Somme Memorial parade - 01/07/09

This is the biggest parade of the year in East Belfast that most people look forward to. The crowds are huge all around the route and are maybe 10 people deep. For many a year it has been the premier parade to remember the sacrifice made at the battle of the Somme over 90 years ago by the 36th Ulster Division. As they say the rest is history, that will never be forgotten.

Lodges book bands from all across the country months in advance and now a days its visiting lodges and bands from outside the district that swell the huge parade.

This year once again two floats, one being a historical reenactment of a UVF hospital and the other being a trench scene that lead the parade. Complete with sound effects of bombs and gunfire and smoke added to the first class scenes. Well done to the people behind it.

On a hot and sticky night for parading our fifty lodges and bands snaked our way around the route to the delight of the huge crowds. The parade was lead by the UVF Regimental band and had taken one hour to pass.

Below are a selection of photographs of the band in action.

Colour Party Colour Party Drum Corps
Drum Corps Flute Corps Flute Corps

A couple of bands tonight had new uniforms on show. Pride of Lagan Valley and Pride of the Shore looking good in the new suits. Alot of bands also made the conscious decision to wear shirts tonight, including ourselves. Bands i seen tonight, Shankill Star, Gertrude Star, Whiterock, Burnside SOU, Whitewell Defenders, South Belfast Young Conquerors, Pride of the Raven and Ballybean also looking well in their replica YCV Uniforms, good to see folks.

It was great to see the Blues and Royals with a few new members on parade. Albertbridge and Lord Carson along with the Parkinson giving the parade an great accordion presence. Hillview, Tullycarnnet and the Crimson star. The list is endless and the public watching tonight had a real great show of bands.

Here is clips of the band in action thanks to Gary G:
CLIP 1 - CLIP 2 - CLIP 3 - CLIP 4 - CLIP 5

Tonight my own band walked with 7 of a colour party, 18 drummers, 3 bass drummers, 34 flautists and marshalls. A great turnout and tonight i was glad we wore our white shirts on what was one of the hottest nights of the year. Our performance tonight was slow to start. I felt it took us a while to click but once we did it turned out to be a very good display overall.

Tonight was the first time we had been accompanied by the City of Belfast lodge and indeed i think we worked well together to ensure both the lodge and band had an enjoyable day. Thanks to them.

And so ended another 1st of July Battle of the Somme parade. It was indeed a good night for us as we were presented with the Willie Duncan memorial shield for the 4th year runninng for best Blood and Thunder band on parade. I hope everyone enjoyed themselves.

John Keenan
East Belfast Protestant Boys Flute Band Chairman