First World War the
Hamilton Band is reported to have joined "to a man" the
10th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and became the
regimental Band of 'The Derrys'. They served in many battle
zones, but the Battle of the Somme stands out as the most
memorable and famous.
Before going to France the 10th Battalion trained at Finner Camp, Co Donegal, and their first Commanding Officer was Lieutenant Colonel Ross A Smyth. The 10th Battalion was made up of men from both the City and County of Londonderry. 'A' and 'B' Companies consisted mainly of 'Derry City men'. 'C' Company were from Coleraine, Limavady and other County Districts. 'D' Company was formed from all the smaller rural districts of Co Londonderry. The four original Company Commanders who had to 'lick' this raw, though excellent material into shape were:
'A' Company - Major Macrory
'B' Company - Major Waring Smyth
'C' Company - Major Trench
'D' Company - Captain Miller.
t came as no major surprise
that the 10th Battalion Band, pictured above, which was initially
the Hamilton Band, then drew more members from other districts,
and all veterans from the City and County will no doubt remember
the Battalion Band, which was so highly thought of during the
long route marches undertaken by the Battalion.
They played at route marches and Christmas Concerts and were indeed a credit to all with their stirring rendering of 'The British Grenadiers'. The Band still play this and it is included in a march entitled 'The Inniskillings' which was to become the official march past of the regiment. Few other civilian Bands can claim to have this close link with the armed forces and it was therefore only fitting that after the war, the Inniskillings presented the Hamilton Band with their Drums. The Bass Drum and a number of the side drums actually used during the First World War are now 'laid up' in the Chapter house of St. Columb's Cathedral, Londonderry.
Every year we organise a wreath laying ceremony and act of Remembrance on the 1st July at the War memorial in the Diamond, Londonderry to commemorate those who fought in and lost their lives in 'The Battle of the Somme'. In 1991, five members represented the Band at the 75th Anniversary held at the Somme in France.