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Isle of Cumbrae Travel to Passchendaele, Ypres Belgium

Over the weekend of 17-20 October the band returned to Flanders to take part in various commemoration events for the 100th anniversary of the first Battle of Ypres. Travelling by bus and ferry  the Band arrived on Friday 17th for their stay based in the Peace Village in Messines.

On Friday evening they took part in 'the Light Front' an event which saw 10000 participants light up with burning torches the entire front line as it had stagnated through Belgium in 1914 all played out to an  international TV audience as street  and house lights were turned off to honour the event.

On Saturday they travelled over the border to France where in the small town of Illiers the community there were staging a rededication of a memorial to Captain J J. Boyle (one of the sons of the then Lord Glasgow, Kelburn, Largs) who was killed on that precise day in action 100 years ago. Members of the  Boyle family were in attendance having been invited by the commune of Illiers. Parading through the town to the local French memorial for a remembrance service pause was also given to play a lament in the substantial German Cemetery in the town.

Moving on band members stopped in Bois-Grenier to lay a memorial cross at the marker for Gunner William Dickie of West Kilbride at the request of his niece. The cross was laid by 3 of the band members who hail from that village and who quite literally stay within yards of the house where Gunner Dickies parents lived.

In the evening the Band had been invited to play in Armentieres and indeed in the recreated Estaminet home of the  Madamoiselle so famously celebrated in the eponymous song ! A new beer specially brewed as part of the commemorative events helped proceedings along and an atmosphere was created which might not have been unfamiliar 100 years ago with music, song and indeed a bit of dancing.

On Sunday  the Band  made a  return  to Tyne Cot Memorial at the request of the younger members who had not previously visited there in 2007. The bands signature tune 'The Road To Passchendaelle ' resonates as you approach from Zonnebeke, as you walk among the memorials and as you contemplate the utter  carnage  of 100 years ago.

In the evening the band again took part in the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate. Marching up to the Gate with a selection of 1914 -18 favourites the public responded singing along with Dolly Gray, Tipperary, pack up your troubles and keep the home fires burning. Ceremony ended they marched off to Heilan Laddie and The Black Bear. 

On our trip we were accompanied by our friends from branches in SAS&L, and Fort Augustus branches. We are also greatly indebted for the help and assistance of John Sutherland in Passchendaelle  Branch whose local knowledge made everything so much easier.

Truly a memorable and affecting weekend

 

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