Parade of The Federation of OCAs of London Territorial and Auxiliary Units, 8th June 2014

 

Scribe Mike Boxall

Consolidating The Spirit Of Comradeship

Parade of The Federation of OCAs of London Territorial and Auxiliary Units, 8th June 2014

 

The Federation of Old Comrades Associations was founded in 1933 to consolidate the spirit of comradeship and uphold the regimental traditions of London’s Territorial and Auxiliary Units. An annual Parade and Service began in 1934, making this year the 80th parade.

 

Among many others, the Regimental Associations of The Finsbury Rifles, The Surrey Rifles, The London Scottish (formerly The London Scottish Rifles) and The London Irish Rifles are members of the Federation. Our invitation to provide the music for this year’s parade added to these ‘Rifle Volunteers’ connections.

 

The Band of the Honourable Artillery Company normally provides music for the parade but, having just returned from America, they were unable to take on this engagement. Consequently, the morning of the 8 June found us assembling at Armoury House. Thanks to Drummer Roger Davenport, who is also a member of the HAC Pikemen and Musketeers, we were able to kit up in the Pikemen and Musketeers’ room surrounded by their imposing suits of armour.

 

Another imposing suit on display was being worn by Drummer Neil Byrne, our Transport Officer for the day. We don’t usually see him ‘suited and booted’ but he did a splendid job of mini-bussing us all down to the parade start-point behind The Bank of England. Immediately transforming himself from Driver to Photographer, he then proceeded to record our day in the many pictures to be seen in the Gallery section.

 

 

  

 

    

 

When all the Federation members and Standard Bearers had assembled, we led off playing The Adjutant for the short march round to the London Regiments’ Memorial at Royal Exchange. Having all successfully negotiated the pavement step, we wheeled into position for the wreath laying.

 

After ‘enjoying’ the bagpipe lament through the laying of the wreaths, we marched the parade back to Armoury House. It being a fair step back we had a chance to run through some of our ‘march’ repertoire – 1914-18 Medley, Euterpe, The Londoner Medley. For the entry to Armoury House and march past the saluting base we played The British Grenadiers.  

 

  

 

    

 

 

As Major-General Bryan C Webster CB, CBE, a Korean War, Suez and Northern Ireland veteran, inspected the Standard Bearers and ranks of Federation members, we played from our ‘static’ repertoire. This included The King of the Fairies, Trumpet Tunes, The French March, Children’s Love, Killaloe and our ‘Soldiers Selection’ Kiss me Goodnight Sergeant Major and There’s Something About a Soldier.

 

After the parade had been dismissed we were able to chat with several Federation members who kindly commented on our music and enquired after our strange headgear. Then, for most of us, it was back in to the armour store to change and demolish the kindly provided sandwiches.

 

Meanwhile, Duty Buglers David Lear MBE and Graham ‘Jake’ Thackery fell in to sound Last Post and Reveille for the Federation Service. A subsequently received letter from the Federation thanking us for our participation particularly mentioned the Buglers – legends in their own lunchtime!

 

Having been blessed with a sunny day cooled by a light breeze, it had been a pleasure to take part in this parade and ‘consolidate the spirit of comradeship’ with the London OCAs.

 

Mike Boxall

More photos at 2014 Gallery

 

 

    

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