Trench Memorial Flute Band

On 22nd March 1919 a group of young men in Limavady held a meeting which was well attended, to consider setting up a memorial flute band, with the suggested name of the Trench Memorial Band in honour of the brave local lads who made the supreme sacrifice in the Great War, and also to honour Frederick Charles Bloomfield Trench their former Commanding Officer and Mrs Trench of Greystone Hall, who, for over four years worked so energetically on behalf of all the local soldiers in the way of raising funds to provide comforts in connection with the local Prisoners of War Fund.  Many of the discharged soldiers and others, considered this a fitting way of recognising the valuable services both so willingly rendered. The meeting unanimously decided to organise the band and elected Mr James Callaghan Bandmaster, Mr. H. Patman Secretary, Mr J. Thompson Treasurer, with the following to constitute the committee of management: Messrs. James Mullin, John Martin, A. Elder, R. Elder, Joseph Doherty and Wm. Smith.

On Monday 21st April 1919 the band held a social entertainment evening in Limavady Orange Hall for the purpose of raising funds to purchase equipment for the band.

Instruments were purchased at a cost of £60 and the band began to practice under the conductorship of James Callaghan who was also the band’s piccolo player.

CATHERINE ANNE SWETENHAM TRENCH (nee LECKY) 1877 – 1951  

Born in 1877, Catherine Anne Swetenham Lecky was the daughter of Sir Thomas Lecky of Foyle Hill, Londonderry and Greystone Hall Limavady who had been the Mayor of Londonderry 1886/87.  On 29th July 1905 she married Frederick Charles Bloomfield Trench.

Trench and his wife were to live at Greystone Hall, Limavady.

Frederick Charles Bloomfield Trench would go missing, killed in action during the first day of the Battle of the Somme on the 1st July 1916.  (see details below)

As aforementioned Catherine Anne Swetenham Trench started a fund for the dependents of soldiers and another for Prisoners of War.  During this time she sought information as to whether her husband was dead or taken prisoner. After the War she was involved with the Soldiers Pensions Committee.

To honour Mrs Trench who had worked so hard to raise funds to support local soldiers with the local Prisoners of War Fund she would, in 1920 be invested as a Member Order of the British Empire (M.B.E.) for her services. Significantly, Mrs Trench was the first woman to be awarded in this way; women and civilians were not eligible before the war.

On  27th January 1926 Catherine married the Rev James Godfrey MacManaway the local Church of Ireland minister.

 FREDERICK CHARLES BLOOMFIELD TRENCH 1878 – 1916

Frederick Charles Bloomfield Trench, born in Portarlington, King’s County (now County Laois), was first commissioned into the Londonderry Artillery in 1899. During the Home Rule Crisis, Captain Trench with J. C. B. Proctor, helped form the Limavady Ulster Volunteer Force.

Trench was also a member of LOL 254 Limavady.

At the outbreak of World War One, Trench was commissioned as Captain into the 10th Service Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (Derry volunteers), becoming Major early 1915.

In the early hours of the 12th October 1915 he was reported drunk.  He was in the Officer’s Mess and attempted to order drinks after the Mess had closed.  He ordered a 2nd Lieutenant Taylor to turn out four horses, but Taylor refused to obey the order due to Trench’s inebriated state.  As a result of this conduct G. H. Rowell, Commanding Officer 15th Reserve Infantry Brigade, Ulster Division applied for Trench to be tried by General Court Martial.

Trench who was under open arrest awaiting sentence of the General Court Martial held on 11/12th November broke his arrest and quit barracks between the hours of 6.30 and 8.20pm.

There is a general belief that there was animosity between Trench and his Commanding Officer and that Trench was scapegoated as a result of this.

After quitting barracks in Newtownards, Frederick Charles Bloomfield Trench disappeared.

It was later discovered that a Lance Corporal Charles Bloomfield from Tipperary who had lost his life at Gommecourt  Wood on the first day of the Battle of the Somme was actually Trench.

Unfortunately due to ongoing fire by the German forces Trench’s body was never recovered.

His name is inscribed into the Thiepval Memorial, France.  Pier 9C, Face 13C.  Trench was also remembered in the 10th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers report on the Schwaben Redoubt.

He did what was incredible for a man of his rank and upbringing, he sacrificed everything, his rank, his comforts,  his money and his life.

TRENCH MEMORIAL FLUTE BAND

As aforementioned, the band was formed under the conductorship of James Callaghan and it gets a mention in the Coleraine Chronicle at the formal opening of Limavady Recreation Club as follows, ‘no outdoor function is complete without music, and the Trench Memorial Band, a new organisation of promise, was in attendance and during the afternoon discoursed a capital programme’.

Further mention is made of the band parading on Armistice Day 1920 playing patriotic airs through the streets.

The Ballymoney Free Press and Northern Counties Advertiser – Thursday 16 March 1922 contained the following article, relating to the opening of Limavady War Memorial, “a large crowd assembled and were entertained by the splendid band of the 1st Dorset Regiment.  The local Trench Memorial Band paraded the town playing selections”.

