The Woodland Trust

Memorial Wood


Scribe Mike Boxall


Down In The Forest…


The Cinque Ports R.V. Corps of Drums at Langley Vale Wood


Down in the forest something stirred… was it a badger, was it a bird? No, it was the Cinque Ports Drummers assembling for the inauguration of a National Centenary Wood next to Epsom Racecourse. The Woodland Trust is creating four national centenary woods in memory of the millions of lives lost and affected by the First World War. At this inauguration, an invitation-only event for over 150 VIPs, HRH The Princess Royal was to officially name the wood.


No Royal event being really complete without a Corps of Drums, we’d been asked to add to the WW1 ambience provided by the 10th Essex Regiment Great War Living History Group. The group created vignettes of life on a First World War training camp including bayonet and gas training, though judging by the pile of logs beside their camp cooker, the first thing they’d done at the centenary wood was to chop down a tree. Hopefully that was an ordinary tree, not a centenary tree.


A little before 0900 we formed up in an open field beside the wood. Swelling the ranks of ex-Drum Majors in the Corps we welcomed Bb flute player Colin Fuller (formerly Drum Major, 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment) on his first engagement with us. So, in four files: six Side-Drummers, a Cymbalist, a Tenor Drummer, a Bass Drummer, six 1st Bb Flutes, one 2nd Bb Flute, two F Flutes and a Piccolo, we  stepped off down the field behind Drum Major Fairfax MBE.


Halting in front of the flag pole, our previously shiny boots now covered in dust, we played a selection of marches hopefully entertaining the VIPs until Princess Anne, slightly delayed, arrived. After a short introduction the Princess spoke, mentioning the part woods have played in her life and praising the work of The Woodland Trust.


When the Langley Vale Wood flag was to be raised we supplied our eight bars of Scipio on cue. Then, while The Princess circulated among the VIPs, we played our ‘review’ pieces. Around 10.30, The Princess Royal having departed, we also retired for a short break.




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At mid-day we re-formed and played while the VIPs returned from their excursions into the woods where they had seen re-enactments of horse logging and charcoal making. This spot was enlivened by the appearance of aircraft from the Great War Display Team. Several fly-pasts gave us great views of their Sopwith Triplane, BE2c and two SE5as.


When the Drum Major fell us out from this, our last session, we made our way up the field to a curry lunch prepared by The Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association. After a leisurely lunch we collected our souvenirs, blue and white Woodlands Trust mugs, before making our separate ways home. The splendid inauguration of the Woodland Trust’s Memorial Wood at Langley Vale had given us the opportunity to perform most of our ‘from memory’ repertoire. Now all that remains is to re-bull our boots!  


Mike Boxall


Some more photos @ 2015 Gallery

Music Lists

The Woodland Trust, Official naming of English WWI Centenary Wood, Epsom

By HRH The Princess Royal.

0915-0930 hrs - Music play list 1

1. - Medicine and Duty

2. - Prussia’s Glory

3. - Children’s Love

4. - The Adjutant

5. - Euterpe


0930-0945 hrs - Music play list 2  

1. - Trumpet Tunes

2. - The King of the Fairies

3. - The French March

4. - General Wolfe’s March


1010 hrs - Flag raising - Music play list 3



1020-1035 hrs - Music play list 4

1. - 1914-18

2. - The Londoner

3. - The Great Escape

4. - Soldiers Selection

5. - Retreat Marches

      (The Ash Grove, Flow Gently Sweet Afton, Mandora)


1200-1220 hrs - Music play list 5

1. - Galanthia

2. - Hazelmere

3. - A Welsh Medley

4. - Killaloe

5. - Sussex Medley