Heritage & Culture

Emma Barr

Emma Barr

Drum Major

My name is Emma Barr, I am 21 years old and I am from Ballygowan, Northern Ireland. I am currently the drum major of Field Marshal Montgomery pipe band and compete in the adult grade in competitions.

My interest of drum majors sparked at the early age of 4 where I became fascinated with their talent at band parades. Pipe bands have always been a huge part of my family so it was to no surprise that my brother and I wanted to be a part of it. My brother followed the tradition of the Barr family and became a piper however, I decided to pursue my interest in drum majors by joining a class based in Belvoir that was run by past World Champion, Alicia Hamilton. I remained at this class until 2007 where drum major Brian Wilson MBE continued my training.

I entered my first competition at the age of 5 in Portrush where I was placed 5th overall. Since then, I have gone on to achieve numerous titles such as two-time Scottish Champion, five-time British Champion, three-time European Champion, five-time UK Champion, Ulster Champion and six-time All-Ireland Champion. I would consider my greatest achievements to date as becoming World Champion in 2010 where I became the youngest world champion to date as well as winning the World Championship in the adult grade in 2018 becoming the youngest adult World Champion as well as winning the title in my first year in the grade. Along with these titles I have also won Champion of Champions in Northern Ireland three times and Scottish Champion of Champions eight times across the entirety of my drum major career.

Becoming a drum major has given me opportunities of a lifetime. I have competed in America four times throughout my career in Sacramento, Loon Mountain (Boston) and Las Vegas where I gained unforgettable memories and made lifelong friends within the drum major circle. I have also taken part in tattoos as part of the International School of Scottish Drum Majors in Germany and Switzerland. I have taken part in the Liverpool Tattoo and the Belfast Tattoo for numerous years including carrying out the role of senior drum major in the 2019 Belfast Tattoo. I have also been given the opportunity to display my talents on the stage in Disneyland Paris and Her Majesty’s Theatre in London, West End.

Throughout my drum major career, I have already achieved more than I hoped for including gaining the titles of UK Champion and World Champion in my first year within the adult grade. I now teach the drum major class at the Schomberg Society in Kilkeel and enjoy passing on my knowledge to a younger generation of up and coming drum majors. Looking into the future, I hope to continue the success that I have experienced as well as becoming a drum major judge in the distant future. I would also like to compete in various competitions globally such as the New Zealand Championships as a chance to experience new countries and cultures whilst doing something I love.

Becoming a drum major was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I have grown so much inside and outside the arena, gained a new found confidence and friends for life.

Colonel Frederick Hugh Crawford, CBE, JP

Colonel Frederick Hugh Crawford, CBE, JP


Colonel Frederick Crawford was an officer in the British Army. Crawford was born in Belfast on 21 August 1861 into a "solid Methodist" family of Ulster-Scots roots. He attended Methodist College Belfast and University College, London.

Whilst Crawford was a determined Ulster loyalist, his great-grandfather was Alexander Crawford, a United Irishman arrested in March 1797 for "high treason", and sent to Kilmainham Gaol, sharing a cell with prominent United Irishman Henry Joy McCracken.

According to the 1911 census for Ireland, Crawford was living in Marlborough Park, Belfast, with his wife of 15 years Helen, and four of their five children: Helen Nannie; Marjorie Doreen; Ethel Bethea; and Malcolm Adair Alexander. His other child, Stuart Wright Knox, is recorded as a pupil at Ballycloghan National School, Belfast.

Stuart would become a lieutenant-colonel in the British Army, before being invalided in 1944. Malcolm, after being a member of the Colonial Police, joined the Royal Ulster Constabulary, advancing to District Inspector. In 1931, Malcolm became a Justice of the Peace for Singapore.

Crawford worked as an engineer for White Star Line in the 1880s, before returning from Australia in 1892. In 1894 he enlisted with the Mid Ulster Artillery regiment of the British Army, before being transferred to the Donegal Artillery, with which he served during the Boer Wars, earning himself the rank of major.

In 1898, Crawford was appointed governor of Campbell College, Belfast. Two of his children, Stuart Wright Knox and Malcolm Adair Alexander, both attended Campbell College.

In 1911 he became a member of the Ulster Unionist Council. On 28 September 1912 he was in charge of the 2,500 well-dressed stewards and marshals that escorted Sir Edward Carson and the Ulster Unionist leadership from the Ulster Hall in central Belfast to the nearby City Hall on Donegall Square for the signing of the Ulster Covenant, which he is alleged to have signed in his own blood. With the formation of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) in 1913, he was made their Director of Ordnance.

During the First World War he was an officer commanding the Royal Army Service Corps, and was awarded the Royal Humane Society's Bronze Medal for saving life. He also became a Justice of the Peace for Belfast.

Crawford in regards to Irish Home Rule was strongly partisan and backed armed resistance in opposing it, being contemptuous of those who used political bluffing. His avocation for armed resistance was evident when he remarked that at one meeting of the Ulster Unionist Council his heart "rejoiced" when he heard talk of looking into using physical force. At another meeting he even went as far as asking some attendees to step into another room where he had fixed bayonets, rifles, and cartridges laid out.

In 1910 the Ulster Unionist Council planned for the creation of an army to oppose Home Rule, and approached Crawford to act as their agent in securing weapons and ammunition. Crawford tried several times to smuggle arms into Ulster, however vigilant customs officials seized many of them at the docks. Despite this, the meticulously planned and audacious Larne gun-running of April 1914, devised and carried out by Crawford was successful in bringing in enough arms to equip the Ulster Volunteer Force.

By the 1920s Crawford remained as stoic in his belief's remarking in a letter in 1920 that "I am ashamed to call myself an Irishman. Thank God I am not one. I am an Ulsterman, a very different breed".

In 1921 Crawford was included in the Royal Honours List and appointed a CBE. In 1934 Crawford wrote his memoirs, titled Guns for Ulster. He died 5 November 1952, and was buried in the City Cemetery, Falls Road, Belfast.

Upon news of his death he was described by the then Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, Sir Basil Brooke, as being "as a fearless fighter in the historic fight to keep Ulster British".

Band of the Royal Irish Regiment

The Band of the Royal Irish Regiment is a military band serving as the regimental band for Royal Irish Regiment (established in 1992) and the chief Irish military reserve band in the British Army. Being a reserve band, with is composed of volunteer musicians with the exception of a permanent staff instructor. It is part of the Corps of Army Music.

Previous Irish military bands in the British Army

Ranger Band

The Royal Irish Rangers Band was established in 1968. It took part in the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 1979. On the 12th January 1991, all 19 members of the band led by bandmaster WO1 Clarke were deployed to a transit camp in Saudi Arabia where they joined a unit of the Royal Marines in Operation Desert Storm. On the 19th January the Band undertook a twelve-hour move towards the border with Iraq to reinforce the 32 Field Hospital, a unit consisting of 600 Military personnel of the British Armed Forces. On St Patrick’s Day a parade was led by the band at the hospital.

UDR Pipes and Drums

Each battalion of the Ulster Defence Regiment had a section of professional bagpipers who were part of a formally pipe band (called the Pipes & Drums of the Ulster Defence Regiment). In June 1986, the regiment held a two-day military tattoo at Ravenhill rugby ground in Belfast. It attracted 12,000 residents of the city and the performance of a Beating Retreat by the Pipes and Drums and the Band of the Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment and the Royal Ulster Constabulary Band. The only UDR recording ever publicly released was the 5 UDR Pipes & Drums performing "Irish & Scottish Pipe Music", which includes the regimental and battalion marches as well as other Irish tunes.


The band in 1993, a year later after the regiment. It uniquely combined the Bugles, Pipes & Drums from both regiments. As a result, boasted the largest regimental musical ensemble in the British Army before being reorganized in October 2007. On 28 April 2012, a parade to a UDR memorial unveiled at the National Memorial Arboretum was led by the band. The band was present during the Ranger's golden jubilee in 2018. During the celebrations, the band performed a Beating Retreat in an event hosted by the Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council.

Its uniform follows the traditional full dress uniform for of Irish regiments and rifle regiments. The pipers uniform consists of a saffron kilt, a bottle-green "Prince Charlie" jacket, cape and caubeen. Unlike other Irish regiments, UDR pipers did not wear a traditional hackle and the lining colour of the cloaks was unique to the regiment.

Killaloe is the regimental march of The Royal Irish Regiment as well as the South African Irish Regiment. When playing the On such occasions, at a time generally given by the Sergeant-Major, the Band would make a pause, during which all ranks would give a 'Connaught Yell!', then continue playing.

Robert Morrow VC

Private Robert Morrow VC


Robert Morrow VC was a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Robert Morrow was born in Newmills, Dungannon, County Tyrone. He was 23 years old, and a Private in the 1st Battalion, The Princess Victoria's Royal Irish Fusiliers, British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

On 12 April 1915 near Messines, Belgium, Private Morrow rescued and carried to places of comparative safety several men who had been buried in the debris of trenches wrecked by shell fire. He carried out this work on his own initiative and under heavy fire from the enemy.

He was killed in action at St. Jan on the Ypres Salient, Belgium, on 26th April 1915 and is buried in White House Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery. His gravestone bears the inscription: GOD IS LOVE.

His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Royal Irish Fusiliers Museum in Armagh.

Mark Smyth

Mark Smyth

NI 100 Honorary Piper

Mark commenced piping with the 25th Belfast BB company at age 13, and also competed with Gilnahirk Pipe Band initially.

He joined the infamous grade 1 band Robert Armstrong Memorial Pipe Band and competed with them. He also joined and played for the, City of Belfast UDR Pipes and Drums who played Tattoos in Northern Ireland and across the UK, including for HM Queen, and the Queen Mother.

Since then he has taken the pipes across the world for new challenges, including the Headhunters' Trail in Borneo, the Great Wall of China, Empire State buildings, and the top of Mount Kilimanjaro just under 20,000 feet! Jungles, mountains and buildings!

He became an ambassador for Titanic Belfast Tartan about 2010 and played pipes for promotional events. He has also played pipes across the southern states of USA, particularly Texas, and the Bahamas for St Patrick's Days, and also some events for 9/11 in New York.

During lockdown he has continued to play for veteran's socially distanced birthdays, particularly those hitting the big 100! And, having created the NI pipe banner for the Centenary, his sights are on 2021 and showing off this amazing country and it's people.

His fondest memory of pipes would be standing in a small Chinese village near the great wall showing children pipes for the first time, and likewise in a 'long hut' in the Borneo jungle for the village elders and kids. They'd never heard pipes before, but they all clapped and danced anyway! The power of music.

Marching Bands

The Origin of Ulsters’ Marching Bands……

In the ancient world musicians performed together and travelled between the early City-States to take part in festivals and other commemorations, a practise that evolved and became more structured when adopted by early armies in the 1700’s.

Large number of troops moved best when in a regular formation and a drum beat aided that, but these early ‘bands’ were also used as field music, a means of controlling troops on the battlefield by giving signals primarily using drum, bugle and fife. Eventually however a separate ceremonial function emerged.

Bands composed of field musicians performed marches, played patriotic music and added to occasions such as military funerals, and it is from these ceremonial Corps of Drums and Military bands that the modern marching band as we know it came.

The formation of the Orange Order in 1795 and its first 12th of July Celebration the following year, was the birth of the modern parading tradition in Ireland. Given the strong Military lineage in the Country it was inevitable that these early parades mimicked military practise, using drum, fife and drum or bugle and drum to keep and maintain both a regular marching time and formation.

The logical progression was the introduction of a full band ensemble akin to the ceremonial military band, and by the 1830’s Brass and Flute bands were being introduced (the oldest marching band in Ireland today is Londonderry’s Churchill Flute, formed in 1835). The practise slowly increased right up to the 1870’s and Pipe, Flute, Silver/Brass and Accordion bands accompanying Orange Order parades was a common feature of rural and urban Ireland by the turn of the 20th Century.

At this stage and prior to the Second World War band membership was composed almost exclusively from the ranks of the Orange Order, but after 1945 this began to change. Perhaps stimulated by the increasing expense and work of maintaining a band, many slowly became independent of Orange Lodges. Bands now were recruiting members outside of the Orange Fraternity, managing their own finances and taking part in many more events outside those organised by the Order.

A new turn in the development of bands came in the 1960’s, when the combination of an increasing number of bands, combined with the large amount of independent bands saw the birth of the outdoor band competition and parade. These band only events were both occasions to showpiece uniforms, marching and discipline and music, allowing them to be seen by their contemporaries and also compete for trophies. The launch of these band parades added even more to the independence of the band ‘scene’ from the Orange Order, and also allowed bands to become much more of an icon in their own communities - a visible expression of an area that local people could support and be proud of.

The late 1960’s and the increasing political tensions in Northern Ireland were to introduce a new element to Ulster’s bands that has stayed with it and become a fundamental element today and one unique in the world.

During the period many young people felt their national and cultural identity was under threat and were searching for a way to express it, and perhaps by virtue that the Orange Order was perceived to be an organisation for the older generation, initially these teenagers joined existing bands. Joining a band was quicker and easier than joining the Loyal Orders and Flute bands being the most numerous type of band were largely the beneficiaries of this influx of membership.

With the arrival of this young and primarily male membership to bands, also came characteristics common to that generation, namely increased volume, colour, commitment, vibrancy and assertiveness. These elements along with eagerness to parade/play immediately to demonstrate their strong feelings saw the birth of a new style of band. ‘Thundering’ drums, shrill flutes and the fact that blood was a common sight on Bass Drums because they were being beaten with such energy, saw this new style of marching music given the name ‘Blood and Thunder’.

Many existing bands began to change to the style as their membership changed, but also new bands sprung up and gave new use for the names of Orange Lodges they had grown up with, ‘Sons of Ulster’, ‘Defenders’ and ‘True Blues’ being adopted as the name for many.

By the late 1970’s Blood and Thunder bands made up almost half of all bands in Northern Ireland, and today they account for just over half with over 300 Blood and Thunder bands active.

Despite the political turbulence in the Country, the band scene continued to develop and during the 1980’s and 1990’s the band specific parades and competitions began to increase in number, with Loyal Order events now only a small amount of the annual work for the vast majority of bands.

Particularly in the 1990’s the competition band scene was very strong and very competitive, and slowly was largely responsible for the raising of standards across the entire scene.

The 2000’s has seen the growth of a new element in the form of indoor events and competitions, largely used as social and fundraising functions, in 2013 indoor events are almost as numerous as parades.

Today in Northern Ireland there are over 660 bands encompassing Melody Flute, Blood and Thunder Flute, Silver, Accordion and Pipe, and the movement and styles have been exported around the world including Scotland, England, Canada and Australia. An ever developing and growing scene, the Ulster Marching Band movement can count itself as one of the most vibrant and unique cultural and musical groups in the world.

Lieutenant Colonel Robert Blair "Paddy" Mayne, DSO & Three Bars

Paddy Mayne was a British Army soldier from Newtownards, capped for Ireland and the British Lions at rugby union, lawyer, amateur boxer and a founding member of the Special Air Service.

Mayne attended Regent House Grammar School. It was there that his talent for rugby union became evident, and he played for the school 1st XV and also the local Ards RFC team from the age of 16. While at school he also played cricket and golf, and showed aptitude as a marksman in the rifle club. On leaving school he studied law at Queen's University of Belfast, studying to become a solicitor. While at university he took up boxing, becoming Irish Universities Heavyweight Champion in August 1936. He followed this by reaching the final of the British Universities Heavyweight Championship, but was beaten on points. With a handicap of 8, he won the Scrabo Golf Club President's Cup the next year. While at university Mayne was an officer cadet with the Queen's University, Belfast Contingent, Officer Training Corps.

Mayne's first full Ireland rugby cap also came in 1937, in a match against Wales. After gaining five more caps for Ireland as a lock forward, Mayne was selected for the 1938 British Lions tour to South Africa. While the Lions lost the first test, a South African newspaper stated Mayne was "outstanding in a pack which gamely and untiringly stood up to the tremendous task". He played in seventeen of the twenty provincial matches and in all three tests. On returning from South Africa, he joined Malone RFC in Belfast.

In March 1939, prior to the outbreak of the Second World War, Mayne had joined the Supplementary Reserve in Newtownards and received a commission in the Royal Artillery, being posted to 5 Light Anti-Aircraft Battery, in 8th Anti-Aircraft Regiment, later 8th (Belfast) Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment. When the battery was assigned to 9th Anti-Aircraft Regiment (later 9th (Londonderry) Heavy AA Regiment) for overseas' service, Mayne was transferred out to 66th Light AA Regiment in Northern Ireland. Then, in April 1940, he was transferred again, this time to the Royal Ulster Rifles.

Following Churchill's call to form a "butcher and bolt" raiding force following the evacuation of Dunkirk, Mayne volunteered for the newly formed No. 11 (Scottish) Commando. He first saw action in June 1941 as a Second-Lieutenant with 11 Commando during the Syria–Lebanon Campaign. Mayne successfully led a section of men during the Litani River operation in Lebanon against Vichy French Forces. The operation was commanded by Major Dick Pedder, Highland Light Infantry, who was killed in action. Mayne played a distinguished part in the raid, for which he was awarded a mention in despatches.

Mayne's name was recommended to Captain David Stirling by his friend Lt. Eoin McGonigal, a fellow officer of No. 11 (Scottish) Commando, and an early volunteer for the Special Air Service (SAS) – then known simply as the Parachute Unit.

Mayne took part in the most successful SAS raid of the Desert war when on the night of 26 July 1942 with eighteen armed Jeeps, he along with Stirling raided the Sidi Haneish Airfield. They avoided detection, destroyed up to 40 German aircraft and escaped with the loss of only three Jeeps and two men killed. The regular Army wanted to disband the SAS but the success helped keep the critics at bay.

During the course of the Second World War he became one of the British Army's most highly decorated soldiers and, by destroying 47 aircraft in a single action, he may well have destroyed more German aircraft than the RAF's highest scoring ace. He was controversially denied a Victoria Cross.

