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Falkland Islands 2014

At the beginning of November 2014, The Band of The Royal Armoured Corps was divided, as nineteen members of the Band travelled to the Falkland Islands with personnel from The Band of The Prince of Wales’ Division in order to support local Remembrance commemorations. Photographs copyright 2014 Donald Betts.

The Band of The Royal Armoured Corps and The Band of The Prince of Wales’ Division met for the first time at RAF Brize Norton before departing on the long flight to the Falklands. Arriving at Mount Pleasant, the Band had a day to rehearse, get to know each other and prepare music for their upcoming engagements.

The second day began with a battlefield tour. Two 4-Tonne military personnel vehicles transported the Band visiting key locations within the assault on Goose Green where Colonel H. Jones VC and the 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment fought the Argentinean forces. Following this, the Band moved to Hillside Camp in Stanley the largest town in the Falklands.

The first engagement in Stanley was at a care home where a 10-piece brass ensemble formed from both Bands played in the lounge whilst other band members chatted with some of the residents and even had a dance.

Later that day the Band performed outside the town’s cathedral in front of the Whale Bone Memorial for locals and even some TV cameras. Despite the famous Falklands wind and cold, the Band played well and thankfully nobody lost any music.

Two brass quintets plus woodwind players visited schools in the area to play for pupils and give them a chance to hear what different instruments sound like. Each instrumentalist played a short melody with The Simpsons theme proving most popular among the children.

The town’s Poppy Ball, an annual charity event was accompanied by the Band’s brass ensemble whose music was greatly appreciated by the guests.

The Remembrance parade in Stanley which took place after a service in the town’s cathedral was the most important engagement for the Band whilst in the Falkland Islands. Numerous contingents including servicemen and women from all armed services were led by the Band as the parade marched along the sea front to Stanley’s military memorial. A short ceremony followed with prayers, wreaths were laid and Warrant Officer Class Two Simmonds the Band Sergeant Major of The Band of The Prince of Wales’ Division sounded Last Post and Reveille.

A trip to the Falklands would not have been complete without seeing some of the island’s famous penguins. The Band got the chance to visit Gypsy Cove, a natural hotspot for penguins and other wildlife including seals which some personnel also managed to see.

The Band returned to Mount Pleasant for a short evening’s performance in the Officers’ Mess and to catch the flight back to the UK. 

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