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Band Pays Tribute To World War I Soldiers

Posted by on Apr 30, 2015 | No Comments

The Durham Miners’ Association Brass Band has recently returned from an Easter tour of France and Belgium in which they took part in a commemoration service for soldiers who died in World War I.

The band performed at the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium where a daily act of homage is carried out by the Last Post Association in memory of the British soldiers who died in the fighting at Ypres during the First World War. During the ceremony the band played ‘I’ll Walk with God’ and the miners’ hymn ‘Gresford’. Band Secretary Dick Quin laid a wreath, as did Dave Hopper, General Secretary of the Durham Miners’ Association.

While on tour, the band stayed in the town of Albert in northern France, where they performed a concert in the town’s famous Basilica of Notre-Dame de Brebières. The Basilica, which is well-known for its golden statue of Mary and the infant Jesus, was destroyed by shelling in the First World War and was completely rebuilt afterwards.

The band also performed a joint concert in Glisy, near Amiens, with the local Longueau Wind Orchestra, who have previously attended the Durham Miners’ Gala. The Durham Miners’ Association Area Banner was displayed at all of the band’s performances.

In addition to their musical performances the band visited the Tynecot cemetery, which is the largest Commonwealth War Graves cemetery in the world, and the Thiepval Memorial to more than 70,000 missing soldiers whose bodies have never been identified.

Dick Quin, who this year celebrates 40 years as secretary, said, “We were really honoured to perform at the Menin Gate during the centenary of World War I. Many men from the Durham coalfields joined up to serve their country with little idea of the horror they would face. I am proud that we have been able to bring the band here to make our own contribution to the remembrance of those who never returned home.”

The band is grateful for continued support from the Durham Miners’ Association. It also thanks Durham County Council’s International Office for coordinating the trip and the County Durham Community Fund for a grant to purchase new jackets and music stands.