After a period with the British Antarctic Survey in the Falkland Islands, cut short by a crippling back complaint that had begun during his army days, Mayne returned to Newtownards to work first as a solicitor and then as Secretary to the Law Society of Northern Ireland. He suffered severe back pain which prevented him from even watching rugby as a spectator. He rarely talked about his wartime service.

On the night of Tuesday 13 December 1955, after attending a regular meeting of the Friendship Lodge, Mayne continued drinking with a masonic friend in the nearby town of Bangor, before making his way home in the early hours.

Sadly at about 4am he was found dead in his Riley roadster in Mill Street, Newtownards, having reportedly collided with a farmer’s vehicle.

Lambeg Drum

Few other instruments can match the Lambeg drum for size and sheer volume. This impressive percussion instrument is unique to the Province of Ulster, and is not made anywhere else. It is in fact the largest double sided rope tension drum in the world, a is thought to be the loudest folk instrument on the planet!

The Lambeg drum is perhaps most usually associated with the Orange tradition, where it is often used to accompany marchers on parade. However drumming matches and competitions are held independently by drumming clubs the length and breadth of the Province.

The true origin of the Lambeg drum remains unknown, as there is very little historal evidence documenting this peculiar percussion instrument. However, the mystique surrounding its invention and creation has given rise to many different stories and folklore, which have become as much a part of the Lambeg drumming tradition as the music itself.

There are several different therories surrounding the origins of the Lambeg drum. One such theory that explains the title “Lambeg” suggests that the drum was first built in theillage of Lambeg, near Lisburn.

Another popular theory is that the drums were first beaten with canes at a meeting in Lambeg in the 1870s. Lambeg drums are traditionally beaten with curved Mallacca or Bamboo canesas opposed to ball-headed sticks.

Some argue that the drum was first introduced by continental Williamite soldiers in the summer of 1690 and that the drum was played by these troops whilst camped at Lambeg en route from Carrickfergus to the Battle of the Boyne.

Another prominent story in Lambeg folklore connected to the Battle of the Boyne explains the unique rythms that are traditionally played on the drum. Legend has it that King William’s drummerboy had fallen asleep after eating a supper consisting of bread.

An opportunistic Wren flew down and began to peck at the crumbs lying on the drum head. This noise caused the boy to wake from his sleep just in time to discover that the camp was under attack. He was then able to raise the alarm in time to prevent defeat.

Whatever the origins of the Lambeg drum there are only a few very dedicated and skilled craftsmen who now make these magnificent drums.

Lt Col Sir William James Allen KBE DSO

Lt Col Sir William James Allen KBE DSO

Sir William Allen was a politician, soldier and businessman from Northern Ireland.

The son of Joseph and Catherine Allen, Allen was educated at Lurgan College. His father Joseph was co-founder in 1868 of Johnston, Allen & Co. linen manufacturers. After his father died in 1890, Allen inherited the partnership. This lasted until 1905, when it was dissolved (the factory retained the name Johnston Allen) as Allen left to set up his own linen business, the Windsor factory.

He served as Sovereign Grand Master of the Royal Black Institution (RBI) in recognition for his efforts towards the purchase of Brownlow House which became the world headquarters for the institution. An illuminated address was presented to him by his District Lodge which still hangs in the dining room of Brownlow House beside his portrait, painted by Frank McKelvey. Allen, together with Hugh Hayes, John Mehaffey, George Lunn Junior and James Malcolm Junior, were named as its first trustees.

The House was a venue for the signing of the Ulster Covenant, a cause Allen promoted vigorously, against what he viewed as the imposition by the British Government of the Third Home Rule Bill. Brownlow House also subsequently became his military HQ from 14 November 1914 onwards, where Allen helped raise and organise the basic training of the 16th (Pioneer) Battalion Royal Irish Rifles. He later served as its commanding officer. He arrived with them at Boulogne in Northern France from their training camp in Seaford, East Sussex on 1 October 1915.

He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order in 1918 and mentioned in despatches four times. He was also appointed chevalier of the Legion of Honour.

From 1913 to 1914 Allen was a key supporter of Lord Edward Carson of Duncairn and Sir James Craig in their campaign against the third Home Rule Bill. He was also elected Deputy Grand Master of the Orange Order and also held the post of Honorary Secretary of the Ulster Unionist Council from 1907 on.

He was elected to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom at a by-election in 1917, as an Irish Unionist Party Member of Parliament (MP) for North Armagh, and retained his seat at the 1918 general election. The constituency was abolished for the 1922 general election, when he was re-elected as a member of the new Ulster Unionist Party for the new Armagh constituency. On 22 June 1921, he was one of several officers invested as Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) to mark the visit of King George V and Queen Mary of Teck to officially open the new Parliament of Northern Ireland.

Allen was twice married, first in 1892 to Maria (eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs John Ross). They had a son and daughter. Maria died in 1937 and in 1938 he was remarried, to Lillah Irene, daughter of the late R.H. Forsythe. Allen died in 1947, two weeks after being knocked down by a motor van while alighting from a tram on the Lisburn Road, Belfast, on 5 December. He was 81 and the second oldest MP in the House of Commons. Allen was buried in Lurgan and was survived by his second wife Lillah Irene, Lady Allen.

Dunloy Accordion Band.

Dunloy Accordion Band.

The band was formed in 1956 and is based in the small village of Dunloy, 6 miles south of Ballymoney. Dunloy accordion band are one of the hardest working bands in Ulster today, performing in concerts and parades around the country throughout the year. From its foundation in 1956 when its members were from Dunloy and the surrounding areas, the band now enjoys a healthy membership drawn from all six counties of Northern Ireland.

The past 60 years have seen many difficulties overcome and many changes take place both within the band and the village of Dunloy. The band has consistently maintained the core values of it's ethos with pride and passion and is determined that these values continue over the years ahead.

The highlights for the band over recent years have seen them playing in the Belfast and Glasgow Tattoos, the London Lord Mayors Parade and plans are in motion to travel to the Somme this year. The band also appears regularly on television & local radio programmes.

The highlight in the band's calendar is when Dunloy hosts their annual parade in Ballymoney on the last Saturday in July. The parade is one of the largest in Ulster with a wide range of bands.

A warm welcome awaits everyone who travels to Ballymoney for this event.

William Frederick

McFadzean VC

William McFadzean VC

William Frederick "Billy" McFadzean VC (9 October 1895 – 1 July 1916) was a British recipient of the Victoria Cross (VC), the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. He was posthumously awarded the VC for his actions on the opening day of the Battle of the Somme.

William Frederick McFadzean was born in Lurgan in County Armagh, Ireland on 9 October 1895. His parents, William McFadzean and his wife Anne née Pedlow, were from Belfast and lived in the suburb of Cregagh. Known as "Billy", he was educated at Mountpottinger National School and then the Trade Preparatory School of the Municipal Technical Institute.

A keen sportsman and standing 6 feet 0 inches (1.83 metres) tall, McFadzean played rugby for Collegians RFC. After completing his schooling, McFadzean worked for a manufacturer of linen. He was also interested in the military, and was a member of the East Belfast Regiment of the Ulster Volunteers and the Young Citizens Volunteers.

Shortly after the outbreak of the First World War, members of the Ulster division were urged to join the British Army to form an infantry division. McFadzean enlisted in the 14th Battalion of The Royal Irish Rifles as a private. The regiment was to form part of the 36th (Ulster) Division. After completing training, firstly at Finner Camp in Ireland and then Seaforth in England, McFadzean and his regiment embarked for the Western Front in October 1915.

The 36th Division was stationed near Thiepval Wood from March 1916 and would be involved in the upcoming Battle of the Somme, for which it was tasked with advancing to Grandcourt. In the early hours of 1 July 1916, McFadzean's battalion was assembled in Thiepval Wood in preparation for the advance. While an artillery barrage on the opposing German trenches was in progress, he was one of the bombardiers priming supplies of hand grenades. In handling a box of grenades, the box fell into a crowded trench and two of the grenades' safety pins were dislodged. McFadzean threw himself on top of them before they exploded, killing him but injuring only one other. For his action, he was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross (VC). The VC, instituted in 1856, was the highest award for valour that could be bestowed on a soldier of the British Empire.

The citation, published in the London Gazette read:

No. 14/18278 Pte. William Frederick McFadzean, late R. Ir. Rif. For most conspicuous bravery. While in a concentration trench and opening a box of bombs for distribution prior to an attack, the box slipped down into the trench, which was crowded with men, and two of the safety pins fell out. Private McFadzean, instantly realising the danger to his comrades, with heroic courage threw himself on the top of the Bombs. The bombs exploded blowing him to pieces, but only one other man was injured. He well knew his danger, being himself a bomber, but without a moment's hesitation he gave his life for his comrades.

— London Gazette, 8 September 1916

Letters of condolences were written to McFadzean's father by the commander of the Ulster Volunteers, Lieutenant Colonel Spencer Chichester, and Colonel F. O. Bowen, the commander of 14th Battalion. King George V also wrote to the family and provided train tickets to travel to the VC investiture at Buckingham Palace. McFadzean was buried in Thiepval Wood; his grave was later lost.

He is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial and a bronze bust now stands in the town of his birth.

Pride of Ballinran

Pride of Ballinran

Flute Band

The Pride of Ballinran are a marching flute band from the small townland of Ballinran, around 2 miles outside Kilkeel on the foot of the Mourne Mountains.

Classed as a melody flute band, as well as playing straight melody on Bb flutes, they also add parts and a Eb piccolo to achieve a more musical sound. They play an extremely varied programme of music including military marches, jigs, classical pieces, movie themes and traditional orange tunes.

The band regularly takes part in competition parades throughout Northern Ireland as well as the traditional 'Loyal Order' parades such as the 'Battle of the Boyne' commemorations on the 12th July. They also travel to Glasgow for the annual 'Orange Walk' on the 1st Saturday in July.

The band take part in various concerts and outdoor/indoor competitions on an annual basis. They have also appeared at various tattoo's, across the United Kingdom, including Belfast, Glasgow and Liverpool.

The membership of the band is made up from around the general Mourne area of Kilkeel, Annalong and the surrounding countryside, although they do have members living in Newcastle, Rathfriland, Dromore, Hillsborough and Ballynahinch.

Currently they have over 50 members compromising of the young and not so young.

Sarah Graham

Sarah Graham

Champion Highland Dancer

Sarah Graham is from Lurgan, Country Armagh. She was educated at Lurgan Junior High School, Lurgan College and graduated this year from the University of Ulster.

Sarah started to learn highland dance at 8 and started to compete at 9, she has been dancing for 14 years. She has competed in many competitions across Northern Ireland, ROI, Scotland and England. Sarah would normally compete in Scotland a lot throughout the year as well as many championships.

Highland dance is a style of competitive dancing developed in the Scottish Highlands in the 19th and 20th centuries, in the context of competitions at public events such as the Highland games. Highland dancing is often performed with the accompaniment of Highland bagpipe music, and dancers wear specialised shoes called ghillies. It is now seen at nearly every modern-day Highland games event. The first competition in Northern Ireland took place in Belfast in 1998. Mostly boys use to dance but it is now mostly girls that dance.

Highland dancing is a competitive and technical dance form requiring technique, stamina, and strength, and is recognised as a sport by the Sport Council of Scotland.

In Highland dancing, the dancers dance on the balls of the feet. Highland dancing is a form of solo step dancing, from which it evolved, but while some forms of step dancing are purely percussive in nature, Highland dancing involves not only a combination of steps but also some integral upper body, arm, and hand movements.

Each dance resembles something in history, for example the Sword Dance was danced before a battle with clansmen, if the men touched the Swords with their feet, it was resembled as bad luck and they would lose the battle.

Sarah’s major achievements are winning the Ulster Championships 3 times. 2014- Youngest Adult Ulster Champion, 2018 and 2019- Adult Ulster Champion (unfortunately there was none this year due to Covid-19). Competed in the World Highland Dancing Championships at Dunoon, Scotland. Placed in the top 6 line up in the Central Scotland Championships in Glasgow this year in February 2020. Also placed in the top 6 line up in the BATD Premiership in Scotland in 2017. Winning various competitions, winning trophies and medals across the UK.

Other achievements include dancing in many Tattoos including Belfast, Londonderry and Liverpool. Dancing for royalty, including Her Majesty the Queen and Princess Anne. Dancing for the arrival of the Olympic Torch in Northern Ireland in 2012 in Portrush and Newry.

She has performed alongside acts such as Twist and Pulse, and Stacey Solomon. Danced at the Red Hot Chilli Pipers show in Bangor, pre-performance, Houses of Parliament in London, Culture Night in Belfast, Europa Hotel in Belfast for six weeks in a show called the Belfast City of Rhythms, many shows for Burn’s Night and St Patricks day including in the Ulster Hall in Belfast, Belfast Mela and Red Sails Festival and performed at many historic landmarks and locations such as Titanic in Belfast, Brownlow House, Dunluce Castle.

Sarah is a qualified UKA Highland Dance Teacher and teaches Highland Dancing as well as still competing. She opened her own highland dance school called Sarah Graham School of Highland Dance, which she started roughly 3 and a half years ago. She teaches twice a week in Lurgan and Lisburn. She has trained her dancers up to compete in competitions and they have also won a lot of medals and trophies. Her dancers performed in many shows including the unveiling and dedication of the William McFadzean VC Memorial statue in Lurgan.

Sarah plans to go to Canada next year and compete in the Open Canadian Championships.

Hamilton Flute Band

The Hamilton Flute Band is one of the oldest bands in Northern Ireland. They formed in 1856 in the Waterside area of Londonderry. When first formed the band was known as ‘The Primrose Flute’ but this later changed to ‘Queen Victoria Flute Band’. In 1865 the name was finally changed to Hamilton Flute Band, in honour of the late Duke of Abercorn, Lord Claud John Hamilton.

The Hamilton Flute Band maintains a strong musical tradition within the city as a successful marching, contesting and concert band. They are referred to as a ‘part flute’ band because, there are eight different pitches of flute played within their musical arrangements and an array of percussion instruments. The band take part in on street parades when invited and available. In 2019 they have participated in various events organised by the Orange Order, Moville St. Patricks Day committee, Apprentice Boys of Derry, Boys Brigade, Girl Guides and the Royal British Legion. The parade in Moville on St Patricks Day was part of a Londonderry Bands Forum/ Irish Department of Foreign Affairs cross-border initiative for developing community relations. As part of this project they are working on an archiving initiative with ITMA in Dublin to preserve marching band music and arrangements. They compete in the Championship section of the North of Ireland Bands Association, Flute Bands Association and Scottish Flute Bands Association contests, which are held in Northern Ireland and Scotland and also regularly take part in concerts throughout the city supporting other bands, charities and churches. The Hamilton Flute Band have always been a very family orientated band and currently has members from eight families amongst its ranks alongside other individual players.

World War 1

The Hamilton Flute Band is proud of its links with the history of World War 1. When war was declared in 1914 every eligible member the Hamilton Flute Band joined up. They became the nucleus of the regimental band of the 10th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. The members trained and one of their first deployments was at “The Somme” in 1916. The bands original bass drum, dating from 1856, was used on the battlefields as a communion table. This drum is now ‘laid up’ in St Columb’s Cathedral, Londonderry, having been retired in the 1970’s.

The band organise an annual remembrance parade on 1st July to commemorate those band members and all the other people from the city and surrounding areas who made the ultimate sacrifice during the Battle of the Somme.

In 1996 the band travelled to The Somme, during this visit which marked the 80th anniversary of the battle, a communion service was held using the original bass drum. To mark the 100th anniversary the band commissioned a piece of music to commemorate the sacrifice of the members who had joined up and marched to war. Mel Orriss composed the piece which was entitled ‘1.7.16’ with themes depicting the “Trenches and Going over the Top” the premier performance was played by the band at a special drum head service held in St Columb’s Cathedral.

Lord Mayor’s Show, London

The Hamilton Flute Band have had the honour of being invited on two occasions to attend the Lord Mayor’s Show in London, 1993 and again in 2002. On the first visit the BBC produced a 40 min documentary following the band in the lead up to and during the parade.

Walled City Tattoo

The Hamilton Flute Band have twice taken part in the Walled City Tattoo, Londonderry. The first time in 2014, saw the band take to the Parade Ground in Ebrington Square for four nights alongside Britannia Brass Band. In 2018, the band took part once more, this time in the Millennium Forum, where they showed their precise marching skills on the stage.

Síamsa Sráide Street Festival

2019 will see the Hamilton Flute Band return to the Síamsa Sráide Street Festival in Swinford Co. Mayo. The band first appeared at the festival in 1995 and they received a great reception and enjoyed a weekend of music and friendship. They are delighted to be returning in this the 35th year of the festival to perform a concert and take part in the parade.

Robert Quigg VC

Robert Quigg VC


Robert Quigg VC was a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. The award was made for his actions during the Battle of the Somme in the First World War.

Robert Quigg was born on 28 February 1885 in Ardihannon, near Bushmills in County Antrim, one of six children of Robert Quigg and his wife Matilda née Blue. His father worked as a boatman and tour guide at the nearby Giant's Causeway. Educated at the Giant's Causeway National School, Quigg worked on the Macnaghten estate at Dunderave. He was a member of the Ulster Volunteer Force and commanded the Bushmills Volunteers in 1913.

Shortly after the outbreak of the First World War, members of the Ulster Volunteer Force were urged to join the British Army to form an infantry division. Quigg enlisted in the Royal Irish Rifles (Mid-Antrim Volunteers) and was posted to its 12th Battalion as a private. His platoon officer was Sir Edward Harry Macnaghten, of the Macnaghten estate. The regiment was to form part of the 36th (Ulster) Division, which departed for the Western Front in October 1915.

