Cadet Band Performs in VE Day Tattoo
YJA’s Senior Editor, Bill Thompson has for the last five years helped promote the Lincolnshire Army Cadet Force. Earlier this month, he accompanied the cadet band to Belgium to report on a very special event.
On May 6th, the combined Band of Lincolnshire ACF and Derbyshire ACF participated in the 2017 VE Day International Tattoo in Roeselare, Belgium. This very popular event, now in its fifteenth year, is hosted by KH The Gildemusic.
Local musicians were joined by Da Capo Lisse from the Netherlands, The Medina Marching Band from the Isle of Wight and the combined ACF bands of Lincolnshire and Derbyshire, to provide over four hours of music performed in the main square and surrounding streets of Roeselare.
Before joining together to mark the end of the tattoo, each marching band took turns to occupy the square and entertain a very appreciative crowd. Here are two stirring tunes played at the tattoo by the Lincolnshire & Derbyshire band:
The town band’s Drum Major, Dirk Brabant, started the event in 1992 and has always looked for new bands to add to its popularity. He discovered the Lincolnshire and Derbyshire ACF bands on YouTube and was keen to have them involved in this year’s tattoo, or taptoe as it’s known locally. His invitation was readily accepted!
Dirk (pictured) explained, “Roeselare was liberated in September 1944 by the Polish 1st Armoured Division and, for the 15th time, we celebrate that part of our history with this very popular musical event. In recent times, the occasion has had a strong British military flavour, hence our invitation to the ACF.”
As cadets from the two bands needed to set off early Friday morning many had to seek permission to have a day off from school.
Cdt Sgt James Loveday: “The highlight of my trip was when we did the finale as we were able to perform with bands from Europe for this is something we never normally get to experience. As we marched through the streets of the town we knew we were representing our country’s Army Cadets and this made me feel very proud.”
Cdt LCpl Kira Roberts: “I have really enjoyed being part of this year’s VE Day tattoo. The highlight of my trip has to be the opportunity to share the stage with some wonderful players.
“I now have some really close friends within the bands. Enjoying the Belgium experience with these incredible people has been one of the best adventures of my life.”
For Cadet Sergeant Charlotte Towers, from the Lincolnshire band detachment, it was a particularly poignant time, as she is rapidly approaching her 18th birthday which signals the end of her cadet career. She commented, “Being here in Belgium with the band has been very special to me as it’s my final parade as a cadet. I have really enjoyed playing music with bands from all over Europe. It really shows that music is a universal language.”
After their performance, cadets and adults attended the Last Post ceremony at Menin Gate, Ypres, where every evening buglers honour the memory of WW1 soldiers of the former British Empire and its allies, who died in the Ypres Salient.
Before their journey home, early on Sunday morning, the Last Post was performed by band members at Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery- the site of the 3rd battle for Ypres, better known as Passchendaele.