By SI James Hutton, Bury Detachment, No 1 (Minden) Company
Almost 100 members of No. 1 (Minden) Company came together to take part in the annual Gallipoli Commemoration. Every year the people of Bury and the surrounding area reflect on the sacrifice and heroism of the men who took part in the Gallipoli Campaign of 1915. Sadly, the pandemic has put a block on this for the last two years, so this was an opportunity for the Cadets and Staff to pay their respects by taking part in the parade.
Staff started arriving at the Castle Armoury from 07:30 – testament to their commitment they give to the Cadet Forces. Cadets began forming up from 08:30. Paperwork completed, and it was time to ensure that uniform, boots and the all-important head dress and hackle were exemplary.
Staff as well as Cadet NCOs were eagerly assisting the junior cadets. Making sure that their kit would be impeccable and would pass muster when being inspected by Brigadier Swift the Colonel of the Regiment – a great honour for all of them.
Over 80 cadets were “sized off” and then split into No. 1 and No. 2 Guards. Staff were then allocated to each group. Other staff were available for first aid and welfare duties.
With any large parade, there is a lot of work that goes on “behind the scenes.” It is not always apparent but even though there seems to be a lot of waiting around it takes a lot of time to get the various units, associations, and members of the civic party into place so that the parade will go smoothly.
Brigadier Swift presented several awards, most notably to Col. Eric Davidson who has been the driving force behind all the parades in Bury. Sadly, Col. Eric is very poorly but was present to be informed that the main display area in the Fusilier Museum would be called “The Col. Eric Davidson Gallery.” This will be a fitting tribute to a true servant of Bury and the Fusilier Family.
Before the parade set off, there was the traditional “Gallipoli Exhortation” detailing the acts of valour during the Lancashire Landings and the famous “Six VCs before breakfast”. The commander-in-Chief, General Sir Ian Hamilton said: "It is my firm conviction that no finer feat of arms has ever been achieved by the British soldier - or any other soldier - than the storming of these beaches from open boats on the morning of 25th April."
Led by the Greater Manchester Army Cadet Force Corps of Drums the No 1 (Minden) Company marched out to the Church of St. Mary the Virgin – the Fusilier’s Regimental Church. After the service, both Guards formed up and marched through the streets of Bury, past the town hall and to take parade past the assembled dignitaries outside the Fusilier Museum. The salute was taken by Brigadier Swift as well as Bury’s first citizen – Councillor Tim Pickstone the Mayor of Bury and the Mayors of Heywood and Rochdale.
After marching back to the Castle Armoury the cadets were dismissed and they were treated to a warm meal generously provided by the 5th Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (5RRF). No 1 (Minden) Company is indebted to them for their generosity. Cadets and their families were encouraged to meet and chat with other members of the Parade before leaving for home.