The 36th Division was stationed near Thiepval Wood from March 1916 and would be involved in the upcoming Battle of the Somme, for which it was tasked with advancing to Grandcourt. On 1 July, the opening day of the Battle of the Somme, Quigg's unit, starting from the village of Hamel, located on the north bank of the River Ancre, advanced through towards the German lines. As it did so, the Irish soldiers encountered severe machine-gun and shell fire from the Germans. Quigg's platoon had to retreat on three occasions, beaten back by German fire. The final assault in the evening of 1 July left numerous soldiers of the 12th Battalion dead or wounded in "no man's land". When he became aware the next morning that Macnaughten, his platoon commander, was missing, Quigg volunteered to go out and to try to locate him. He made seven trips into "no man's land", bringing back wounded soldiers each time. However, he was unable to locate Macnaghten, whose body was never recovered. Macnaghten is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

For his actions, Quigg was recommended for the Victoria Cross (VC). The VC, instituted in 1856, was the highest award for valour that could be bestowed on a soldier of the British Empire. The citation, published in the London Gazette read:

No. 12/18645 Pte. Robert Quigg, R. Ir. Rif. For most conspicuous bravery. He advanced to the assault with his platoon three times. Early next morning, hearing a rumour that his platoon officer was lying out wounded, he went out seven times to look for him under heavy shell and machine gun fire, each time bringing back a wounded man. The last man he dragged in on a waterproof sheet from within a few yards of the enemy's wire. He was seven hours engaged in this most gallant work, and finally was so exhausted that he had to give it up.

— London Gazette, 8 September 1916

Quigg was presented with his VC by King George V at York Cottage, in Sandringham. When he returned to Bushmills after the VC investiture, there was a large turn out to welcome him home. Lady Macnaghten presented Quigg with a gold watch in recognition of his bravery in attempting to find and rescue her son. Quigg, who was also awarded the Russian Medal of the Order of St. George (Fourth Class), returned to active duty and went on to serve in Mesopotamia and Egypt, ending the war as a sergeant.

He remained in the British Army after the war but as a result of injuries from a bad fall from a window in a soldier's home in Belfast, retired from the army in 1926. He was then employed as a civilian at the Royal Ulster Rifles Depot in Armagh before, in 1934, starting work as a tour guide on the Giant's Causeway. In 1953, he met the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth II when she visited Ulster. He died on 14 May 1955 in Ballycastle. A lifelong member of the Church of Ireland, he was buried in Billy Parish Churchyard, with full military honours. He never married and was survived by his five siblings.

Black Skull Corps Of Fife & Drums

Black Skull Corps Of Fife & Drums


They may not be from Northern Ireland but when we speak about heritage and culture, and marching bands, it would be amiss of us if we didn’t not include Black Skull from Glasgow.

In 1980, Andy MacAdam and Tam Mackie resigned from the Bridgeton No Surrender FB. Andy had ideas about the future of flute bands and he wanted to put those ideas into action. Thus began the journey as word spread around the local housing estate of Darnley, on the south side of Glasgow, that a new flute band was being formed. This sparked interest from the local working class youths of the area who didn't have much to do in those days, and some instruments were purchased in order to get started. With little or no musical experience, it was a bit of a struggle at first, but once they got the hang of it they were off and running with a few selections of basic tunes to get started. This whetted their appetite, and it wasn't long before they were really getting into the swing of things and the first uniform consisting of black jerseys, black trousers and white shirts were handed out. Funds were raised to allow the band to push on from that basic set-up and the black jerseys were replaced with light blue jerseys with a dickie-bow for the shirt. Our first engagement out with Scotland was in Belfast in July 1981 as we accompanied a private lodge from Sandy Row to Edenderry. This gave everyone a huge lift, and the practice and the fund-raising went into overdrive to acquire better uniforms and instruments.

Another uniform (Blue shirts, trousers and Balmoral hats) was purchased, but our goal was to have a full dress uniform consisting of matching jacket and trousers along with a white shirt and various other items to give it the finished look. A lot of hard work was put into this idea, and it finally came to fruition in 1983 when we were fully kitted out, and a brand new set of eight side drums and a bass drum were also purchased. This was a boom time for bands, as they all set themselves the task of replacing their old uniforms (mostly either jerseys or shirts) for brand new suits, thus raising the bar in the Scottish band scene, and credit has to be given to every one of those bands who strived to better themselves in those days, as it took a lot of hard work to put it all together.

During the course of the 80's, we entered into a contract with Cowcaddens Orange and Purple District (based in Possilpark) to lead their District at various Orange parades, a contract that lasted up until 1989. We also had the pleasure of accompanying a private lodge in Ballymacarrett District No:6 (East Belfast) from 1982 until 1987 where we forged some great friendships with members of Ballymacarrett Defenders FB and then Sharpshooters FB, friendships which still remain to this day. 1988 and 89 would see us travel to County Down to accompany LOL 1758 from Millisle for the Twelfth, but circumstances out with their control, as well as ours, we may add, brought an unexpected end to this association. We had already taken part in numerous band parades and competitions in Scotland from around 1984, but 1988 would see us travel to Ballymena to attend the Pride of the Maine band parade, and we would continue to attend parades such as this, as well as Armagh True Blues, Ballymacarrett Defenders and Dunamoney FB (Magherafelt) until around 2004. These parades were a great incentive for the band and we got a lot of enjoyment and some success during those times. The 80's saw us change uniforms on 7 different occasions as we attempted to evolve in dress, decorum and musical ability. There were some great laughs during those days with the various characters that were in the band, but there was also the hair raising moment in Belfast when our coach driver took a wrong turn and took us through a republican area. Needless to say, anyone who was suffering from constipation was quickly cured.

Whilst the 80's were a great time for the bands in Scotland, the 90's wouldn't be so productive as the rave scene (which appeared at the end of the 80's) caught the imagination of the young kids. This type of event and also, unfortunately, the drugs that went with it were a far bigger attraction than flutes and drums, and it was harder to encourage people to join the ranks. This didn't deter us though, and we purchased a new black uniform in 1990 which included the decision to move away from the traditional balmoral hat and opt for a military style peak cap. Some members had their doubts about this transition, but when it was all put together, it looked a lot better than how it sounded when the idea was first brought to the table.

The 90's would see a new chapter being opened in the bands' journey as we forged links with both Carntall Mossley LOL 134 as well as with the General Committee of the Apprentice Boys of Derry. We have had the pleasure of accompanying the lads from Mossley on the annual 12th of July parade in the County of Antrim since 1991, whilst in the same year, we were honoured to be the first Scottish band to lead the parade in the Maiden City, and it was to be continued right up until 2016. We have been fortunate enough to make a great number of friends through both of these organisations. This also lead to us joining up with the excellent William King Memorial FB (Londonderry) at the end of that parade, to form a massed band which paraded from the Memorial Hall back into the Fountain Estate, where they have their origins. It is bonds such as this which will never be broken; such is the camaraderie that exists between both bands.

Not wishing to rest on our laurels, we continued to practice hard, and we made the decision in 1994 to obtain our own hall which would allow us more freedom and flexibility to do our own thing. Various locations were looked at before we finally settled on where we are currently situated. This place has been at the heart of everything that we do, and gives us all a chance to relax and have a chat with friends and family.

With the military style of dress now being the way forward for us, we decided to change uniforms once again, and this time we would replicate the uniform of the Scots Guards. The usual fund raising tools were put in place and the uniform was acquired. The band was compact, and the membership didn't really increase all that greatly during the 90's, but we managed to keep going through difficult times due to the harmony that existed between the members. As with the 80's, we had another scare in the 90's when we were dropped off in the middle of Newry (not known for being a throbbing epicentre of Loyalism) as we waited to marshal up for a parade. Cars would drive up and slow down right in front of us and then drive away. To be honest, the occupants of those vehicles didn't look as if they knew any verses of The Sash or Derry's Walls. Another laxative-free moment for all concerned.

The Noughties was quite a good decade for the band. For some reason, membership picked up, and some new faces would join the ranks, some of whom were very talented individuals, and this enhanced the playing side of the band. To freshen things up a little bit, we changed from the Scots Guards Corps of Drums uniform to the United States Marine Corps uniform, and 2006 would see us go into overdrive on the practice front as we rehearsed for concerts in both Glasgow and Lisburn. Both of these events went as well as we could have expected, and a great deal of enjoyment was gained after all the hard work that was put in to put it all together. This was also the year when we were invited to lead the Royal British Legion Remembrance parade in the Ayrshire town of Kilwinning, an honour which we are still undertaking.

We reverted back to the Scots Guards uniform, and July 2008 was the busiest that we have ever been during The Twelfth celebrations, as we headed to Kilkeel in County Down to attend the 11th night parade which was held by The Schomberg Society. This gave us an opportunity to form a massed band with our good friends in the Pride of Ballinran FB. The following day would see us accompany LOL 134 at the Twelfth parade in Ballyclare, and on Sunday 13th July, we headed to the Boyne Heritage Centre in County Meath in the Republic of Ireland for a tour, before we sat down on the Banks of the Boyne and played a concert style set for those who were in the vicinity. As far as we are aware, we were the first and only Scottish band to have the honour of doing this.

The Blacks parade (Royal 13th) in Scarva the day after that, brought an end to an exhausting but extremely enjoyable time for the band members and their guests.

We visited London in 2012 to attend a huge Orange Order parade, and this was one of the best trips that we have ever been on. It was absolutely first class from start to finish. The route that the parade took was excellent, and although it was quite a windy day, it didn't take away any enjoyment of parading the streets of the capital city of the UK.

In 2016, we were approached by the organisers of the Belfast Tattoo, to see if we would be interested in being part of a proposed event called the Glasgow Tattoo which would be held in the SSE Hydro in Glasgow in January 2017. After discussion, and accepting the invitation, it was full steam ahead as we attempted to put together a short set which we felt would do justice to the event on the night. We asked some long-term friends of the band if they would be interested in being a part of this, and they duly accepted our invitation. The guys in question, Thomas Gray, Tommy Laing, James Russell, Stephen Ramsay, Davie Johnston and Ian Russell were either past or present members of various bands and they are to be given great credit for their application and commitment into what we were trying to achieve for that event, which took place over three nights and was watched by over 12,000 people.

The Glasgow Tattoo was the last high profile project that we have undertaken, and today's way of life, of trying to juggle work and family commitments, has hampered all of the Loyalist marching bands, as we have found ourselves having to dilute our annual list of engagements in order to enable us to function as best as we possibly can.

Over the last forty years, many individuals have came and went in our ranks, but each and everyone of them has contributed to both the enjoyment and success that we have managed to achieve on this journey, and we wish them all the very best for the remainder of their time on this Earth. Unfortunately, some of those were unlucky to have their lives cut short and are sadly on the list of Absent Friends.

We remember...

Davie Kay

Chris Stewart

Colin Stewart

John Peacock

James Cameron

Graham Burgess

Jim Rooney (Honorary Member)

Ricky Dorward (Honorary Member)

Tommy Rodgers (Honorary Member)

A 40th anniversary dinner dance in a top Glasgow hotel was due to take place this year. But this, along with other plans for various events to celebrate our 40th anniversary have been wiped out by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, this pales into insignificance as people lose their lives on a worldwide scale. Pandemics don't last forever, and things will change in hopefully the not too distant future.

We would like to thank everyone for their support over the last forty years, and we hope that we have been able to provide you with some enjoyment during that time. Our special thanks go to our respective partners who have to endure what we do on a weekly basis, if it wasn't for them, some of us may well have fell by the wayside many years ago. They truly are a special breed.

Andy MacAdam is to be commended for his perseverance in trying to make his vision into a reality of what he wanted a flute band to be like, as it hasn't been all plain sailing over the years. He says that we have been a pain in the posterior at times, but that feeling is mutual, although deep down he loves us, but he just won't admit it.

Thank you all, once again. Stay safe out there.

Belfast Cenotaph

Belfast Cenotaph

The Belfast Cenotaph is a war memorial in Belfast, in Donegall Square West, to the west of Belfast City Hall. Like the City Hall, it was designed by Sir Alfred Brumwell Thomas. The cenotaph was unveiled in 1929. It became a Grade A listed building in 1984.

The memorial includes a central Portland stone monument about 30 feet (9.1 m), with bronze brackets on either side supporting flagpoles. The top of the monument has carved laurel wreaths, symbolising victory and honour.

It bears several inscriptions: on the north side:


The monument stands on three steps. To the south is an arc of paired Corinthian columns forming a 25 feet (7.6 m) high colonnade. To the north is a sunken garden of remembrance, which since 2011 has been the location for an annual Field of Remembrance. The paving of the garden was renewed in 1993.

The memorial was completed in 1927 and officially unveiled by Viscount Allenby on 11th November 1929. In addition to the usual Remembrance Sunday services, there are also annual ceremonies to remember the first day of the Battle of the Somme on 1st July.

Nearby are memorials the service of Irish regiments in the Boer War and the Korean War memorial, and to US forces who arrived in Northern Ireland in 1942.


Lisburn Young Defenders Flute Band

Lisburn Young Defenders Flute Band has been around for half of the N.I. Centenary years and is now one of the most recognised Bands on parade, with an instantly recognisable Drum Major. The early Blood and Thunder years of the 70s saw the Band engage mostly in weekly Band parades throughout Northern Ireland and began developing relationships with local Loyal orders. As uniforms progressed so did the musical ability of the Band as they moved towards a Melody Flute style, embracing Piccolo, 2nd Flute, 3rd Flute and eventually F Flute along with a varied range of percussion. And in turn this opened many more doors for the Band and allowed opportunities to perform at indoor concerts and events. Back to Back Irish Championship wins in 2000 and 2001, and a follow up in 2003, at the iconic Ulster Hall were a massive highlight and recognition of the high standard being set by the Young Defenders. Yet the Band still maintained their road presence and continued to regularly visit the West Scotland Orange Walk as well as accompanying local Orange, Black and Apprentice Boys, as well as supporting other local Bands at their weekly Band parades.

And the popularity of the Band continues to rise with indoor appearances at Charity events, Lodge fundraisers, ,Church socials, Band nights and Park Concerts as well as appearing again ‘on the big stage’ at the Ulster Hall for the Festival of Marching Bands, and the SSE Arena for the Belfast Tattoo. And strong Scottish links are maintained as the Band has regularly visited Glasgow, and Blackridge, in recent years as well as accompanying the County Grand Officers of Central Scotland when leading the 2019 Orange Walk. The Band also joins those who served by parading with Lisburn Branch Royal British Legion at the annual Remembrance Day event.

The current membership of around 30 is mainly drawn from the greater Lisburn area and includes a number of Female members, as well as a number of members who have given over 30 years service. Although the 50th anniversary plans were disrupted in 2020, the Band is actively re-planning for 2021 and looks forward to enjoying the N.I.Centenary celebrations. The Band has an active facebook page, Lisburn Young Defenders Flute Band, and any enquiries about membership or invitations for engagements, or events, can be messaged to it.

James Craig, 1st Viscount Craigavon

Sir James Craig, 1st Viscount Craigavon PC PC (NI) DL


James Craig was a prominent unionist politician, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party and the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland. He was created a baronet in 1918 and raised to the Peerage in 1927.

Craig was born at Sydenham, Belfast, the son of James Craig, a wealthy whiskey distiller who had entered the firm of Dunville & Co as a clerk: by age 40 he was a millionaire and a partner in the firm. James Craig Snr. owned a large house called Craigavon, overlooking Belfast Lough. His mother, Eleanor Gilmore Browne, was the daughter of Robert Browne, a prosperous man who owned property in Belfast and a farm outside Lisburn. Craig was the seventh child and sixth son in the family; there were eight sons and one daughter in all.

He was educated at Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh, Scotland; his father had taken a conscious decision not to send his sons to any of the more fashionable public schools. After school he began work as a stockbroker, eventually opening his own firm in Belfast.

Craig enlisted in the 3rd (Militia) battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles on 17 January 1900 to serve in the Second Boer War. He was seconded to the Imperial Yeomanry, a cavalry force created for service during the war, as a lieutenant in the 13th battalion on 24 February 1900, and left Liverpool for South Africa on the SS Cymric in March 1900.[4] After arrival he was soon sent to the front, and was taken prisoner in May 1900, but released by the Boers because of a perforated eardrum. On his recovery he became deputy assistant director of the Imperial Military Railways, showing the qualities of organisation that were to mark his involvement in both British and Ulster politics. In June 1901 he was sent home suffering from dysentery, and by the time he was fit for service again the war was over. He was promoted to captain in the 3rd Royal Irish Rifles on 20 September 1902, while still seconded to South Africa.

Military life suited him well, but he became impatient with what he saw as the lack of professionalism and efficiency in the British Army.

On his return to Ireland, having received a £100,000 legacy from his father's will, he turned to politics, serving as Member of the British Parliament for East Down from 1906 to 1918. From 1918 to 1921 he represented Mid Down, and served in the British government as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Pensions (1919–20) and Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty (1920–21).

Craig rallied Ulster loyalist opposition to Irish Home Rule in Ulster before the First World War, organising the Ulster Volunteers (UVF) and buying arms from Imperial Germany. The UVF became the nucleus of the 36th (Ulster) Division during the First World War. He succeeded Edward Carson as leader of the Ulster Unionist Party in February 1921.

In the 1921 Northern Ireland general election, the first ever, he was elected to the newly created Northern Ireland House of Commons as one of the members for County Down.

On 7 June 1921, Craig was appointed the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. The House of Commons of Northern Ireland assembled for the first time later that day. A dedicated member of the Orange Order and staunchly Protestant, he famously stated, in April 1934, in response to George Leeke's question regarding Craig's Protestant Parliament:

The hon. Member must remember that in the South they boasted of a Catholic State. They still boast of Southern Ireland being a Catholic State. All I boast of is that we are a Protestant Parliament and a Protestant State. It would be rather interesting for historians of the future to compare a Catholic State launched in the South with a Protestant State launched in the North and to see which gets on the better and prospers the more. It is most interesting for me at the moment to watch how they are progressing. I am doing my best always to top the bill and to be ahead of the South.

