many other dignitaries from Ireland.
There was a further act of Commemoration at
the 16th Irish Division Memorial in the little village of
When wreaths were laid by the Duke of
Gloucester, Secretary of State Peter Hain and Mr Des Browne,
Secretary of State for Defence as well as Monsieur Didier Samain,
Mayor of Guillemont, Brigadier-General Liam MacNamee, the Irish
Defence Force and Mary Hanfin, TD on behalf of the Irish
On the fourth day of the tour the party
travelled north to Ypres in Belgium to continue the battlefield
visits and performing at the Island of Ireland Peace Park, which
was opened on November 11, 1998 by the President of Ireland and
the Queen and King Albert of the Belgians. Again the Band
attracted a large crowd of visitors.
On the evening of July 2 the band was
privileged to play at the extremely moving Last Post Ceremony at
the Menin Gate. The Ypres Fire Brigade has carried out this
ceremony every evening since 1928 with the exception of 1940 to
September 1944 when the Germans occupied Belgium.
Because of the 90th anniversary celebrations
in the area the large crowd of over 1000 people were joined by
the ambassadors of Australia and Canada, attending this evening
in particular to lay wreaths to commemorate the dead and missing
of both those countries.
Mr Ken Falloon of Garvey Silver Band laid a
wreath on behalf of the band and the people of Lisburn.
The members of the band thank Lisburn City
Council, the business community of Lisburn, the Royal Ulster
Rifles Association NI and Lisburn Branches, Col Derek Smyth of
the Army Benevolent Fund and Mr Ned Falloon, Band President, for
all the help given to them in making the 90th Anniversary
Battlefield Tour the success it undoubtedly was.