The band of 1084 (Market Harborough) Squadron ATC returned to Ypres (Belgium) over the weekend of March 12 to 15 and the 32 cadets played on four occasions during their visit.
On Friday evening they performed a ‘Sunset Ceremony’ outside Talbot House in Poperinge before driving to Ypres where they attended the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate. Here they played for the large crowd before the start of the ceremony and again whilst wreaths were laid. Flight Sergeant Conor Monk laid a wreath on behalf of the Squadron.
On Sunday the trumpeters played Last Post and a wreath was laid at Tynecot Cemetery, the largest Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in the World. After lunch the band played in a 3-hour Carnival extravaganza through the streets of Poperinge.
When the band was not playing the cadets visited 1st War battlefields, bunkers, trenches and cemeteries in the Ypres Salient and at Arras where they paid their respects at the Flying Memorial to the Missing. Earlier the cadets had visited Annoeullin where they visited the grave of Captain Ball VC the Nottingham WW1 Flying ace.
One cadet said “I was shocked as to how so many people could die like that and the number of graves of unknown soldiers’
Flight Lieutenant Valerie Smith, CO of the squadron commented. “This was our 14th visit and each one has been different. The educational and social aspects of these visits help the cadets enormously. I was very proud of the way the band performed particularly at the Menin Gate”