This speech is often misquoted, intentionally or otherwise, as: "A Protestant Parliament for a Protestant People", and conflated with an incident which occurred respective to the naming of the New City of Craigavon. Knockmena (a corruption of the townland name, Knockmenagh) was the preferred name nationalists hoped would be used, and which might have attracted broad acceptance on both sides. On 6 July 1965, it was announced that the new city would be named Craigavon after Craig. A noted nationalist, Joseph Connellan, interrupted the announcement with the comment, "A Protestant city for a Protestant people".

Later that year, speaking in the House of Commons at Stormont on 21 November 1934 in response to an accusation that all government appointments in Northern Ireland were carried out on a religious basis, he replied: "... it is undoubtedly our duty and our privilege, and always will be, to see that those appointed by us possess the most unimpeachable loyalty to the King and Constitution. That is my whole object in carrying on a Protestant Government for a Protestant people. I repeat it in this House".

He was made a baronet in 1918, and in 1927 was created Viscount Craigavon, of Stormont in the County of Down. He was also the recipient of honorary degrees from The Queen's University of Belfast (1922) and Oxford University (1926).

Craig had made his career in British as well as Northern Irish politics; but his premiership showed little sign of his earlier close acquaintance with the British political world. He became intensely parochial, and suffered from his loss of intimacy with British politicians in 1938, when the British government concluded agreements with Dublin to end the Anglo-Irish economic war between the two countries. He never tried to persuade Westminster to protect Northern Ireland's industries, especially the linen industry, which was central to its economy. He was anxious not to provoke Westminster, given the precarious state of Northern Ireland's position. In April 1939, and again in May 1940 in the Second World War, he called for conscription to be introduced in Northern Ireland (which the British government, fearing a backlash from nationalists, refused). He also called for Churchill to invade Éire, the south of Ireland, using Scottish and Welsh troops in order to seize the valuable ports and install a Governor-General at Dublin.

His wife, Cecil Mary Nowell Dering Tupper (Viscountess Craigavon), whom he married on 22 March 1905 after a very brief courtship, was English, the daughter of Sir Daniel Tupper, assistant comptroller of the Lord Chamberlain's department of the king's household. They had twin sons and a daughter. A president of the Ulster Women's Unionist Council, she was created a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1941.

Craigavon was still prime minister when he died peacefully at his home at Glencraig, County Down at the age of 69. He was buried on the Stormont Estate, and was succeeded as the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland by the Minister of Finance, John Miller Andrews.

Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band

Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band

The Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band is one of the leading pipe bands in the world, and the most influential and successful pipe band from Northern Ireland ever.

Led by Pipe Major Richard Parkes MBE, Pipe Sergeant Alastair Dunn and Drum Sergeant Keith Orr, the band has won every major championship title available, including 12 World Pipe Band Championships, three ‘Grand Slams’, 14 Champions of Champions titles, 25 All Ireland Championships and 67 RSPBA major championship titles.

Based in Lisburn, the band is representative of Northern Ireland with membership spanning all four corners of the country. In recent years, FMM has attracted members from as far afield as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA, Denmark, France, Scotland, England, and of course the north and south of Ireland. The band is exceptionally proud of both its Northern Irish and international status.

The Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band has become one of the most consistent and decorated competitive pipe bands in history. Though its philosophy has been competition based since its inception in 1945, the band also performs at concerts, festivals, radio and television appearances, and civil and social functions.

Proud Military History

Royal Navy

The Royal Naval Reserve’s (RNR) connection to Northern Ireland is a long and distinguished one, dating back to the formation of the Ulster Division of the Royal Volunteer Reserve in Belfast in 1924. Having been based for 85 years on board HMS Caroline, a light cruiser built in 1914, which later saw action at the Battle of Jutland in 1916, the unit moved ashore to its new headquarters in Thiepval Barracks, Lisburn in 2009 and commissioned as HMS Hibernia, a name historically connected with the island of Ireland.

Home to nearly 100 Reservists drawn from across the community, HMS Hibernia is the focus for much of the Royal Navy's regional activity in Northern Ireland. Although many of the Reservists serving on HMS Hibernia come from the Greater Belfast area, some regularly travel from as far afield as Newry, Dungannon and Londonderry.

Despite being one of the smallest RNR units, HMS Hibernia maintains a busy training programme throughout the year for new entry training and is an important administrative centre for the many Reservists who regularly travel to Great Britain for specialist training and exercises. In recent years, many of its maritime reservists have also served abroad on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

HMS Hibernia is located within Thiepval Barracks, Lisburn, approximately 10 miles from Belfast city centre and is easily accessible by road, train and bus networks.

HMS Hibernia continues to provide trained Reserve personnel thereby allowing the Royal Navy to draw on additional manpower as required for exercises and operations. In recent times personnel from HMS Hibernia have contributed to the UK Maritime Component Command Bahrain, the Royal Navy base of operations in the Gulf region, Exercises Helios Encounter in Cyprus and Joint Warrior in Scotland as well as supporting on an individual or small numbers basis to on-going tasks alongside their full time comrades. Alongside its operational and support role and in the field of sports HMS Hibernia has built a strong reputation having won the Royal Navy Reserve 2017 football competition, and finished in a commendable third place in the ‘Dragon’ rowing competition. HMS Hibernia continues to go from strength to strength and retains a well-deserved reputation in representing the Royal Navy in Northern Ireland.

Inch Flute Band

Inch Flute Band

There has been a musical tradition in the Parish of Inch as far back as the late 1800s when the Ballyreanan Lodge No 1591 formed its own band in 1884. As a result of some of their members emigrating to America the lodge ceased to function and their remaining members transferred to either Inch LOL 430 or Bells Hll Inch LOL 32 in 1890 when Ballyreanan`s warrant was cancelled.

We think that the band may have continued to function under one of its neighbouring lodges ie, Inch LOL 430 or Bells Hill LOL 32 and that it was always referred to as the Inch Band.

We have also come across an entry in lodge books in Jan 1884 when the lodge purchased flutes. This was the same year that the local Ballyreanan band was formed so it is possible that the band was made up from members of both lodges.

There is also a report of the Inch Flute Band and the Maxwell Conservative Flute Band parading together in 1902 when a new flag for Bells Hill LOL 32 was unfurled at the Perceval Maxwell Estate in Finnebrogue Estate.

We know that our local lodges Bells Hill LOL 32 AND Ballygawley LOL 1898 both had their own bands in the 1920s and perhaps that`s what prompted the Inch men. So in a lodge meeting on the 1st of Aug 1923 Bro A Moore proposed and Bro W Hughes seconded that LOL 430 form their own band.

This was agreed by the lodge and our current band was born.

A committee was set up to run the band. This consisted of the following Brethren.

Bro. J Killops (Secretary)

Bro. W Casement (Treasurer)

Bro. T Jennings

Bro. W M Hughes

Bro. H E Lennon

Bro A Moore

Bro H Hughes

The committed were elected to run the band but were directly responsible to the Lodge for the band. Money was raised by lifting a collection from Lodge members and by holding a dance.

The band had its first outing in June 1924 when it attended the annual Inch Parish Church picnic and its first 12th parade was later that year in Ballygowan.

In the early years the lodge and band travelled to the Twelfth venues by train from Kings Bridge Halt and walking dues were reduced to a shilling for “collarette” members of the band and non lodge members had their fare paid for.

Although the band was responsible for running itself and for raising its own funds the lodge did help out. The band was paid the princely sum of £1 for its services on the 12th July 1925 in Comber and in 1931 they gave the band the sum of Three Pounds and Five shillings towards the cost of purchasing drums. The band was also given permission to write to local MPs for subscriptions.

There wouldn`t have been as many parades then as there are currently but on the 25th June 1931 the band attended a banner unfurling for Killyleagh LOL 1215 and our own banner unfurling the following year in Crossgar.

The band has always been known as the Inch Flute Band although the original bass drum carries the name Inch Conservative Flute Band and the Royal Coat of Arms.

The band`s uniform was like most others of that period, their best Sunday suit and a cloth cap. In later years the cloth cap was replaced by a “bus mans“cap with a detachable white cover that could be removed and washed.

Most Lodges and bands in rural areas are made up from members of local families and the Inch are no different. Whilst it`s perhaps a little unfair to single anyone out one major family in the area was the Lennon family. Bro Henry Edward Lennon was a member of the Ulster Volunteers and served with the 13th RIR in the First World War. Luckily for us he survived the war, returned to Inch and settled to raise a large family. It was almost compulsory if you were a Lennon to join the band and at one stage there were seventeen members of his extended family in the band. Locals used to call it the Lennon Band.

Jackets and dicky bows were added to the hats to form a first proper uniform in the early seventies. However when the sun came out the jackets were quickly discarded. In 1986 the band changed its colours to maroon and blue when it had a new uniform dedicated on the 6th May in that year. Our latest uniform was dedicated on the 19th June 2008 at a parade at Inch.

By this time weekend band competitions had become a regular thing and the band would travel around the area attending outdoor competitions most weekends during the marching season. In those days there were plenty of local bands in the Lecale area however in recent years a lot of these bands have ceased to function so the band now travels further at the weekends to places like Banbridge and Killkeel and other parts of Co Down. We have also taken pride of place in the Twelfth Demonstration in Renfrew, Scotland in 1990.

In recent years band members have several times had the honour of taking part in the Menin Gate service in Ypres, Belgium, where we paid our respects to the fallen.

As well as attending around thirty marching band competitions annually the band has always led LOL 430 at Orange parades which include our annual Orange service to Inch Parish Church every June. It more recent years we have had the pleasure of also leading Bells Hill LOL 32 at the Twelfth Demonstrations, accompanying Bells Hill Apprentice Boys Club to the annual Relief celebration in Londonderry and Killyleagh RBP 50 and Ballygawley RBP 554 to the annual Co Down Black Demonstration.

We are fast approaching our 100th anniversary which is a milestone that we often though we would never see. In recent years band membership has increased and we are confident we will be around for a few years to come.

When we don our uniforms to go out on parade we don`t go out to win trophies, otherwise we have given up years ago. We go out to carry on a tradition, to celebrate our marching culture and to honour the men of 1923 who started it all.

Proud Military History

British Army

In December 1688, the threat of a Jacobite attack on Enniskillen led to the raising of volunteer defence units, some of which were accepted into the Army in 1689. These included an infantry regiment commanded by Zachariah Tiffin. Tiffin’s Inniskillingers fought throughout the campaign in Ireland and survived the postwar reductions to become a permanent unit.

Over the next century the Inniskillingers saw action across the world. Designated the 27th (Inniskilling) Regiment from 1751, they fought in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars alongside several new Irish regiments, including the 83rd, 86th, 87th and 89th Regiments. At Barrosa in March 1811, the 2nd/87th captured the first Napoleonic Eagle ever taken in battle by a British regiment. Their war cry (Fág an Bealach or Clear the Way!), modified to Faugh A Ballagh, became the 87th’s motto.

At Waterloo on 18 June 1815, the 27th (Inniskilling) Regiment held the centre of the Allied line against Napoleon, prompting a French general to comment that he had never seen such bravery before. Marking their service in the Peninsular War the 87th became a Fusilier regiment in 1827 as the 87th (Royal Irish Fusiliers).

The first Victoria Crosses were earned during the Indian Mutiny in the assault on Jhansi on 3 April 1858, when four members of the 86th (Royal County Down) Regiment were decorated for their valour.

In 1872, regiments were brigaded in pairs and assigned training depots in their recruiting areas in a process that, in 1881, led to the creation of new two-battalion regiments. The 27th (Inniskilling) and 108th (Madras Infantry) Regiment became the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers; the 83rd (County of Dublin) and 86th (Royal County Down) the Royal Irish Rifles and the 87th (The Royal Irish Fusiliers) and 89th (Princess Victoria’s) Regiment the Princess Victoria’s (The Royal Irish Fusiliers).

To mark the gallantry of these and other Irish units in the Boer War, Queen Victoria ordered the creation of the Irish Guards as well as ordering that all Irish regiments should wear shamrock on St Patrick’s Day.

In the First World War many additional battalions were formed and fought in Gallipoli, Salonika and the Middle East as well as on the Western Front. Battalions of Inniskillings, Rifles and Irish Fusiliers served in 10th (Irish), 16th (Irish), 36th (Ulster) and many other divisions. Thirteen Victoria Crosses were earned, including four on one day on 1 July 1916, the opening day of the Battle of the Somme.

Since there were Leinster, Connaught and Munster regiments, the War Office decided that there should also be an Ulster regiment and the Royal Irish Rifles became the Royal Ulster Rifles on 1 January 1921. In 1937, the London Irish Rifles became a Territorial Army battalion of the Rifles, and the only TA battalion of an Irish regiment.

During the Second World War all three regiments served with distinction on many fronts from Europe to the Far East. Battalions from each regiment formed 38 (Irish) Brigade, created after promptings to and by Winston Churchill, which fought in the Tunisian, Sicilian and Italian campaigns with particular distinction at Centuripe in Sicily and the Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy. Both regular battalions of the Royal Ulster Rifles landed in Normandy on 6 June 1944 – D Day – one by air and the other on the beaches; a unique distinction.

With Indian independence and the withdrawal from empire, the Army was reduced considerably after the war with most regiments losing their second battalions. Further reductions brought about the amalgamation of the three regiments on 1 July 1968 to form The Royal Irish Rangers (27th (Inniskilling) 83rd and 87th).

Over the following 24 years the Rangers continued the tradition of service. Both battalions served in Northern Ireland on Operation BANNER where they worked alongside soldiers of The Ulster Defence Regiment which had been formed in 1970 to protect the province from terrorist activity. When the end of the Cold War brought further defence reductions both regiments amalgamated on 1 July 1992 to form The Royal Irish Regiment with the former UDR battalions becoming Home Service battalions.

The unique service and sacrifice of the UDR and Royal Irish (Home Service) was marked by Her Majesty the Queen’s award of the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross to the Royal Irish Regiment on 6th October 2006, prior to the Home Service battalions disbanding in 2007.

With one Regular and one Reserve battalion, each deployable in the light infantry role, the Royal Irish Regiment continues to serve wherever it is needed. In recent years it has served in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan with the same élan as was shown by so many generations of Irish soldiers over more than three centuries. After the Regiment’s 2008 deployment to Afghanistan the courage of soldiers of the Regiment was recognised with the award of three Conspicuous Gallantry Crosses and three Military Crosses. It was acknowledged as one of the most effective units in 16 (Air Assault) Brigade.

During the Regiment's third tour in Afghanistan, the 1 R IRISH Battle Group was engaged in the largest Air Assault operation to have been conducted by the Regiment since its antecedent regiment, The Royal Ulster Rifles, was involved in Operation VARSITY to capture the Rhine Crossings in the Spring of 1945.

1st January 2015 saw the Regiment's 15 year association with 16 (Air Assault) Brigade draw to an end as a result of Army 2020 reorganisations. The Regiment assumed a Light Mechanised role in 160 (Wales) Brigade, having worked through most of 2014 to define this new concept of operating with legacy vehicles from the Afghanistan campaign. Much of the doctrine used in the role was written and tested by the 1st Battalion.

Belfast International Tattoo

The Belfast International Tattoo has its roots firmly based in the history, music and dance traditions of the Ulster Scots people who have spread their wings around the world and have gone on to have such a major influence and direction on those countries and people they have come into contact with around the world.

When we staged our first Belfast Tattoo in 2013 one of our main objectives was to give our local bands and talent a platform to show their ability and talent on the same stage and in the same spotlight as bands and talent we would bring in from around Europe and indeed the world.

We were firm believers that our local bands and talent hit it for six against some of the best bands and talent Europe has to offer and sought to demonstrate this on an international stage.

Ulster has, per head of population, more marching bands than anywhere else in the world. Some of these bands have reputations which extend around the world for their excellence in competition and also produce musicians that have gone on to be world leaders in the chosen field of music.

In the first year of the Belfast International Tattoo, the production focus was on those bands that were at the top of their field, playing the instruments which are central to their tradition as well as highlighting those people who strive to keep the Scottish Highland Dance tradition as part of the culture of the Ulster Scots people.

The Tattoo also reached out to highlight and include the culture and life of those people who have also had an effect on the life and culture of the Ulster Scots people.

It was a happy coincidence that 2013 was the year that the Tourism bodies in Ireland were reaching out around the world to encourage people to return home to their roots to discover what made them the people they have become and the Belfast International Tattoo benefited from this.

By drawing together some of the most dynamic and creative talent from within Ulster, using innovative production, heart stopping sound, imaginative graphics and state of the art lighting, the show captivated a cosmopolitan audience and threw a bright light on the culture of the Ulster Scots using hundreds of pipers, drummers, singers, dancers and showcased a percussion piece specially commissioned for the Tattoo transforming modest ambitions into a global reaching behemoth.

Since those days back in 2013, The Belfast International Tattoo has now firmly established itself as an annual event for Belfast, and each year attracts a considerable number of overseas visitors to the City to attend the shows.

Alongside continuous programme development, the staffing and structure of the Tattoo has also changed and in 2016 it welcomed Brian Wilson MBE, who was appointed Producer for the Belfast International Tattoo. Brian was drum major of the award-winning Belfast show from its inception in 2013, before being appointed assistant producer in 2016. He was also assistant producer of the successful inaugural Liverpool Tattoo, which took place in September 2018.

“Brian brings real zest and vision to the Tattoo” said Tattoo founder Colin Wasson, who stepped down from the role having held it for the previous 5 years. “He is more than ready for this challenge, so I know its leadership is being passed into good, experienced hands.”

The Tattoo has also celebrated some milestone occasions such as Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme in 2016, the same year which saw a recording of the event for subsequent television broadcast on the BBC, securing a prime time Saturday evening slot on BBC2, attracting a viewing audience over 80,000 across the UK and Ireland.

The event has also seen accolades presented to it in 2018 by Tourism NI and Business Eye, First Trust Bank, Small Business Awards in the Hospitality & Tourism Business of the year category.

