Déjà Vu All Over Again

Detling Military Odyssey 2015


Scribe Mike Boxall

Déjà Vu All Over Again


The Cinque Ports Corps of Drums at Military Odyssey, 2015


In the words of legendary baseball player L. P. ‘Yogi’ Berra, August Bank Holiday Monday 2015 was ‘like déjà vu all over again’. It had rained throughout our visit in 2014 and it rained throughout this year too.


Ensconced in our usual place at the rear of the accommodation hall, we fluters kitted up as the drummers practised their drum beating routine. When they’d ‘minstrel turned’ to the Drum Major’s satisfaction we formed up as a Corps and ran through the bugling sequence for Westminster, initially not entirely to the Drum Major’s satisfaction.


With Westminster finally sorted it was time to march the members of The Queen's (Royal West Surrey) Regiment Re-enactment Society and The Diehard Company of the Victorian Military Society round the camp to their display in the central arena. Despite the persistent drizzle, this was a nice chance to play our old favourites like Galanthia and The Adjutant on the march.


The re-enactors safely delivered to their display, we halted and fell out beside the scene of last year’s performances – the bar! Stepping damply inside we formed up around the three sides of the small dance floor again to play a set of our standard marches and retreats. This done it was time for lunch. Thankfully we were in the perfect location to make it a liquid one.


After lunch, with the rain still a constant feature, we cleared some of the bar tables and their startled occupants aside to make room for our marching display. Although a little cramped, we managed our ‘bomb bursts’, ‘inward and outward by twos’ and ‘going round in circles’ evolutions without knocking over any drinkers. The drummers deployed their ‘minstrel turns’ to great effect during their beating routine too.


Perhaps because Detling is a central location within our area or because people are available on Bank Holiday Monday, this is one of our more fully-attended bookings. With a strong front rank of side-drummers and a bass drummer, cymbalist and tenor drummer, our drums section was out in force. With eight Bb flutes, two F flutes and a piccolo the flute section, featuring three former Drum Majors in the rear rank, was nothing less than formidable.


This had been our third appearance at Military Odyssey, the world's largest multi-period re-enactment show, and so far the score is Corps of Drums 1 – Rain 2. Perhaps next year the sun will make a surprise appearance at the end of August and we’ll be able to show the massed re-enactors what British Army style Corps of Drums music and drill is all about. In the words of another ‘Yogi’ Berra saying: ‘It ain’t over ‘til it’s over’!


Mike Boxall