The Roubaix Drum

Contributed by Suffolk Regiment Museum

Drum abandoned by The Suffolk Regiment before Dunkirk but retrieved after D-Day .  © Suffolk Regiment Museum Trustees.

During the retreat to Dunkirk in May 1940, British forces had to abandon all their surplus equipment. Rather than destroy them, the 1st Battalion The Suffolk Regiment left its Drums at Roubaix, with a note saying ''To be called for later'. The Drums were hidden in a hat factory and in local people's homes during the German occupation. After returning to Normandy on D-Day the Battalion enquired after the Drums and three were returned to them - in perfect condition, although one was later destroyed by enemy action. The two remaining Drums were played at the Battalion's first ceremonial parade after D-Day. After the war the Drums passed into general use and were eventually replaced. However in 2004 one of them appeared on eBay: the Suffolk Regiment Museum was able to buy it and so preserve an iconic piece of the Regiment's history.

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