The prestigious award was presented to Event Producer Colin Wasson and Drum Major of the Belfast Tattoo, three-time world champion Brian Wilson MBE at the BEFTAs, held at the Crowne Plaza, Belfast in 2018. It was the second accolade bestowed upon the successful event having been highly commended in the Most Promising Authentic NI Event category in the 40th Annual Northern Ireland Tourism Awards the week before.

Despite being forced to postpone the show for 2020 due to the Covid19 pandemic, there will be no doubt that the Belfast International Tattoo will merely regroup and come out bigger and better in 2021.

The Belfast Tattoo, which is held annually at the SSE Arena over three nights in September, features over 600 performers, attracts over 13,000 visitors, creates over 7,000 bednights each year which generates over £500,000 in direct economic impact for Northern Ireland.

The Board and Production team of the Tattoo work hard to make each show unique and as memorable as the last while showcasing the best talent that Northern Ireland has to offer and in 2021 will be gearing up for a special anniversary show to commemorate the Centenary of Northern Ireland.

Proud Military History

Royal Air Force

No. 502 (Ulster) Squadron was a Royal Auxiliary Air Force squadron that saw service in World War II. It was reformed in September 2013, and is the oldest of all the reserve squadrons, being formed in 1925.

No. 502 squadron was originally formed on 15 May 1925 as No. 502 (Bomber) Squadron, a Special Reserve squadron at RAF Aldergrove, and it was composed of a mixture of regular and reserve personnel. On 1 December 1925 the name No. 502 (Ulster) Squadron was adopted. The squadron operated in the heavy night bomber role and as such it was initially equipped with Vickers Vimys from June 1925, re-equipping with Handley Page Hyderabads in July 1928. Vickers Virginias arrived in December 1931, but in October 1935 the squadron was transferred to the day bomber role for which it received Westland Wallaces, Hawker Hinds arriving in April 1937. Shortly after this, on 1 July 1937, it was transferred to the Auxiliary Air Force, the Special Reserve being disbanded.

On 28 November 1938, No. 502 (Ulster) Squadron became part of RAF Coastal Command, and was re-equipped with Avro Ansons in January 1939. When war broke out, the squadron was used to fly patrols in the Atlantic off the Irish Coast. From October 1940, the Squadron flew with Armstrong Whitworth Whitleys. It was reported that on 30 November 1941 the squadron became the first Coastal Command unit to make a successful attack on a U-boat with air-to-surface radar, sinking U-Boat U-206 in the Bay of Biscay. This report has been countered with newer information that the U-206 was more probably sunk by the minefield, "Beech," laid there by the British after August 1940, and that the squadron's attack was actually on U-71, which escaped without loss.

In January 1942 the squadron officially moved to both Norfolk (RAF Docking) and Cornwall, where a maintenance station was set up at RAF St Eval. Until 1944 the squadron's main role was to carry anti-submarine patrols. In January 1943 conversion to Halifax GR.Mk.IIs began, the first patrol by this type being flown on 12 March. In addition to anti-submarine patrols, now also attacks on enemy shipping off the French coast were made. In September 1944 with the French coast back in Allied hands, the squadron moved to Scotland at RAF Stornoway to carry out attacks on German shipping off the Norwegian coast, remaining there until the end of the war. It was disbanded on 25 May 1945.

With the reactivation of the Auxiliary Air Force, No. 502 was reformed on 10 May 1946, again at RAF Aldergrove, but now as a light bomber squadron, equipped with Mosquito B.25s from July 1946. In December night fighter Mosquitoes replaced the bombers, but in June 1948 the units of the by now Royal Auxiliary Air Force all converted to the day fighter role, 502 receiving Spitfire F.22s for the purpose. Jet conversion began in January 1951 with the arrival of Vampire FB.5s, which were supplemented by FB.9s in July 1954. The squadron continued to fly both types until, along with all the flying units of the RAuxAF, it was disbanded on 10 March 1957.

It was confirmed in September 2013 that No. 502 (Ulster) Squadron has reformed at Aldergrove Flying Station. As a general Squadron its mission is to provide fully trained Royal Auxiliary Air Force personnel, across a wide spectrum of roles, to support current and future worldwide commitments.

No. 502 is the oldest of the reserve squadrons, having been formed in 1925, and in 2019, a new standard was awarded to the squadron as the old standard had been awarded in 1939 and was worn out.

Leonard Stanford Merrifield FRBS

Leonard Stanford Merrifield FRBS


While not from Northern Ireland Leonard Stanford Merrifield left a lasting in legacy in Northern Ireland through his many statues and memorial.

Born in Wyck Rissington, Gloucestershire, Leonard trained first as a stone carver and then studied at Cheltenham School of Art, the City & Guilds of London School of Art, Kennington and the Royal Academy Schools.

His works can be found across the United Kingdom but in Northern Ireland he would be best known for the colossal statue he executed of Lord Carson, which was placed in front of the Northern Ireland parliament buildings at Stormont, Belfast, in 1933. He also sculpted the bronze statue of Lord Craigavon that can be seen on the main staircase inside the parliament buildings.

Other significant works by Leonard Stanford Merrifield are housed in Belfast City Hall. These include the bust of Lord Carson and the War Memorial to the Young Citizen Volunteers, 14th Battalion of Royal Irish Rifles.

As well as the statues mentioned above Leonard Stanford Merrifield also received commissions for the War Memorials in Lurgan, Co. Armagh, Comber, Co. Down and Holywood, Co Down.

Kilcluney Volunteers Flute Band

The original Kilcluney band was formed in the period between 1877 and 1896 by the Rev. Henry Hutchings, rector of Kilcluney Parish Church.

The band now known as Kilcluney Volunteers was formed in 1949 in Kilcluney L.O.L. 132 Orange Hall, one mile from the small town of Markethill on the fringes of the South Armagh countryside.

Although over the previous century a pipe, silver and an accordion band had been based in the area, Kilcluney Flute Band, as they were first known, was the first flute band to lead the lodge.

The bands inaugural parade in 1949 was at Knockavannon which is outside Newtownhamilton, where fifteen fluters and four drummers marched up a country road in black trousers and white shirts.

Over the next two decades the band grew in numbers, this was despite the fact that like most bands of the time their yearly outings consisted solely of the Twelfth and Thirteenth of July celebrations. Many locals can recall the band of this period marching with upwards of forty members in the flute corps.

The first change of uniform came about in the late 1950's when red jumpers and peaked caps were adopted. This sufficed until the turbulent times of the late 1960’s, when the band were among the pioneers of the style of playing now known as 'blood and thunder'.

This change apparently came about gradually after the band had attended a parade in Belfast, and was greatly influenced by the style some local bands there had begun to follow. Along with the musical change came another change in uniform, red jackets being chosen, and also a change in name. The band having decided that the name Kilcluney Protestant Boys better reflected the bands youthful membership.

During the next few years the band became renowned for their youthful energy and commitment and a major change in band membership resulted in the 1970’s. It was then that the present name of Kilcluney Volunteers was taken by the band and since those days the band has continually gone from strength to strength.

From the early 1980's the membership has averaged upwards of 60 members, and the band has regularly taken part in between fifty and seventy parades each year.

One of the first Loyalist internet websites was also established by the band in November 1998, and proved to be a focal point for both former band members around the world and for individuals eager to learn more about Loyalist and parading culture.

One of the bands proudest moments was escorting Detroit Boyne Defenders LOL, all the way from the United States, at the Scottish 12th in Glasgow in 2002.

This trip came about via an email from an American Orangeman, who enquired about how much it would cost to engage Kilcluney for the demonstration. The response from the band was that if the Detroit men can get all the way from America, we will be able to make our own way to Scotland!

The bands commitment to supporting other bands has established their annual parade as one of the biggest in the country. The band first held their parade and competition on the First Friday night in June 1974, and it is now known as the ‘First Friday in June’ in many circles.

In 2007, the band hosted the largest band parade and competition ever in Northern Ireland on the ‘First Friday in June’, with a total of 107 bands making their way to Markethill that evening to support Kilcluney. A DVD of the night – called ‘The Big 1- 07’ proved popular.

Kilcluney has also been fortunate to take the tradition of bands further afield, having attended the Liverpool and Southport Twelfth of July celebrations several times over the years and with other engagements in Seaford and Portsmouth, Limerick in the Republic of Ireland and throughout Scotland.

In 2009, the band performed at the iconic Ulster Hall at the inaugural ‘Festival of Marching Bands’. The band’s performance earned much favourable comment and acclaim from spectators.

In 2012, the band paraded through the heart of London to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The event, organised by the Grand Orange Lodge of England, saw thousands of members of the Institution on parade in the city.

A sea of Orange descended on the Capital and along the packed five mile route, onlookers showed their appreciation by cheering and applauding as the band went by. With the sound of the Volunteers reverberating through the small streets and tall buildings, the energy and singing of the crowd spurred on the whole band, with many members commenting that it was one of the most atmospheric parades they have ever participated in.

In 2019, the band hosted a Dinner and an Exhibition and Memorabilia Display in Kilcluney Orange Hall to mark their 70th Anniversary.

The exhibition charted the history of the band from 1949 to the present day, with uniforms, photographs, instruments, newspaper articles and clippings, videos and memorabilia all on display.

The band was pleased to donate £1,200 to Air Ambulance NI in early 2020, which was raised from donations received at the exhibition.

Over the years, there has been many men and women who have called themselves ‘Kilcluney Volunteers’ and every single individual has played their part in making the band what it is today.

Churchill Flute Band

The Churchill Flute Band is the longest established marching band still in existence today having been formed in 1835, the band was originally known as 'Milltown Flute Band', but eventually became known as the Churchill flute band because of the Church hill area of Glendermott were they were formed. The band practiced in a small hall at the entrance of Drumahoe. This hall later became the property of the Free Presbyterian Church and the Churchill Flute Band are now based in the Apprentice Boys of Derry Memorial Hall, inside the Maiden City's historic city walls, where they practice every Tuesday night.

Originally a melody flute band, members were taught to read music by a local church organist and later became a part flute band in the early 1900's and still are to this day. The band still encompasses the tradition of marching to this day and can be seen marching with the Apprentice Boys, Orange Order, Black Preceptories and much more. They are also known today as much for their concert work for various historic and commemorative organisations throughout Northern Ireland. During the late 1960's the band became involved in the World Championship Competitions, along with other flute bands throughout Northern Ireland to great success and acclaim. The band held the prestigious Monaghan Chamber of Commerce Cup for three years in succession.

It wasn't just in the 1960's that the band won contests, The drum Majors' Mace carried at the head of the band has been on parade since 1935, when it was won at a Style and Appearance Contest held in the Brandywell that year.

The Churchill flute Band is also seen as a trend setter. Originally an all male band, Freda Nicholl became the first female member in 1968 breaking new ground in flute band circles. The band was also the first to have their own uniform in the Northwest and in 1965 were the first in the area to break away from the traditional 'Naval' style of uniform to the new black uniforms. In 1971 probably the riskiest change was made when the band, at a cost of £3000, converted to the new silver Boehm system of concert pitch flute. But this was to prove a great success!

In 2003, the band departed from the recognisable black uniform to a new and striking scarlet uniform, which was worn on the trip to Belgium and the Somme. So impressive and professional were the band at the Somme commemorations that the officers organising the day's events mistook them for the official military band!

In 2005 the band was back to winning ways winning the set piece contest of the NIBA in the Ulster Hall, Belfast. The band came 1st and won Conductors and Interpretation Prizes. In 2006 the band once again made their way with the Apprentice Boys to the battlefields of the Somme and Ypres to take part in the 90th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. In blistering heat the band did themselves proud and made a lot of friends who commented on the style and appearance of the band. Some could not believe we were a not a military band!

In recent years the band have produced 2 CDs entitled ‘Freedom of the City’ and ‘Established 1835,’ These CDs show what the band is really about, showing what we play, why we play it and how we have been around for over 180 years.

The Churchill Flute Band have more recently appeared in the parades in London and in Scotland with the Apprentice Boys, in the Lord Mayors Show in the streets of London alongside Ballywalter Flute Band which was covered on BBC TV. The band also appeared on the Belfast Tattoo in 2014 alongside Ballylone, Cahard and Hunter Moore Memorial and again in 2019 alongside Ballywalter Flute Band. The band has also started their own Anniversary entertainment competition first held to coincide with their 180th Anniversary in 2015 and every year since in their home in the Memorial Hall Londonderry. The competition features the best bands from all over Northern Ireland performing in the Maiden City.

Tullylagan Pipe Band

The story begins in 1923 when a group of men from the Ulster Special Constabulary, based just outside Cookstown, decided to form a band. That day marked the dawn of a new era in the pipe band fraternity for that was the day Tullylagan was born. Named after the area from which it originated it has become one of the best known and well respected bands in piping circles.


On the 12th August 1925 Tullylagan Pipe Band was formally introduced to the public when they hit the road for the first time, leading Donaghrisk RBP 31 on parade. First members included J Warnock, T Swaile, A Trainor, J Trainor, H Black, S Taylor, S Millar, J Montgomery, H Montgomery, A Nobles and J Black

The first band tartan was Cameron, however following a request from McGregor Greer, owner of Tullylagan Manor, they switched to McGregor tartan, the tartan that is still worn today.


Under management of Tommy Green in the 1930’s order tramadol in illinois Tullylagan entered the competition arena winning practically every contest they entered, including a total of six Ulster Championships.


In 1962 under Norman McCutcheon and the expert guidance of Tommy Green Tullylagan became the first band from outside Scotland to lift a World Championship, in Grade 3 in the grounds of Balmoral outside Belfast.

Since then there have been many ups and downs, many pipe majors, like Hugh Scott, William Warnock, David Chesney and David Trainor and many leading drummers like John Rea, Ian Downey, Kenny Wilson, Robert Scott, and Geoffrey Hamilton, many prizes like all Ireland and Ulster titles and a world beating drum crops (grade 3) under the leadership of present leading drummer David Brown in 1985.


The present Pipe major of the band is Warren Robinson. Many players today have come from the junior band. The junior band has been a trade mark of Tullylagan down through the years, and is still carried on today.

James Joseph Magennis VC

James Joseph Magennis was a Belfast born recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

James Magennis was born on 27 October 1919 at Majorca Street, West Belfast. He was from a working class Roman Catholic family and attended St Finian's Primary School on the Falls Road, Belfast. On 3 June 1935 he enlisted in the Royal Navy as a boy seaman.

He was the only native of Northern Ireland to receive the Victoria Cross for Second World War service. Magennis was part of several operations involving X-Craft midget submarines in attacks on Axis ships.

In July 1945 Magennis was serving on HMS XE3 during Operation Struggle. During an attack on the Japanese cruiser Takao in Singapore, Magennis showed extraordinary valour and bravery by leaving the submarine for a second time in order to free some explosive charges that had got caught. His commanding officer Lieutenant Ian Fraser was also awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 31 July 1945 during the operation.

The citation was published in a supplement to the London Gazette of 9th November:

Leading Seaman Magennis served as Diver in His Majesty's Midget Submarine XE-3 for her attack on 31 July 1945, on a Japanese cruiser of the Atago class. The diver's hatch could not be fully opened because XE-3 was tightly jammed under the target, and Magennis had to squeeze himself through the narrow space available. He experienced great difficulty in placing his limpets on the bottom of the cruiser owing both to the foul state of the bottom and to the pronounced slope upon which the limpets would not hold. Before a limpet could be placed therefore Magennis had thoroughly to scrape the area clear of barnacles, and in order to secure the limpets he had to tie them in pairs by a line passing under the cruiser keel. This was very tiring work for a diver, and he was moreover handicapped by a steady leakage of oxygen which was ascending in bubbles to the surface. A lesser man would have been content to place a few limpets and then to return to the craft. Magennis, however, persisted until he had placed his full outfit before returning to the craft in an exhausted condition. Shortly after withdrawing Lieutenant Fraser endeavoured to jettison his limpet carriers, but one of these would not release itself and fall clear of the craft. Despite his exhaustion, his oxygen leak and the fact that there was every probability of his being sighted, Magennis at once volunteered to leave the craft and free the carrier rather than allow a less experienced diver to undertake the job. After seven minutes of nerve-racking work he succeeded in releasing the carrier. Magennis displayed very great courage and devotion to duty and complete disregard for his own safety.

Magennis was the only Victoria Cross recipient of the Second World War to hail from Northern Ireland. As a result, Magennis obtained something of a "celebrity status" in his home city. The citizens of Belfast raised more than £3,000 as part of a "Shilling Fund."

In 1946 Magennis married Edna Skidmore, with whom he had four sons. The money from the Shilling Fund was spent quickly by Magennis and his wife; she remarked: "We are simple people... forced into the limelight. We lived beyond our means because it seemed the right thing to do."

In 1949 he left the Navy and returned to Belfast, where, at some point, he sold his Victoria Cross . In 1955 he moved to Yorkshire, where he worked as an electrician. For the last years of his life, he suffered from chronic ill health, before dying on 11 February 1986 of lung cancer hours before his heroism was honoured by the Royal Navy Philatelic Office with a first-day cover.

In 1998 a memorial plaque was installed by Castlereagh Borough Council on the wall of Magennis's former home at 32 Carncaver Road, Castlereagh, East Belfast. A memorial blue plaque sponsored by Belfast City Council was installed on the outer wall of the Royal Naval Association building at Great Victoria Street, Belfast by the Ulster History Circle.

Kellswater Flute Band

Kellswater Flute Band was founded in 1947, four miles South of Ballymena in the town land of Tullynamullan. The band takes its name not from the area but from the river Kellswater, immortalised in the song ‘Bonnie Kellswater’, the river and the bridge featuring on the band crest.

Rising above Glenwherry and meandering through the countryside, via Tullynamullen, to join the river Maine, ‘Kellswater’ was an ideal name for the band, the locals and ex pats. still today regarding themselves as ‘Kellswater folk’, in true Ulster Scots tradition.

Two years after the end of the Second World War, finances required to purchase instruments would have seemed a problem as times were hard, but with the support of the community generally and particular individuals, sacrifices were made, many fund raising events organised, and the purchase of Crown AZ flutes and Guards Pattern brass shelled rope drums followed.