In 1932 James Callaghan won a medal for piccolo playing at contest in Londonderry and, ironically, 70 years later band member 14 year old David Miller would achieve  a similar feat, on 4th May 2002, winning the ‘John Gilmour Memorial Cup’ as best piccolo player at the Scottish Amateur Flute Band Association contest in Troon Concert Hall.

On 5th May 1937 the band obtained new instruments which were presented by Mrs McManaway (Trench) at Limavady Orange Hall.  On 15th September of the same year the band obtained new uniforms and paraded for the first time wearing these on 23 September.  

The band continued to meet and attend various parades and  community functions being noted for their music and deportment while on parade.

This continued up until the outbreak of World War 2 when a number of members answered their country’s call and enlisted in the armed services.

During the 2nd World War the band of the Royal Air Force, while stationed for a time at nearby Aghanloo Airfield, borrowed drums from the Trench Memorial Flute Band.

At the end of the 2nd World War the band reformed, with James Callaghan continuing in the position of conductor.  He remained in this position until his retirement in 1958.

Thomas (Tommy) Elder was appointed conductor.  He had been a member for a number of years and was himself a very talented musician.  Tommy for the 2 years preceding this appointment had been responsible for the tuition of new members.

During this time the band went from strength to strength and as well as parading locally attended the Scottish ’12 July’ parades on 3 occasions.  Tommy remained in this position up until his retirement in 1990, having been a member of the band for over 60 years.  During that time he taught many young people in the Limavady area the basic rudiments of the flute.

Mervyn McAllister was appointed conductor.  Again he had been a member of the band for a number of years.  He continues in that position until the present day and continues to ensure the band maintains the standards of musicianship upheld by his predecessors.

Throughout the life of the band there has been a keen family tradition with fathers, sons, daughters, grandsons and grand-daughters all members.

Young members have been encouraged to obtain music qualifications and a number currently hold Grade 8 flute.

Since formation the band have been engaged to lead ‘Loyal Order’ parades and have a strong affiliation with Loyal Orange Lodge 255 and Royal Black Preceptory 97 leading them at their respective 12th July and ‘Last Saturday’ parades.

The band leads the local Royal British Legion at the annual Armistice parade and also participates in their concerts.

The Boys Brigade and Girls Brigade have also engaged the band on numerous occasions to lead their annual church parades.

On Sunday 23rd June 2019 a service to celebrate the band’s centenary was held was held in Drumachose Parish Church (Christchurch), Limavady.  The service was conducted by the Rev. Canon Sam McVeigh.  A bible reading was read by band member Richard Pollock and music was provided during the Offering by band members Gemma Irwin (piano) and David Miller (flute).  A vote of thanks was proposed by the band Chairman Wilson Kennedy.

At the end of the church service the band formed up and marched to the grave of C.A.S. MacManaway, (Mrs Trench), in the adjoining graveyard, where a wreath was laid by Drum Major Lester Martin.  

Hereunder are some of the band members who served with the 10th Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Herbert  Patman 15952 Lance Corporal

Joined the 10th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in September 1914 along with other members of the 2nd (Roe Valley) Battalion North Londonderry Regiment Ulster Volunteer Force.  He went to France in October 1915.

L/Cpl Patman was wounded, gunshot to the right arm, on 1st July 1916 near Thiepval.  He was discharged in February 1917 due to his wound.

Herbert Patman became involved with the ex-service organisations which started just before the war ended in 1918.  He was a founder member of the National Federation of Discharged and Disabled Soldiers and Sailors.  This organisation in turn amalgamated with others to form the British Legion.

He was to the first Secretary of the Trench Memorial Flute Band.

Aaron Elder 15502 Lance Corporal

Joined the 10th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in September 1914 along with other members of the 2nd (Roe Valley) Battalion North Londonderry Regiment Ulster Volunteer Force.  He went to France in October 1915.

He was wounded on 1st July 1916 while attacking German lines near Thiepval.

He returned to duty and was captured on 21st March 1918 near St. Quentin, while serving in the 2nd Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. 

Aaron returned to Limavady in January 1919.

Robert Elder 15504 Private

Joined the 10th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in September 1914 along with other members of the 2nd (Roe Valley) Battalion North Londonderry Regiment Ulster Volunteer Force.  He went to France in October 1915.

Robert was captured on 21st March 1918 while serving with the 2nd Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. 

Like his brother Aaron he returned to Limavady in January 1919.

Samuel Perry Elder 15505 Lance Corporal

Joined the 10th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in September 1914 along with other members of the 2nd (Roe Valley) Battalion North Londonderry Regiment Ulster Volunteer Force.  He went to France in October 1915.

Perry was wounded on 1st July 1916.  He returned to duty and was wounded again in October 1918 while serving in the 2nd Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Perry was dicharged in April 1919.

He would become the bass drummer in the Trench Memorial Flute Band.

One of the original rope tension drums belong to the Trench Memorial Flute Band now in The Fifers Cave Collection.

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