Barnsley priest, Fr Paul Cartwright has spent the last three days in Ypres as a member of the West Yorkshire Police Band who were playing for Remembrance Day and to mark the 100th anniversary of WW1.
He is one of a number of people from our churches and church schools across the diocese who took part in a wide variety of ceremonies to mark this historic occasion, including Bishop James who helped schoolchildren plant trees in Harrogate and bellringers at All Saints, Silkstone who rang a muffled peal on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day.
Paul, parish priest at St Peter the Apostle & St John the Baptist, Barnsley, is a former police officer with the West Yorkshire Force and plays both the cornet and the flugel horn with the band, which went out on Sunday to spend three days in Ypres as part of an international gathering to mark the anniversary of WW1.
Said Fr Paul: “It is an absolute honour to be there this time to be part of this historic Remembrance Service to mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War."
They were joined by representatives from 10 different countries, visited several war cemeteries, playedat the Last Post ceremony at Menin Gate and the 1914 March which contains three songs "It’s a Long Way to Tipperary", "Hello, Who's your Lady Friend" and "Take me Back to Blighty"
You can watch them playing It’s a Long way to Tipperary here: http://youtu.be/ziuF0CxI_ZI
The West Yorkshire Police Band has played for the public for more than 100 years. It was originally formed as the Bradford City Police Band in 1899 before the Leeds City Police Band formed fifteen years later. In 1974 the Leeds and Bradford forces amalgamated to form part of The West Yorkshire Metropolitan Police and both bands merged at that time to become The West Yorkshire Police Band.
When it was first formed, the band was military in style, with woodwind, brass and percussion but 1984 saw a new ethos and the band was re-styled as a traditional Brass Band. It was originally only made up of serving police officers, but it now draws its members from the wider police family, retired police officers and members of the public.
The band took part in the 70th Anniversary at Pegasus Bridge a pivotal point in the landings at D-Day and appeared in concert at venues in the Normandy area. It has also been guests of the Last Post Association in Ypres, Belgium to perform at the Last Post Ceremony under the Menin Gate and in surrounding cemeteries and memorials including Tyne Cot and Theipval.