In these early years Kellswater was a melody flute band under their first conductor, Mr A. Pedlow and their first drum corps instructor was Mr W Hoffin. The baton then changed hands, the conductor being Mr W. Mc Neill. The first of many successes on the contest platform soon followed, when in 1952 the band secured first place in Portadown performing ‘Everbright’ by W.B. Blythe in the melody flute section. The band then progressed to part music and around a year later Mr W.McNeill resigned as the band’s second conductor due to work commitments.

Mr S. Barclay then became conductor for a short period of time prior to Mr J.Mathewson taking over the baton. Under ‘Big Jimmy’ as he became affectionately known, much success at contests in the Ulster Hall Belfast and in Scotland was achieved between 1967 and 1985. Boehm system flutes being purchased in 1969 from Hunter Moore Flute Band in Newry.

Under his guidance the band collected a total of 18 awards in Flute Band League Own Choice, North of Ireland Bands Association and Scottish Amateur Flute Band Association competitions. After around thirty nine years of dedicated service as conductor, Mr. Mathewson retired due to ill health, and sadly passed away soon afterwards, ever to be remembered in the annals of Kellswater history.

Mr. U. Faulkner became conductor in 1992, a peripatetic tutor and top ex-army piccolo player, with his enthusiasm plus a hard working committee and ladies committee, membership of the band increased steadily.

New uniforms purchased in 1992 and a complete set of concert flutes in 1994 have helped the band to develop further. With a vibrant youth programme, numerous players study for high level grades and are involved in musical activities in schools, churches and festivals, contributing to the cultural mix in the Ballymena and Antrim areas. Some have taken up music as a profession!

Under Mr. U. Faulkner, success returned with 5 awards achieved on the contest platform and Best Band on Parade secured on various occasions at the Ballymena 12th July demonstration.

In 1997 the band celebrated it’s 50th Anniversary with a Dinner Dance and presentation to three founder members and the release of their first CD “Fifty Years on the March” selling over 700 copies of the recording.

Taking part in parades locally, and further a field in Scarva, Londonderry and Scotland , the band has never forgotten its roots as a marching band, leading Youth Organisations, Loyal Orders, and the British Legion on numerous occasions.

As a family band, the committee has been heavily involved, in the social aspect of the band organising ten pin bowling, barbecues, karting, theatre visits, day trips and two excursions to Alton Towers theme park in England, in 1997 and 2002.

During the past eleven years at Christmas, Kellswater Flute band has performed at the local shopping centre in aid of various charities. Over £5000 has been donated by the generous Ballymena public to worthy causes. Combat Cancer, Meningitis Research, Radio Cracker (aid for the 3rd world), School Aid Romania, Action Cancer, Chernobyl Children Appeal (NI), Multiple Sclerosis, Macmillan Cancer Support and The Alzheimer’s Society have all benefited from what has now become a traditional venture for the band.

On the 1st of July 2002, the band’s second CD was released, entitled “Step in Style” and comprising fifteen new marches, the recording has been extremely popular locally and tracks featured on Ballymena’s charity radio station “Radio Cracker” have boosted sales. Many of the copies having been distributed further field in Scotland, England, South Africa, U.S.A., Canada and Australia.

In September 2003 Mr U. Faulkner stood down as conductor after eleven years of dedicated service both on parade and on the contest platform, the band accepted his resignation due to work commitments with great reluctance.

The band’s sixth conductor was Mr G. Houston FLCM. LRSM. LLCM, who took up the post on 9th Sept 2003.

Professionally he has held the position of Principal Flute with the Irish Guards and the Royal Irish Regiment, and has taught music at the highest level. This experience combined with his hard working ethos and organisational skills proved extremely successful, guiding the band to the Grade 3 Irish Championship in October 2003, Grade 2 Flute Band Association Championship in February 2006, Grade 1 Scottish Flute Championship in April 2006, Grade 2 Northern Ireland Bands Association Championship in October 2007 and Grade 1 Flute Band Association Irish Championship in February 2009.

The band's third CD, 'Gibraltar' was released on 12th August 2008 to celebrate the band's visit to Gibraltar, the finale of their 60th anniversary celebrations.

Kellswater’s current conductor is Mrs C. Watson who has been involved in flute banding for over thirty years and throughout her career has conducted senior bands to numerous victories in prestigious competitions. Taking up the post in Jan 2010 the band, under her guidance, immediately retained the Grade 1 Flute Band Association Irish Championship, and in Oct 2010 reached the pinnacle of flute band competitions becoming the Northern Ireland Bands Association Grade1 World Champions! With this award, Kellswater has been successful across all concert sections in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Field Marshal Alan Francis Brooke
1st Viscount Alanbrooke, KG, GCB, OM,  GCVO, DSO & Bar 

Alan Brooke was a senior officer of the British Army. He was Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS), the professional head of the British Army, during the Second World War, and was promoted to field marshal in 1944.

As chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, Brooke was the foremost military advisor to Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister, and had the role of co-ordinator of the British military efforts in the Allies' victory in 1945.

Alan Brooke was born into the famous 'fighting Brookes of Colebrooke' in the French village of Bagnères-de-Bigorre in 1883. He was the youngest of seven children and his older brother, Basil, would go on to become the third Prime Minister of Northern Ireland. Alan was commissioned into the British Army in 1902, serving with the Royal Regiment of Artillery. Brooke quickly gained a reputation as an outstanding planner and he introduced the 'creeping barrage' system at the Battle of the Somme, he also coordinated the artillery bombardments during the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Alan ended the First World War as a Lieutenant-colonel with the Distinguished Service Order and Bar.

At the beginning of the Second World War Brooke was seen as one of the foremost generals in the British Army. He once again distinguished himself in the handling of the British evacuation of Dunkirk. In 1940 he took charge of the anti-invaison preparations.

In 1941, Brooke replaced, John Dill (another Ulsterman) as Chief of the Imperial General Staff and he represented the British Army on the Chief of Staffs committee. For the remainder of WWII Brooke was Churchill's main military advisor. Churchill famously said of Brooke, 'When I thump the table and push my face towards him what does he do? Thumps the table harder and glares back at me. I know these Brookes – stiff-necked Ulstermen and there's no one worse to deal with than that!'. Despite the oftentimes tempestuous relationship between the two men, they regarded eachother with affection and their strong relationship undoubtedly brought victory to the nation.

In 1960 Alanbrooke received a replica of the 'Boyne medal', the oldest existing medal for gallantry in the British isles. It was presented by Sir Norman Stronge, speaker of the Northern Ireland parliament.

At the coronation of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, Brooke served as the Lord Constable of England. From 1948 Field Marshal Alanbrooke held the position of chancellor of the University, notably, he unveiled the plaque on QUB's memorial to those who died in 1939-1945 on 8th November 1950. To this day, a portrait of Alanbrooke hangs in the great hall. Eric Ashby, QUB Vice-Chancellor, recalled Alanbrooke as a 'modest man, an easy guest, and a fund of interesting stories. When he chaired senate meetings they were over in half their usual time'.

Viscount Alanbrooke passed away of a heart attack in 1963.

General Andrew Jackson
US President

General Andrew Jackson
US President

Andrew Jackson was an American soldier and statesman who served as the seventh president of the United States from 1829 to 1837. Before being elected to the presidency, Jackson gained fame as a general in the United States Army and served in both houses of the U.S. Congress. As president, Jackson sought to advance the rights of the "common man" against a "corrupt aristocracy" and to preserve the Union.

Old Hickory’ (as Jackson was nicknamed) was the first president to be elected from west of the Appalachians. Unlike his predecessors he was not born to great privilege and was the first president to be born in a log cabin. As the founder of the Democratic Party, he was the first president to found a modern political party.

Andrew Jackson was the first (and remains, arguably, the greatest) of a long line of Ulster-Scots Presidents. The 7th President’s parents hailed from Boneybefore, near Carrickfergus, County Antrim.

The equestrian statue of Andrew Jackson, that appears in this photograph, was dedicated in Washington on the 8th January, 1853.

Castledawson Flute Band

The people of Castledawson are no strangers to the sound of the flute. In fact at one time they had two bands, belonging to the local lodges, to choose from.

Going by local history and information the Band has been 125 years on the march. The first main event in which a flute band took part in was the 9th of August 1913 when the “William Prince of Orange” Flute Band lead the Chichester Unionist Party to Portrush for a Lord Carson Rally. The music of this band echoed through the village for 50 years before our formation. The last recorded parade by the Prince of Orange FB was the unveiling of a flag for the Apprentice Boys of Derry, by Mrs Chichester Clark, at the Castle in the village on 7th August 1926.

On 25th October 1926 a decision was taken at a meeting of the Prince of Orange Flute Band to change to a Part Music Flute Band. The following being appointed to act as a committee: Chairman: J Lesley, Secretary: J O’Hara, Treasurer: W Woods, Committee: A Bradley, J Browne,T Harte, T Lennox,R Leslie, W Johnston.

On Saturday 29th January 1927, the newly formed band made its first appearance when it appeared around the village under the leadership of Mr George McGrath.

On the 5th & 6th February 1927 a Bazaar in aid of bands funds for the Prince of Orange Part Music Flute Band was held on Friday and Saturday in the Protestant Hall. Prior to the opening ceremony the band paraded the streets of the town playing popular airs. Mr S.G. Davidson J.P. was Chairman on Friday and after praise by Rev. A.P. Chamberlain M.A. the Chairman explained the object of the sale. The band had been in existence for upwards of 50 years and for the last 25 years had been under the guidance of Alexander Bradley (to the local people it was known as Alex’s Band) They practised in the war memorial Hall, which was built in 1929 by the people of the town. In the hall is a war tablet displaying the names of all the local people who fought in the 1914 War.

In later years the Band became known as Castledawson Amateur Flute Band, and in the 1960’s they purchased their first uniforms, along with new side drums and bass drum under the leadership of Eccles Lennox. In the 1980’s the band purchased its second uniform of navy-blue jackets and trousers with royal blue and yellow trim.

In the 1990’s the Band under the leadership of Ezekiel Leacock and Brian Rankin, decided to bring in ladies and have went from strength to strength and now has a membership ranging from all ages of approximately 25. In the late 1990's the Band also joined the Ulster Band Association and received new flutes and drums with a grant from the Arts Council. The band has also purchased new navy uniforms with royal blue and silver trim.

The band has received more funding from the Arts Council and bought new flutes and new white side drums and changed the colour of the base drum to match. The band takes its own Lodge LOL 96 on the 12th of July, Castledawson Branch of the ABOD to Londonderry every other year and has also in the past lead Maghera, Magherafelt, Culnady and Tamlaght O’Crilly RBP on the Last Saturday in August.

The band also has the privilege to lead the Remembrance Day parade every other year for Castledawson Branch of the Royal British Legion. The Band has been privileged in the past to lead Castledawson District to the Tercentenary Parade in Belfast, the 12th in Rossnowlagh and the Bicentenary Parade in Loughall. The band also takes part in many parades held by other bands throughout the province.

Unfortunately 2020 saw no annual parade held in the village and this has been the first time in nearly 25 years that the band has not held a parade in Castledawson.

Imperial Corps of Drums

While not from Northern Ireland we are delighted to share the history of the Imperial Corps of Drums from Liverpool. Since their formation, the band has established a great relationship with the marching band fraternity in Northern Ireland.

The Imperial Corps of Drums started life in 1992 as the Imperial FB after friends from 2 bands, The Rath and The Whitehill, decided to merge due to a decrease in numbers. From the outset it was decided the band would be styled on a British Army Corps of Drums, this being easier said than done at the time as music scores were difficult to come by and there wasn't actually anybody with the ability to read, and interpret, the difficult parts. To rectify this the Band Master at the time enrolled with a music teacher and then set about passing on what he had learned to the other band members.

Progress was slow but steady, and then with a new Band Master at the helm, the band was approached by Laurie Johnston. This proved to be the making of the band, in musical terms. He agreed to take on the role of Musical Director, and under his tutoring and guidance, and no small amount of effort by the members to take on board his advice, the band has never looked back. All members can now read music scores, to varying degrees, and we have a number of sight readers.

From our fairly humble beginnings, the band has gone on to make 3 CD's and taken part in 2 TV shows, ‘Lillies’ and ‘Making of the Titanic’, as well as a number of events locally, nationally and internationally, all of which we are extremely proud. Locally we have been involved in several events on behalf of Liverpool City Council, most notably playing in Liverpool Town Hall at a civic reception, taking part in the 2008 Capital of Culture celebrations at St. George's Hall, and leading the Lord Mayor's Parade around Liverpool city centre for numerous years. We are also proud of having over a decade of association with Mossley Hill branch, Royal British Legion, until its sad closure in 2018, our several years of leading the Norwegian community through Liverpool City Centre on behalf of the Norwegian Consulate to celebrate their Constitution Day, as well as being part of a passing out parade for marine recruits at HMS Eaglet.

Further afield, the band has participated in countless parades, cultural events and competitions right across the United Kingdom. The most notable of these being playing in the Ulster Hall Belfast, Apprentice Boys Memorial Hall, Londonderry and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Our crowning moment to date though has to be our participation in both the Belfast and Liverpool International Tattoos over 2 weekends in September of 2018. The whole experience was a massive eye opener for us, introduced us to a new audience, allowed us to make many new friends and gave us the opportunity to march professionally in our home city with our family and friends watching. It will certainly take some beating!

A completely different type of experience but every bit as important to us has been our trips to France and Belgium, and the battlefields of the Somme. From the very first visit we have been awestruck by the sheer size of the cemeteries, with numerous visits to the village of Montauban, which was liberated by the Liverpool PALS during WW1, being particularly poignant. The true horror and sacrifice made by our forefathers should be taught to our children, and never be forgotten. To this end we have been proud to have played in several local schools on Armistice Day, as a visual aid in helping the children take part in our

nationwide acts of remembrance.

Edmund De Wind VC

Edmund De Wind VC was a British Army officer during the First World War, and posthumous recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth  forces.

De Wind was born in Comber, County Down on 11 December 1883 to Arthur Hughes De Wind, C.E., and Margaret Jane De Wind. He was educated at  Campbell College and then went to work for the Bank of Ireland, Clones branch.

De Wind was living in Canada in 1914 and working for the Edmonton branch of the  CIBC when World War I broke out.

He served with The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada for a period of six months prior to his enlistment as a private on 16 November 1914 in the 31st Battalion-Alberta Regiment, Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force. He arrived in France with 2nd Division of C.E.F. in September 1915. He saw action in the Battle of the Somme (1916) and at Vimy Ridge (1917). He earned a commission in September 1917 in the British Army.

As a 34-year-old Second Lieutenant in the 15th Battalion, The Royal Irish Rifles, he was awarded the VC for deeds committed during the 1918 Spring Offensive on 21 March 1918. He died on that day.

For most conspicuous bravery and self-sacrifice on the 21st March, 1918, at the Race Course Redoubt, near Grugies. For seven hours he held this most important post, and though twice wounded and practically single-handed, he maintained his position until another section could be got to his help. On two occasions, with two N.C.O.'s only, he got out on top under heavy machine gun and rifle fire, and cleared the enemy out of the trench, killing many. He continued to repel attack after attack until he was mortally wounded and collapsed. His valour, self-sacrifice and example were of the highest order.

— The London Gazette, 13 May 1919

De Wind is commemorated by a pillar, bearing his name and date of death, commissioned by his mother and installed at the main entrance on the west front of St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast. The entire west front, dedicated in 1927, forms a memorial to the Ulster men and women who served and died in the Great War. He is also named on the Pozières Memorial, in the Somme department of France, to the missing of the Fifth Army. There is a plaque memorial in his old school, Campbell College, Belfast.

In his home town of Comber, he is commemorated by an Ulster History Circle blue plaque, unveiled in 2007.
Mount De Wind, Alberta, Canada, is named after him. A housing estate in Comber is also named in his honour.

A memorial stone was dedicated to Edmund de Wind VC, in Comber, on the 21st March 2018.

William King Memorial

Flute Band

The band is from the Fountain estate Londonderry, Sitting in the shadow of Derry’s walls and the Church of Ireland St Columb’s Cathedral, today the Fountain is the last remaining Protestant area in the overwhelmingly Catholic west bank of the city.

The band is names after a 49-year-old factory worker from the Fountain estate, Mr William King. He died from a heart attack on September 25th, 1969, hours after being attacked by rioters from the Bogside. In Lost Lives he is listed as the one of the first victims of the North’s Troubles.

The band started as a blood and thunder band formed in 1973, with its first parade in 1974 in Antrim, then changed to Melody mid 80's with a new appearance of millatry style uniforms, and then released a a cassette called "Aces High" a real bench mark for other bands to reach.

The band is the most successful melody band in the country winning titles in the Flute band league and All Ireland.

William king memorial has had the honour of visiting the battlefields of the Somme twice, once in 2014 and then again in 2018 with the No Surrender Apprentice boys of Derry, of whom the band has a great friendship.

They took part in the first Walled city Tattoo in the old army barracks of Ebrington Square, rubbing shoulders with the likes of the secret drum corps, Switzerland.

The band has gone on to record two CDs "Death or glory" and "Our Director" named after the late great Drew Porter. Making a documentary on the bands history in 2014 called Band of brothers which is now available on the bands YouTube page.

Sir Edward Carson

Sir Edward Carson


Edward Carson was born on this day, 9th February, 1854. He was an Irish Unionist politician, barrister and judge. From 1905 Carson was both the Irish Unionist Alliance MP for Trinity College Dublin and leader of the Ulster Unionist Council in Belfast. In 1915 he entered the war cabinet of Herbert Asquith as Attorney-General.

Carson was defeated in his ambition to maintain Ireland as a whole in union with Great Britain. His leadership, however, was celebrated by some for securing a continued place in the United Kingdom for the six north-eastern counties, albeit under a devolved Parliament of Northern Ireland that neither he nor his fellow unionists had sought.

