Our visit to the Ulster Memorial Tower at Thiepval came just after a group from Campbell College in Belfast. We met the CCF Pipe Band as they were tuning up at the nearby Thiepval Memorial and we were just leaving, but it was nice to hear them playing.
The Campbell College group laid their wreath at the same time as a group from the Orange Order in Scotland, who we met the following evening at the Menin Gate Last Post ceremony in Ieper.
Unfortunately we were a day too early for the Campbell College pipe band’s performance at the Last Post ceremony. We also missed them at Tyne Cot cemetery where some of their pipers paid tribute to the Royal Irish Fusiliers whose names are inscribed on the huge memorial as their bodies were never identified and they have no known graves.
The name on the bottom right of this panel is Private Hugh Dalzell of the 9th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers. Two years ago during the Passchendaele 100 commemoration I stood at this spot and read out his name as part of the live television broadcast by the BBC. We will remember them.
It was interesting to see a plaque the following day at St George’s Anglican Church in Ieper that commemorates all the past pupils of Campbell College who died in WWI and who the pipe band were remembering on their visit, organised by Anglia Tours.
We met some of the Campbell College group again on our fourth day when we went to Tyne Cot. They were visiting Poperinge where the Toc-H house founded by Reverend Talbot is situated. (There will be a separate story on that later).
The visit by the pipe band with some of their pictures (which they have kindly given me permission to use) featured in the News Letter. There is also an interesting website with the stories of the Old Campbellians and their part in WWI. They include a former Irish rugby international, Captain Alfred Taylor from Windsor Avenue North, off the Malone Road in South Belfast.
Their photos and stories have been turned into an exhibition ‘The Men Behind the Glass” currently on display in the PRONI, Belfast.