Members of Garvey Silver Band pictured at
the Service of Commemoration at the Ulster
Tower on Saturday 1st July.
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
of Ireland. The Band also massed with the Band of the
Territorial Army of Newfoundland to play several items, which
proved very popular with the visitors to the site of the
preserved trenches at Beaumont Hamel. All the members of the
party attended the National Service of Commemoration at the
Thiepval Memorial on the 1st July in the presence of
HRH the Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.
The party then moved to the Ulster Tower
for a further Service of Commemoration in the presence of HRH
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 Guillemont.
When wreathes were laid by HRH the Duke of Gloucester, N.I.
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 Government.
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 11th November 1998 by The President of
Ireland and H.M. The Queen and King Albert of the Belgians.
Again the Band attracted a large crowd of visitors.
On the evening of the 2nd July
the Band was privileged to play at he 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
Band had the responsibility of playing the National Anthems of
Canada, Australia, United Kingdom and Belgium and there were
many compliments paid to the members of the Band both in their
appearance and playing ability.
The members of the Band wish to thank
Lisburn City Council, the Business Community of Lisburn, The
Royal Ulster Rifles Association N.I. 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.