Edward Carson, the 2nd son of Edward Henry Carson, architect, was born at 4 Harcourt Street, in Dublin, into a wealthy Anglican family. The Carsons were of Scottish origin, Edward's grandfather having originally moved to Dublin from Dumfries in 1815. Carson's mother was Isabella Lambert, the daughter of Captain Peter Lambert, part of an old Anglo-Irish family, the Lamberts of Castle Ellen, County Galway. Carson spent holidays at Castle Ellen, which was owned by his uncle. He was one of six children (four boys and two girls). Edward was educated at Portarlington School, Wesley College, Dublin and Trinity College, Dublin, where he read law and was an active member of the College Historical Society. He also played with the college hurling team. Carson graduated BA and MA.

He spoke Irish and was a regular player of Gaelic games as a child. He later received an honorary doctorate (LL.D.) from the University of Dublin in June 1901.

In 1877 Carson was called to the Irish Bar at King's Inns. He gained a reputation for fearsome advocacy and supreme legal ability and became regarded as a brilliant barrister, among the most prominent in Ireland at the time. He was also an acknowledged master of the appeal to the jury by his legal wit and oratory. He was appointed Queen's Counsel (Ireland) in 1889 and was Called to the English Bar at Middle Temple on 26 April 1893. He was twice admitted to the Inn, once on 1 November 1875 and then again on 21 April 1893, and was made a Bencher on 15 June 1900.

Carson's political career began on 20 June 1892, when he was appointed Solicitor-General for Ireland, although he was not then a member of the House of Commons. He was elected as Member of Parliament for the University of Dublin in the 1892 general election as a Liberal Unionist, although as a whole the party lost the election to the Liberals.

Carson maintained his career as a barrister and was admitted to the English Bar by The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple in 1893 and from then on mainly practised in London. In 1896 he was sworn of the Irish Privy Council. He was appointed Solicitor-General for England on 7 May 1900, receiving the customary knighthood. He served in this position until the Conservative government resigned in December 1905, when he was rewarded with membership of the Privy Council.

In the 1918 general election, Sinn Féin won 73 out of the 105 Irish seats in the House of Commons. In 25 constituencies, Sinn Féin won the seats unopposed. Unionists (including Ulster Unionist Labour Association) won 26 seats, all but three of which were in the six counties that today form Northern Ireland, and the Irish Parliamentary Party won only six (down from 84), all but one in Ulster. The Labour Party did not stand in the election, allowing the electorate to decide between home rule or a republic by having a clear choice between the two nationalist parties. Irish Republicans regarded these elections as the mandate to establish the First Dáil. As such, all persons in Ireland elected to Westminster were considered to have been elected to Dáil Éireann. Had he chosen to do so, Carson could have exercised the option of attending the meeting of the First Dáil in the Mansion House on 21 January 1919. Like all of those elected to Irish seats in December 1918 he received an invitation, written as gaeilge, to attend. He kept the invitation as a souvenir.

In September 1911 a huge crowd of over 50,000 people gathered to rally near Belfast to hear Carson speaking to urge his party take on the governance of Ulster. With the passage of the Parliament Act 1911, the Unionists faced the loss of the House of Lords' ability to thwart the passage of the new Home Rule Bill.

Carson campaigned against Home Rule. He spoke against the Bill in the House of Commons and organised rallies in Ireland promoting a provisional government for "the Protestant province of Ulster" to be ready, should a third Home Rule Bill come into law.

On Sunday 28 September 1912, 'Ulster Day', he was the first signatory on the Ulster Covenant, which bound 447,197 signatories to resist Home Rule with the threat that they would use "all means necessary" after Carson had established the Ulster Volunteers. From it the Ulster Volunteer Force was formed in January 1913 to undergo military training and purchase arms. In Parliament Carson rejected any olive branch for compromise demanding Ulster "be given a resolution rather than a stay of execution". The UVF received a large arms cache from Germany on the night of 24 April 1914. Historian Felician Prill says Germany was not trying to start a civil war, for the Ulster cause was not popular in Berlin. Later that year, a further shipment of arms from Germany was delivered to the pro-Home Rule and IRB-influenced Irish Volunteers at Howth near Dublin.

The Home Rule Bill was passed by the Commons on 25 May 1914 by a majority of 77 and due to the Parliament Act 1911, it did not need the Lords' consent, so the bill was awaiting royal assent. To enforce the legislation, given the activities of the Unionists, H. H. Asquith's Liberal government had prepared to send troops to Ulster. This sparked the Curragh Incident on 20 March. Together with the arming of the Irish Volunteers, Ireland was on the brink of civil war when the outbreak of the First World War led to the suspension of the Home Rule Act's operation until the end of the war. By this time Carson had announced in Belfast that an Ulster Division would be formed from the U.V.F., and the 36th (Ulster) Division was swiftly organised.

In 1914, suffragettes Flora Drummond and Norah Dacre Fox (later known as Norah Elam) besieged Carson's home, arguing that his form of Ulster 'incitement to militancy' passed without notice whilst suffragettes were charged and imprisoned for same action. In a 1921 speech opposing the pending Anglo-Irish Treaty, Carson attacked the "Tory intrigues" that had led him on the course that would partition Ireland, an outcome he opposed almost as strongly as Home Rule itself. In the course of the speech Carson said:

What a fool I was! I was only a puppet, and so was Ulster, and so was Ireland, in the political game that was to get the Conservative Party into Power.

Later in the speech, Carson said:

But I say to my Ulster friends, and I say it with all sincerity and solemnity: Do not be led into any such false line. Stick to your old ideals of closer and closer connection with this country. The Coalition Government, after all, is not the British nation, and the British nation will certainly see you righted. Your interests lie with Great Britain. You have helped her, and you have helped her Empire, and her Empire belongs just as much to you as it does to England. Stick to it, and trust the British people.

Although considering himself proudly British, Carson also considered himself a proud Irishman stating "I am very proud as an Irishman to be a member of the British Empire."

On 25 May 1915, Asquith appointed Carson Attorney-General when the Coalition Government was formed after the Liberal government was brought down by the Shell Crisis and the resignation of Admiral Fisher. He resigned on 19 October, however, citing his opposition to Government policy on war in the Balkans. During Asquith's coalition government of 1915–1916, there was no formal opposition in either the Commons or the Lords. The only party not in Asquith's Liberal, Conservative, Labour Coalition was the Irish Nationalist Party led by John Redmond. However, this party supported the government and did not function as an Opposition. After Carson, the leading figure among the Irish Unionist allies of the Conservative Party, resigned from the coalition ministry on 19 October 1915, he then became the de facto leader of those Unionists who were not members of the government, effectively Leader of the Opposition in the Commons.

He played a major role in forcing the resignation of Asquith as Prime Minister, returning to office on 10 December 1916 as First Lord of the Admiralty, and elevated to the powerful British War Cabinet as a Minister without Portfolio on 17 July 1917.

Carson was hostile to the foundation of the League of Nations as he believed that this institution would be ineffectual against war. In a speech on 7 December 1917 he said:

Talk to me of treaties! Talk to me of the League of Nations! Every Great Power in Europe was pledged by treaty to preserve Belgium. That was a League of Nations, but it failed.

Early in 1918, the government decided to extend conscription to Ireland, and that Ireland would have to be given home rule in order to make it acceptable. Carson disagreed in principle and again resigned on 21 January. He gave up his seat at the University of Dublin in the 1918 general election and was instead elected for Belfast Duncairn.

He continued to lead the Unionists, but when the Government of Ireland Act 1920 was introduced, advised his party to work for the exemption of six Ulster counties from Home Rule as the best compromise (a compromise he had previously rejected). This proposal passed and as a result the Parliament of Northern Ireland was established.

In January 1921 he met in London over three days with Father O'Flanagan and Lord Justice Sir James O'Connor to try to find a mutual agreement that would end the Anglo-Irish war, but without result.

After the partition of Ireland, Carson repeatedly warned Ulster Unionist leaders not to alienate northern Catholics, as he foresaw this would make Northern Ireland unstable. In 1921 he stated: "We used to say that we could not trust an Irish parliament in Dublin to do justice to the Protestant minority. Let us take care that that reproach can no longer be made against your parliament, and from the outset let them see that the Catholic minority have nothing to fear from a Protestant majority."

Carson was asked to lead the Unionists during the election to become the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland. He declined due to his lack of connections with any Northern Ireland constituency (an opponent once taunted him saying: "He has no country, he has no caste"), and resigned the leadership of the party in February 1921. Carson was appointed one of seven Lords of Appeal in Ordinary on 24 May 1921 and was created a life peer under the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876 on 1 June 1921 as Baron Carson, of Duncairn in the County of Antrim.

Carson married twice. His first wife was Annette Kirwan from County Galway, daughter of Henry Persse Kirwan, a retired County Inspector of the Royal Irish Constabulary. They were married on 19 December 1879. He had two sons and two daughters by his first wife. The first Lady Carson died in 1913.

His second wife was Ruby Frewen, a Yorkshirewoman, the daughter of Lt.-Col. Stephen Frewen, later Frewen-Laton MP (and Emily Augusta (Peacocke) Frewen. They were married on 17 September 1914; she was 29 and he was 60. They had one son.

Carson retired in October 1929. In July 1932, he had witnessed the unveiling of a large statue (sculpted by L. S. Merrifield) of himself in front of Parliament Buildings at Stormont. The statue was unveiled by Lord Craigavon in the presence of more than 40,000 people. The statue was cast in bronze and placed upon a plinth. The inscription on the base read "By the loyalists of Ulster as an expression of their love and admiration for its subject". This was the last time he visited Ulster.

Lord Carson lived at Cleve Court, a Queen Anne house near Minster in the Isle of Thanet, Kent, bought in 1921. It was here that Carson died peacefully on 22 October 1935. Britain gave him a state funeral, which took place in Belfast at St Anne's Cathedral; he is still the only person to have been buried there. From a silver bowl, soil from each of the six counties of Northern Ireland was scattered on to his coffin, which had earlier been covered by the Union Flag, which however was removed during the service. At his funeral service the choir sang his own favourite hymn, "I Vow to Thee, My Country". A warship had brought his body to Belfast and the funeral took place on Saturday 26 October 1935.

Thousands of shipworkers stopped work and bowed their heads as HMS Broke steamed slowly up Belfast Lough, with Carson's flag-draped coffin sat on the quarterdeck.

The Vow Accordion Band

The Vow Accordion Band was formed in 1948 by David Stevenson along with two other local men James Anderson and Jim Blair. Hugh Dunlop, a local businessman from Kilrea, helped financially to assist the band to purchase their first instruments.

The tutors of the band prior 1960 were Johnny Henry, James Anderson, Johnny Owens and George Wilson.

The band commenced playing melody only tunes at parades and progressed to part music under the musical direction of Mr Adam Wilkinson, and our participation widened by competing in NI competitions and other cultural events.

The Band held the All Ireland Open Accordion Title in 1991, competed at the British Championships in Blackpool (1992), and received first and second in Scarborough (1996) at Intermediate level.

The band produced its first LP in 1974 entitled “Follow the Vow Accordion Band”. A second was produced three years later entitled “Marching through Ulster”.

The band has had many uniform changes over the years. The main transition took place in 1986 when the band went from shirt and tie to grey jackets and black trousers. This changed to a black uniform in 1994 and a refreshed version was purchased in 2009 which is currently used by the band.

In recent years the band massed with Dunloy Accordion Band to participate in the inaugural Belfast Tattoo in 2013. This performance gained much respect from the producers of the tattoo that we received an invitation to return and participate in the Belfast Tattoo in 2016 and the Glasgow Tattoo in 2017.

In 2018 the band celebrated its 70th anniversary and to thank the community for its continued support the band hosted its own mini tattoo in Ballymoney raising over £4,000 which was contributed to the Air Ambulance NI Service.

The band attends many parades each year to gain support for their annual band parade which takes place in Ballymoney in June each year.

Bryan James Budd VC

Bryan James Budd VC


Bryan James Budd, VC was a British Army soldier from Northern Ireland and a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Budd was a corporal in the 3rd Battalion, Parachute Regiment, when he was killed while on active service during Operation Herrick in Afghanistan. Budd died of injuries sustained during a fire fight with Taliban forces in Sangin, Helmand Province, from a bullet probably fired from a NATO weapon. The incident occurred whilst he was on a routine patrol close to the District Centre. He was the 20th UK serviceman to die in Afghanistan since the start of operations in November 2001. On 14 December 2006, it was announced by the Ministry of Defence that Budd would be posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, only the 13th award of the medal since the end of the Second World War.

Born in Belfast together with twin sister Tracy, Budd moved to the north of England as a child. He attended Thomas Sumpter School in Scunthorpe. Budd had been in the British Army for ten years, serving with the elite Pathfinder Platoon, which carries out reconnaissance deep behind enemy lines. As part of the Pathfinders, he served in many operational theatres including the former Yugoslavia, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Iraq.

In May 2002, Budd passed his section commander's battle course with distinction, and was due to be promoted to platoon sergeant. He was a qualified combat survival instructor, rock climber and free-fall parachutist. He was posted to the Army Foundation College in Harrogate in 2004, where he trained young soldiers.

In June 2006, Budd joined A Company, 3 PARA as part of the 3,600-strong British task force. Posted to Afghanistan, A Company, 3 PARA was based in the southern Afghanistan town of Sangin in Helmand Province.

Due to come home on 25 August 2006, Budd was killed on 20 August defending his section against heavy Taliban attack outside Sangin, allowing the section to return to safety. His body was recovered an hour later, and he was confirmed dead. Budd's commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Tootal, described Budd at the time of his death as "an outstanding leader" who had a professional manner "that inspired confidence in all that worked with him". Tootal said: "Bryan died doing the job he loved, leading his men from the front, where he always was. He was proud to call himself a paratrooper and we were proud to stand beside him."

On 14 December 2006, the Ministry of Defence confirmed the award of the Victoria Cross, the first posthumous VC awarded since the Falklands War of 1982. Budd's widow, Lorena, collected the VC from Buckingham Palace on 7 March 2007.

A new Physical and Recreational Training Centre at Colchester Garrison was named the Corporal Budd VC Gymnasium on its opening on 4 July 2008.

In the first incident, on 27 July 2006, while on a routine patrol, Budd's section identified and engaged two enemy gunmen on the roof of a building in the centre of Sangin. During the ensuing fierce fire-fight, two of Budd's section were hit. One was seriously injured and collapsed in the open ground, where he remained exposed to enemy fire, with rounds striking the ground around him. Budd realised that he needed to regain the initiative and that the enemy needed to be driven back so that the casualty could be evacuated.

Under fire, he personally led the attack on the building where the enemy fire was heaviest, forcing the remaining fighters to flee across an open field where they were successfully engaged. This courageous and prompt action proved decisive in breaking the enemy and was undertaken at great personal risk. Budd's decisive leadership and conspicuous gallantry allowed his wounded colleague to be evacuated to safety where he subsequently received life-saving treatment.

On 20 August 2006, A Company, 3 PARA was located in the southern Afghanistan town of Sangin. Budd and his platoon were ordered to hold a small, isolated coalition outpost – dubbed a platoon house – to protect engineers blowing holes in a compound 500 metres away. The site was subject to almost daily Taliban onslaught for months.

On the day, there were three sections on patrol, a total of 24 men, spread out in a head-high cornfield around the compound. Budd spotted four Taliban approaching, at a distance of 50 metres. With hand signals, Budd led his section in a flanking manoeuvre round to the cornfield's outskirts to try to cut them off, but they were spotted and the Taliban opened fire on the troops. A further group of Taliban opened up fire from a wall further back. The British soldiers took heavy fire, kneeling or lying down trying to take cover. One soldier received a bullet in the shoulder, and another was shot in the nose.

Realising his section were taking heavy fire and were likely to be killed, Budd got up and rushed straight through the corn in the direction of the Taliban, now just 20 metres away. Budd opened up on them in fully automatic mode with his rifle, and contact was immediately lost, but the Taliban fire lessened and allowed the rest of his section to withdraw back to safety so the casualties could be treated.

After withdrawal, Budd was declared missing in action and most of A Company was sent back to find him. Apache and Harrier air support was called in to beat the Taliban back. An hour later, Budd was found beside three dead Taliban.

Corporal Andy Waddington's section of men pushed forward through the cornfield and discovered and extracted Budd, who was badly wounded and had no pulse. Budd was declared dead on arrival at the platoon house.

Budd's Victoria Cross is displayed at the Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces Museum at the Imperial War Museum Duxford, Cambridgeshire, in England.

Budd was married to Lorena Budd, a clerk in 5 Regiment, Royal Artillery at Catterick, North Yorkshire. The couple had two daughters, Isabelle (born 2004), and Imogen, born a month after Budd died in Afghanistan. In addition to his twin sister, he also had a brother.

South Fermanagh Loyalists FB

South Fermanagh Loyalists FB

South Fermanagh Loyalists FB was formed in 1983 with membership being drawn from the Lisnaskea & Maguiresbridge areas of the county. The band was originally called the Sons of William FB and its formation was in a hope to give young men from those areas, something to focus on and keep them from getting involved in anti social behaviour. Membership was strong for the first number of years. The bands first uniform consisted of burgundy sweaters, white shirts, grey ties & black trousers, keeping in line with most of the bands at the time.

By 1987 membership started to dwindle and at the same time the Wilson Memorial FB from Enniskillen were experiencing the same situation. Some conversations were had and it was decided that the bands would merge with those members who were interested in doing so.It was also agreed that a new name would be chosen to represent the merging of the 2 bands. The name agreed upon was the Red Hand Defenders FB. In a very short period of time, with the exception of a few, the majority of the members that came on board from the Wilson Memorial FB, all left and went their separate ways, leaving mostly the Sons of William members to carry on. The band stuck with the RHD name.

In 1989 the band purchased its first bannerette and South Fermanagh was added to the name. In the coming years the band started to move away from the more traditional style of Blood & Thunder and introduced new music to their playlists, placing a lot more emphasis on the drum Corps and the drum settings for their tunes. Adding in a slower March pace and more modern uniforms, the band started to make a name for itself throughout the country.

