>>>>..The leading tip played the opening of Drummers’ Call with snare off, (not intentional!)
before all the side drummers came in and the Drum Major stepped us off to Galanthia.
It was once through Galanthia and a bit more, and, having negotiated the cobbled
street and managed to stay upright in our studded boots, we were through the Menin
The large crowd, gathered for the nightly ceremony of the sounding of the last post
at 2000 hrs, gave us a splendid reception. We were followed by the Isle of Cumbrae
Pipe Band and a military band, which I believe was the Belgian Fire Brigade band.
The Belgian Fire Brigade buglers played the Last Post, and then a bugler dressed
in the 1914-18 uniform of the Essex Regiment sounded the Rouse. Speeches were made,
wreaths laid and the Cumbrae Pipes and Drums played some more. Then it was our turn
to perform a shortened version of the Retreat Ceremony inside the Menin Gate. We
played The Risings, our Retreat March followed by The Risings again; finally we marched
off back to the town square to the 1914-18 Medley.
Our first gig over, it was time to dress down and enjoy the culinary delights and
beverages of the local restaurants. Returning to our billet later, some of us decided
to sample the local brew in the hostel bar. There we made our acquaintance with the
members of the Isle of Cumbrae Pipe Band who had brought along their Cambrian pipes,
a guitar and other Celtic instruments. The evening turned into a bit of a Ceilidh
– with the traditional resulting sore heads in the morning.
Reveille was at 0700 on Saturday morning. There was much muttering about “No hot
water in the showers”, but Room 2 didn’t have any problem. Must have been operator
error. Time for some swift kit cleaning to blow away the dust of the night before,
then off to get to breakfast for 0800 hrs. The hostel had laid on a splendid continental
breakfast with a fine selection of cereals, cold meats and rolls etc, and strong
coffee for those who needed it from the night before.
We were all back on the coach with our kit for 0900 hrs and off to the Chateau Zonnebeke,
the Passchendaele Museum, for the evening’s Tattoo rehearsals. It was only a short
journey and once there the Drum Major went off in search, yet again, for that elusive
Now, it being a Scottish weekend, it’s not surprising there were a number of Pipes
and Drums congregating in the grounds of the Chateau. Go to Page: Belgium part 3