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8th Belfast HAA Regt. Band
John Simpson - Jimmy McKittrick -
? - ? - Bob Biggerstaff - Jimmy Beggs -
Sammy Olphert - Geo. Knowles
Belfast H.A.A. Regt. Band
Lennon, back row, 3rd from right
row) 1. ? 2. Bobby McQuiston 3. Jimmy McKittrick
4. ? 5. ? Biggerstaff 6. Ronnie Scott
7. Sammy Gowdy 8. Sidney Cowan 9. Bobby McCartney
middle top Bobby Morrison. middle centre ?
(back left) 1. Leonard Larkin? (standing left) 2. Sammy Larmour
3. Bobby Campbell 4. Lewis Houston 5. John Simpson 6.
Sammy Watson 7. Jim Lennon 8. Sammy Alphort?
9. Geordie Bulla 10. Bobby Johnstone (standing right)
click here for pictures
of Banner and Skins which are still in pretty good condition and were on
display at Fernhill Museum until recently (I'm photographing them at the
moment 16th August 2008)
||Pipers and all.
About 150 men were on parade, and proudest of all were the band of
15 pipers and drums who headed the contingent. Thirteen of the
pipers never blew a note until they went to India, and the pipes
they and their two "mentors" - Pipe Majors John Simpson
and Herbert McCullough - played were all brought in the Punjab.
"Those Indian reeds gave us a lot of trouble at first,"
Pipe Major Simpson told a "Northern Whig" reporter
afterwards, "but we mastered them and I think we're not bad
now." "Not bad" is just the Army way of putting it.
The tunes they played were "Bonnie Dundee," a great
favourite, "Bon Awee" (the phonetic spelling the band
gives to a French air they like) and the regimental march "The
O'Neill's War March,"
At the City Hall the music was taken up by the combined bands of the
Royal Ulster Rifles and the R.U.C., "who played the "ack-ackers"
by with the quick march of the Royal Artillery, "The British
Grenadiers." One of the tenor drums in the Burma band was
played by an old Rifles man, who also served with the Inniskillings
in the 36th (Ulster) Division in the 1914-1918 war. He is Gunner
George Armstrong, who was "demobed" three months ago, and
when he heard the band was to parade, came along to claim his old
job at the drums.
Mace-pole with a history
There is a lot of history attached to the mace-pole carried by the
drum-major. It is embellished with a series of Ulster "Red
Hands," was made by the boys themselves, and included among its
raw material a rice-bowl, the sleeve-arm of the cloth trailed by
aeroplanes at target practice; an inkwell top and a 20 mm
But none of this was known to the cheering crowds, who only knew
they were hearing a hometown band with a difference playing really
stirring music. Members of other Forces on parade - including a
R.?A.F. "kiltie" band who would have stolen the show any
other day - were not allowed past uncheered, but they knew it was
the Belfast Regiment's day. They wouldn't have wanted it any
its H.A.A. Regiment 19.9.45
Belfast acclaimed the men from Burma on Saturday
Denied the opportunity of seeing the 8th (Belfast)
Heavy H.A. Regiment, R.A., march ceremonially through the streets
when they arrived at the L.M.S. station two weeks ago, huge crowds
lined the route of the Thanksgiving Savings Week parade from May's
Market to the City Hall. They had one big purpose in mind. It was to
give the Belfast chaps with the bronzed faces and the "digger
hats" a real welcome, and cordons and wooden barriers could not
hold the crowds when the men swung into view from May's Market, led
by their Commanding Officer, Lieut-Colonel J. G. Cunningham, O.B.E.
Handshakes and pats on the back were showered on the marching
soldiers. All the way up Chichester Street it was a case of "cead
mile failte," and only the formality of the occasion at the
City Hall prevented a demonstration there.
8th Belfast HAA Regt. RA
Pipes and Drums
23rd Battery - Madras 1945
"The Twelfth" India 45 21st Hy.A.A. Battery Band,
8th (Belfast) H.A.A. Regt. R.A.
"The Twelfth" India 45, 22nd Hy.A.A. Battery R.A., 8th (Belfast) H.A.A.
"The Twelfth" India 45, 23rd Hy.A.A. Battery R.A.,
8th (Belfast) H.A.A. Regt. R.A.
8th Belfast HAA Regt. - Marching
Durban South Africa