By 1999 the band was once again struggling for members. A leadership change took place along with the dropping of the RHD from the name. The band was now known as South Fermanagh Loyalists FB. The opportunity to relocate all of the bands activities to Enniskillen also happened at the same time. This turned out to have a real positive impact on the band in the years that lay ahead.

The leadership at that time undertook a campaign to try and change the narrative and perception surrounding B&T flute bands in the county. This proved to be fundamental in the moving forward of the band. Through hard work and determination and with the support now of many within the local community, membership started to increase and support for everything the band was involved in grew also. By 2007, the band was organising the largest gathering of marching bands the county had ever experienced, with crowds out on the streets to match.

2009 saw another leadership change. This brought with it a more focused approach to the music and seeing the bands musicality move forward once again. By this stage the distinctive black & gold uniforms were introduced, a faster March pace brought in and the band was now recognised as one of the top small B&T flute bands within the marching band scene.

Currently, the band is about to introduce its next uniform, another batch of new music and is very much looking forward to celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2023.

Eric Norman Frankland Bell VC

Eric Bell VC was a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. A soldier with The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers during the First World War, he was posthumously awarded the VC for his actions on 1 July 1916, during the Battle of the Somme.

Eric Norman Frankland Bell was born on 28th August 1895 in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, to Edward Bell and his wife Dora née Crowder, one of four children. His father was an officer in the British Army's Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, serving in Burma at the time of Eric's birth. The battalion was later posted to Cheshire and the family moved to live in Warrington, where Bell attended school. They later moved to Liverpool and Bell completed his schooling and then went on to Liverpool University to study architecture under Sir Charles Reilly.

In August 1914, on the outbreak of the First World War, Bell volunteered for the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, the regiment of the British Army in which his father was serving as adjutant of the 9th Battalion. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in September 1914 and was posted to the regiment's 6th Battalion. After a transfer to the 8th Battalion, he was assigned to the 9th Battalion. His two brothers, who had emigrated to the United States and Australia respectively, had also volunteered for the regiment.

The 9th Battalion was part of 109th Brigade, 36th (Ulster) Division, which was sent to the Western Front in France in October 1915. The following July, the division took part in the Battle of the Somme. By then, Bell had been promoted to temporary captain and was attached to the battalion's light trench mortar battery. On 1 July 1916, the opening day of the battle, he was advancing with the infantry near the village of Thiepval towards the Thiepval Road and onto the objective, a redoubt held by German forces. When the advance in his sector was held up by a German machinegun, he made a solo foray to deal with the gunner. Further holdups were dealt with on his own through the use of trench mortar bombs. He was rallying leaderless troops when he was killed. His actions was posthumously recognised with an award of the Victoria Cross.

The citation for his VC read as follows:

For most conspicuous bravery. He was in command of a Trench Mortar Battery, and advanced with the Infantry in the attack. When our front line was hung up by enfilading machine gun fire Captain Bell crept forward and shot the machine gunner. Later, on no less than three occasions, when our bombing parties, which were clearing the enemy's trenches, were unable to advance, he went forward alone and threw Trench Mortar bombs among the enemy. When he had no more bombs available he stood on the parapet, under intense fire, and used a rifle with great coolness and effect on the enemy advancing to counter-attack. Finally he was killed rallying and reorganising infantry parties which had lost their officers. All this was outside the scope of his normal duties with his battery. He gave his life in his supreme devotion to duty.

Bell's body was never recovered so he had no known grave. Instead, his name is listed on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing, which was established near Thiepval in Picardy. His brothers survived the war, although both had been wounded, and his parents died soon after the end of the war.

There are several memorials to Bell's memory; he is listed on the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers memorial in Belfast, the King's Garden Memorial in Liverpool, and the War Memorial in Enniskillen. There is also a plaque on the former family home in Liverpool as well as a blue plaque on the house he was born in, 1 Alma Terrace, in Enniskillen.

King George V presented Bell's VC to his father on 29th November 1916, in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace. The VC was later in the possession of his sister, who had emigrated in New Zealand in 1933. The sister also had possession of his 1914–15 Star but the whereabouts of his British War Medal and Victory Medal are not known. In 1999, a relative, Air Marshal Sir Richard Bolt, formerly New Zealand's Chief of Defence Staff, offered the VC to the museum of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. It was presented to the museum in February 2001, where it is now displayed.

Pride of the Shore Flute Band

Pride of the Shore Flute Band

The band was formed in the Shore Road area of North Belfast in 1985. Various names thought were thought of before we settled on Pride of The Shore.

In the early days we practiced in the Old Unionist Hall on the Somerton Road and when on parade we always met at The Grove Threatre.

Our 1st uniform of sorts was a blue shirt and black trousers before progressing onto the proper black with grey trim.

The band was made up from all local boys in those days.

We then started doing competitions and had our own goal of beating the local bands in our area before winning all over the country including 7 firsts in Rathcoole and 7 firsts in Carrick.

A highlight in those days was winning a melody section competition at Donagadee before changing back to blood n thunder and winning Gertudes indoor later that night.

In the following years we had our ups and downs and unfortunately almost went off the road but we managed to rescue the situation, getting a new uniform of a blue jacket red tartan trousers.

There were many changes as the years progressed, different uniforms and membership ranges widened to Shankill, East Belfast and beyond.

Presently we are rated as one of the best blood and thunder bands in the country and we have a strong dedicated membership.

Joseph Henry Thompson

Joseph Henry Thompson

Medal of Honor Recipient

Joseph Henry Thompson was a highly decorated World War I veteran, recipient of the Medal of Honor, lawyer, Pennsylvania state senator, head football coach of the University of Pittsburgh Panthers, and College Football Hall of Fame inductee.

Joseph Henry Thompson was born on 26th September 187I in the townland of Dunnaval, Kilkeel to Jacob Thompson, a farmer and Sarah Jane Reilly, daughter of Henry Reilly. Joseph was the eldest of three siblings, Albert William Thompson and Robert Reilly Thompson.

Thompson came to the United States from Ireland in 1898 at the age of 18 and entered Geneva College that year. He immediately became a basketball star and also participated in gymnastics and wrestling, but did not go out for football until 1900. He served as Geneva's player-coach for three years, with his football teams compiling a 27–2–3 record.

Thompson continued his education at the University of Pittsburgh, then called the Western University of Pennsylvania, where he played football from 1904 and 1906, during which time the Panthers compiled a 26–6 record. He captained the Pitt football team to its first perfect season in 1904 when the Panthers won all ten games and surrendered only one touchdown. Thompson graduated from Pitt in 1905 and continued on with post-graduate work in the School of Law completing his law degree. While at Pitt he was a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.

Following graduation from Pitt's law school, Thompson assumed the head coaching position at Pitt from 1909 to 1912, during which period he led Pitt to a 22–11–2 record. The highlight of his coaching tenure was the 1910 season in which Pitt went undefeated and unscored upon and was considered by many consider to be that season's national champion. While compiling its 9–0 record, Pitt outscored its opponents 282–0. During this time, he attended the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, graduating in 1909, and was admitted to the bar.

Thompson was inducted into the National Football Foundation's College Football Hall of Fame in 1971 and has been inducted into the Beaver County Sports Hall of Fame in 1977.

Thompson enlisted in the Pennsylvania National Guard's Company H, 14th Infantry Regiment on February 16, 1905. He was promoted to Second Lieutenant on November 1, 1906; to Captain in Company B, 10th Infantry, Pennsylvania National Guard on December 16, 1909; to Major on June 29, 1912; to Lieutenant Colonel on October 28, 1918; and finally to Colonel on March 15, 1919. While serving in WWI he was wounded four times: on September 29, 1918; September 30, 1918; October 1, 1918; and again on October 1, 1918, when he was gassed. He remained on duty after each instance. As of April 12, 1919, he was commanding the 110th Infantry Regiment. Thompson initially returned to the United States on May 11, 1919. He returned to France in June 1919, in order to redeploy the 110th Infantry Regiment to the United States. He was discharged from active duty in December 1919.

While serving in France with the 110th Infantry, then Major Thompson was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his valor on October 1, 1918, during which action he was wounded for the fourth time. This decoration was subsequently upgraded to the Medal of Honor on October 5, 1925. His four wounds entitled him to wear four wound chevrons (the precursor to the Purple Heart which was reestablished by the President of the United States per War Department General Orders 3, 1932) on his uniform's lower right sleeve.

Thompson represented the 47th District as a member of the Republican Party in the Pennsylvania State Senate from 1913 to 1916 and practiced law in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania until his death in 1928 from ailments aggravated by war wounds.

Apprentice Boys of Derry

The Apprentice Boys of Derry is a Christian, historical and cultural organisation with a worldwide membership of over 10,000. The Association was established in 1714 by Col. Mitchelburne assisted by those who had survived the siege and believed that some form of a society should be created to remember the experiences that occurred. Mitchelburne died in 1721 and consequently the organisation became dormant, however the events of the siege continued to be commemorated by parades, firing of cannon and public expressions. In 1814 the Association was reformed by Benjamin Darcus and continues unbroken to the present day.

The headquarters of the Association is established in Londonderry. 8 Parent Clubs, are based in the city, reflecting the 8 regiments formed during the siege to defend the walls. These clubs are central to the Association. Branch Clubs are based throughout Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, England, Scotland, Canada and lately a new Club has been constituted in Australia. The Association continues to expand and develop with additional Branch Clubs planned to open in other locations very soon.

The purpose of the Association is to commemorate the 1689 Siege of Londonderry and in particular the anniversaries of the Shutting of the Gates and the Relief of the City, after a protracted siege of 105 days, when Catholic James II of England and Ireland and VII of Scotland laid siege to the walled city. Londonderry and Enniskillen where the last remaining Protestant bastions in Ireland. James’s strategy was to conqueror all of Ireland, set sail to Scotland where he would join his many supporters and march towards London to regain his throne of the Kingdom. This plan was unfilled as he never conquered the small but strategically located city of Londonderry or the town of Enniskillen.

The Siege of Londonderry began in December 1688 when 13 apprentice boys shut the gates of the city against a regiment of twelve hundred Jacobite soldiers, commanded by Alexander MacDonnell. Following this rebellion in Londonderry, the Duke of Tyrconnel assembled a large but poorly organised Jacobite force commanded by Sir Richard Hamilton to march north against the Ulster Protestants. The deposed King James II, who had travelled from France to Ireland in March, took charge with the aid of two French generals. Arriving at the gates of Londonderry on 18 April 1689, he was greeted by a cry of "No Surrender!" The siege proper then commenced which lasted 105 days. The siege was lifted on 28 July 1689 (Old Style) when two armed merchant ships, the Mountjoy and the Phoenix, sailed up the River Foyle and breached a timber boom which had been stretched across the river, blocking supplies to the city. The ships' approach was protected from the Jacobite besiegers by cannon fire from the frigate HMS Dartmouth, under Captain (and future Admiral) John Leake. The Mountjoy rammed and broke the barricading boom at Culmore Fort and the ships sailed through, unloading many tons of food to relieve the starving inhabitants. Three days later on the 1st August, the besieging forces set fire to their camps and departed. It is recorded by historians that inside the walls around 8,000 people had died of starvation, disease and injury. During the final days of the siege, the inhabitants survived by eating cats, dogs, rats, and other vermin.

To commemorate the events of the siege, the Apprentice Boys Association hold three main annual celebrations. These are the commemoration of the Shutting of the Gates on the first Saturday in December, in memory of the action of the original apprentice boys; the Relief of Londonderry, on the second Saturday in August, in memory of the lifting of the siege. The Relief Parade is the largest procession in Northern Ireland and attracts participants from throughout the British Isles and curious spectators from worldwide destinations.

On the eve of the parades a ceremonial cannon is fired at midnight to herald the celebrations and bonfires are built and burned in many of the Protestant housing estates in the city. In recent years, the celebrations have transformed into a week-long Maiden City Festival in August and is accompanied by a series of diverse cultural events including bluegrass music, Ulster Scots music and tuition, art exhibitions and events staged by other local minority communities. During the December celebrations it is traditional to set alight an effigy of Robert Lundy, the siege traitor. The first recorded burning of an effigy took place in 1788 outside the Town Hall in the Diamond to celebrate the centenary of the Shutting of the gates. The custom continued from 1832 at Walker’s Pillar, until its destruction by the IRA in 1973. The Pillar, situated at Royal Bastion on the city walls, was a testimonial to the Rev. George Walker joint Governor of the city during the siege and an inspirational leader of the besieged during their time of trouble. The third celebration is held annually on Easter Monday and is hosted by Amalgamated Committees in venues throughout Ulster.

The first celebrations of the Relief of Derry took place on Sunday 28th July 1689, when the starving citizens crowded the walls to welcome the relief ships. The first organised celebrations took place on Sunday 8th August 1689 when a thanksgiving service was held in St Columb's Cathedral. Subsequent commemorations have followed that precedent.

The Apprentice Boys role in the celebrations became more important in the early nineteenth century which saw the establishment of the Apprentice Boys of Derry Club in 1814 and the No Surrender Club in 1824. New clubs were formed over the following years. In December 1861, the various clubs agreed to associate together under a governing body known as the General Committee. This Committee conducts the main business of the Association and establishes the rules and regulations for the Associated Clubs of Apprentice Boys of Derry.

General Committee organise the main celebrations which continue in the traditional manner with the firing of the siege cannon, (today a small replica is used), the ringing of the cathedral bells, the hoisting of the Crimson Flags, and the laying of wreaths in memory of those who sacrificed their lives. In December they continue with the burning of an effigy of Robert Lundy (the Governor of Derry who had sought to negotiate a surrender of the city with King James during the siege) and the service of thanksgiving in St Columb's Cathedral.

The Apprentice Boys Memorial Hall was opened in 1877 and is dedicated to the memory of the thirteen apprentice boys who closed the city gates in 1688. In 1937 the hall was extended along Society Street. The extension is dedicated to the memory of those who died in the Great War of 1914–1918. The hall is an architecturally important building within the walled city. It now facilitates the headquarters of the association, with its office and debating chamber.

All new Parent Club members and enrolled Branch Club members are initiated in the hall. Other organisations such as the Orange Institution, the Ladies Orange Association and Royal Black Preceptory have separate accommodation in the building. There is also a social club for members of the Loyal Orders. A recent additional attraction is the newly opened Siege Museum constructed adjacent to the hall. The museum officially opened in March 2016 and is available for public visits Monday to Saturday, 10.00am to 5.00pm.

The heritage centre will enable the association to convey the story of its rich history to a new and wider audience. An opportunity for the many tourists who visit the city and its historic walls to learn more about the bravery and devotion of our forefathers, many of whom paid the supreme sacrifice to create and defend civil and religious freedom for everyone.

The members of the Associated Clubs of Apprentice Boys of Derry will proudly commemorate this fortitude and resilience by continuing in the future with our celebration of these significant and memorable events.

Michael Flood Blaney GC

Michael Flood Blaney GC

Bomb Disposal Officer

Michael (Max) Flood Blaney was born in 65 Bridge Street, Newry on 14 January 1910. His father Charles, a civil engineer, who was Newry Town Surveyor from 1902 to 1959, was born in Donegal. His mother, Alice Flood was from an old established Newry family. Max studied at UCD, and like his father, was a civil engineer.

Three dates in 1940 were cited in the award to Acting Captain Blaney; 18 September, 20 October and 13 December. An unexploded bomb was located in London early on 18 September in the middle of Manor Way. Blaney removed the bomb. On 20 October, another unexploded bomb fell in Park Avenue, East Ham. Despite a pair of deadly tinge fuses fitted to this bomb, Blaney neutralized it, working alone as he always insisted on doing. As 1940 neared its end, German bombs were becoming more advanced, with combinations of fuses. This third UXB had fallen on Romford Road, Manor Park. It was uncovered about twelve feet below ground level. It was fitted with a delayed-action clockwork fuse, whose express purpose was to delay the explosion until the bomb was moved or tapped.

Captain Blaney reached Romford Road soon after the bomb was exposed. Despite the non-arrival of vital equipment he decided to proceed using other devices available. The bomb had to be hoisted out before the fuse could be removed. When the hoisting sling was passed round the bomb, they found that the device designed to detect the clock mechanism was obstructing the lifting equipment and had to be temporarily removed. As Blaney stepped forward to begin his work on it, the bomb exploded, killing him and another officer, a staff sergeant, a lance corporal, five Sappers, and a superintendent of police.

Blaney’s award of the George Cross was announced in the London Gazette on 14 April 1941.

Max Blaney was buried in the Flood grave in St Mary’s Church Newry on Christmas Day 1940. His George Cross is in Malta in his nephew’s keeping.

Eleventh Night Bonfire

Around the globe bonfries are lit as part of various community festivals. For example in New England, USA, on the night before the Fourth of July, towns compete to build towering pyramids. While In Iceland, bonfires are traditional on New Year's Eve and in urban areas of Canberra, Australia, bonfires are lit around the Queen's Official Birthday. There are many other countries that light bonfires at specific times of the year.

In Northern Ireland, the Eleventh Night or 11th Night refers to the night before the Twelfth of July, a yearly celebration in Northern Ireland.

On this night bonfires are lit across Northern Ireland. They are accompanied by community festivals, street parties and traditional music. The bonfires are mostly made up of wooden pallets that are collected by the local community hosting the bonfire.

It is believed that when King William lll landed at Carrickfergus in 1690, his supporters in Ulster lit bonfires to celebrate his arrival. It is also believed that the bonfires commemorate the lighting of similar fires on the hills of counties Antrim and Down. These bonfires are said to have helped Williamite ships navigate through Belfast Lough at night.

Like The Twelfth, the Eleventh Night bonfires celebrate the Glorious Revolution. The Glorious Revolution ultimately changed how the people were governed, giving Parliament more power over the monarchy, and planting the seed for the beginnings of political democracy.


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