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16 October 2014
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Bellanaleck Pipe Band fly to London

Marion Maxwell recalls the excitement when the Fermanagh bandsmen journeyed to Trafalgar Square in 1960

three members of the Bellanaleck Pipe Band

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Since at least before the first world war, the orange lodge in Bellanaleck supported a flute band. Then, in 1949, it was decided to make the transition to the bagpipes. After some years, the band progressed to having a uniform of full highland dress and, trained by pipe major George Stewart of Enniskillen, they reached - what was for those days - a creditable standard.

Picture of Tommy Shields in tropical kit taken in the Red Sea just before war was declared in 1939


Bellanaleck Pipe Band lead an orange parade in 1961

Bellanaleck Pipe Band

 

A high point was reached when the bandsmen, most of them farmers, were invited to travel to London to lead the House of Commons Orange Lodge in their annual parade to St Martin-in-the- Fields in Trafalgar Square

The trip came about because Bellananleck's Worshipfull Master George Cathcart was active in the Ulster Farmers' Union and, while on a trip to London, had met his counterpart in the House of Commons Lodge, Noble Graham from Fivemiletown.

Making the trip would involve overcoming many obstacles, not least the great expense entailed, but it was decided that all members, regardless of circumstances, should have the chance to go.

None of them had flown before and most didn't posses a television and so had little prior visual impression of London.

 

Albert Crozier was nonplussed when the air hostess offered him coffee......having never tasted it, how would he know whether he preferred black or white .??

 

Listen to Marion Maxwell's account of the history of the band and the details surrounding their trip to London.

 


Picture of Tommy Shields in tropical kit taken in the Red Sea just before war was declared in 1939


Bellanaleck Pipe Band playing in London, Sunday, June 19th, 1960

Bellanaleck Pipe Band

 

To observe the Queen's cows grazing at Windsor castle was grand..but the most amazing moment was spotting Paddy Brazil from Enniskillen wheeling a barrow along the street....and it the Sabbath !

 

YOUR RESPONSES

Albert Crozier - August '05
This is the Albert CROZIER featured. I remember well the Steward on the Plane arriving at my seat with a tea pot in each hand and saying "black or white" to me. I hadn't a clue what he was talking about. I dont remember what i replied but he poured something into my cup and it tasted awful. I learned later it was coffee, I still dont like the stuff. At that time there was no coffee available where we lived except "camp" which was for cooking. I'm the one on the left of the first photo with my father and brother norman. That was a wonderful trip, left at 4am Sunday home 4am Monday.

Stanley Sloan, Ex. Belfast - July '05
Brilliant story, I love the pipe bands and the lodge behind. Seems a long time ago and it is, my family left belfast Nov. 1958 for California and to this day I still follow the Ulster and Scottish bands.

E. Cranston - July '05
I thought that this was a most interesting story with a very human touch, of course my ears always prick up at the sound of the pipes. I live in Co-Down and once on holiday in Fermanagh around the twelfth was delighted to see so many pipe bands as there are not quite so many in our part of the province now. I do hope that they continue to succeed and others will be re-established.

Penny McBride - July '05
A brilliant story. All that hard work rewarded with a march up Pall Mall. They must have felt so proud. I am not a supporter of Orangemen but this was a lovely story.

 

 

 

 


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