image83

The Silent Anzac

In November 2018 the Footscray-Yarraville City Band embarked on a tour to Europe to commemorate the Centenary of Armistice of WW1. With us went the bands WW1 bass drum and the poppies made by local school children. This page shows some of the highlights of that tour.

WW1 Bass DRUM

Over a century ago this bass drum embarked with thousands of Australian soldiers on a journey to the other side of the world to fight in the  Great War. Out of the heroism and sacrifice of those Australians so far from home the Anzac legend was born. Those men and women have long since passed and now it is the poppies, made by Victorian school children, heirs to the Anzac legend, that make the pilgrimage to those distant lands where the fallen lie, the drum once again bearing silent witness.

image84

Paris

On arrival in France the band first paid a visit to the Australian Embassy in Paris where we performed for a number of Australian and French officials. We also took the opportunity to put the school childrens' poppies on display. A reception with the guests was held after the concert.

Ambassador to UNESCO and Deputy Head of Mission to France, Angus McKenzie with Musical Director Phil

Deputy Head of Mission to France Angus McKenzie with Musical Director Phillipa Edwards and Project Director Colin Harrison holding some of the poppies made by Victorian school children for the Centenary of Armistice commemorations.

image85

The band performing at the embassy to an audience of French and Australian officials.

image86

Villers Bretonneux

The band traveled to the Australian National Memorial near Villers Bretonneux, France, to perform a commemoration ceremony for our service men and women and to lay the wreaths and poppies from our local communities and school children.

image87
image88

Menin Gate

The band traveled to Iepers (Ypres) Belgium to participate in the nightly ceremony at the Menin Gate to commemorate the fallen. The Menin Gate is inscribed with the names of 55,000 soldiers with no known grave, 6000 of those names are Australian.

image89

matron jean miles walker

The band traveled to Sutton Veny, near Salibury Plain, where the townsfolk of Sutton Veny turned out to greet us and hear us play. The reason for the visit was to return to the place where the bass drum saw service and to pay tribute to Matron Jean Miles Walker. Jean served throughout the war but died on 30 Oct 1918.

St Johns Church, Sutton Veny, 12/11/2018

St Johns Church, Sutton Veny, 12/11/2018

St Johns Church, Sutton Veny, 12/11/2018

Members of the band and the Sutton Veny community prepare for a service for Jean Miles-Walker.

Members of the band and the Sutton Veny community prepare for a service at the grave of Jean Miles Walker at the St Johns Church, Sutton Veny, 12 November 2018.

St Johns Church, Sutton Veny, 3/11/1918

St Johns Church, Sutton Veny, 12/11/2018

St Johns Church, Sutton Veny, 12/11/2018

image90

Matron Jean Miles Walker was buried with full military honors at Sutton Veny on 3rd November 1918. The coffin was borne to the graveside on a gun carriage preceded by a firing party and the band from the 1st Australian Training Battalion. It is believed that our bass drum was part of that band.

image91

The drum, which we believe attended her funeral in November 1918 as part of the band of the 1st Training Battalion, returns one hundred years later for the memorial service.

image92

 The grave yard at St Johns Church, Sutton Veny containing 167 graves, 143 of them are Australian.