Minden reunion for KOSB regimental band
Former members of the band of the King's Own Scottish Borderers have big plans to mark the 25th anniversary of their final performance.
The regimental band disbanded in 1993.
Seven Scottish regimental bands were told they were being disbanded to form two bands that year and all performed at the Edinburgh Tattoo for the very last time.
But 35 members will pick up their instruments once again during the annual Minden Day Parade at Berwick Barracks over the weekend of July 26 to 29 – thanks to a number of KOSB band members re-connecting in 1995 and meeting every two years since.
Former lance corporal Bob Bolton, a clarinet player in the KOSB band who now lives in Coldstream, has been co-ordinating the reunion.
He said: “We all split up and went our separate ways, making new lives for ourselves in every corner of the UK and overseas.
“One of our most senior members, Ron Creasey, after a chance meeting with another ex-bandsman, thought a reunion would be a good idea.
“He organised the first reunion at Dreghorn Barracks in September 1995, as the regiment was stationed there.
“After that everyone agreed to hold a biennial reunion the last weekend in September.”
As the regiment had by then moved on, reunions were held in Berwick.
And they continued until 2011, when Ron handed over the reins.
Bob said: “I took over late 2013 and held my first reunion in 2014 when we gathered in Berwick and recorded a version of Hey Wee Maun in the Berwick Recording Studio, a charity recording which raised £200 for Macmillan.
“In 2016, some of our guys went fishing courtesy of Vince Davidson and Veterans Helping Veterans, while others took part in a golf competition.
“We had a buffet in The Brewers Arms on the Friday evening which raised more than £200 for Veterans Helping Veterans.
“And so to 2018 and our next reunion.
“As it is 25 years since the band was told it was being disbanded, I thought it would be special if we reformed for the Minden Parade.
“When I put it to the members on our Facebook group, I received an overwhelmingly positive response.
“I then got permission from the Regimental Association and set the wheels in motion.
“Myself and Mark Smith met with the Berwick Archives to sort the marches as all our music was donated to the Berwick Concert Band.
“Mark transcribed several marches for the parade; I found a piece written by another bandmaster entitled Minden Rose which we will play during the presentation of the roses along with Hey Wee Maun, arranged by Mark for Military Band.
“There are 35 band members and hopefully a few more will join us. We are all looking forward to this reunion as not only will we be able to reconnect with old comrades in the band, but with many friends in the battalion too.
“We will also remember the many friends who are no longer with us, in particular those we have lost since the last reunion.”
Bob joined the Army in 1974 as a 16-year-old and two years later graduated to the Royal Military School of Music at Kneller Hall, joining the KOSB band in 1977. He left in 1984 but still remembers, fondly, his time spent with the KOSB regimental band.
“Once I joined the KOSB in September 1977, I travelled extensively with the band all over the UK, then off to Kenya, Belize and the home of the 101st Airborne Division in America, which included a visit to the Grand Ole Opry,” he recalled.
Plans for this year’s reunion in July include fishing and golf, visiting the museum and assisting in the preparations for the parade on the Saturday.
“We will rehearse on the parade square on the Friday afternoon, followed by a buffet in the marquee,” added Bob.
“After the parade, we will have a meal at the Grill on The Hill, the only venue in Berwick which can accommodate the numbers.
“We expect several family members to attend, so numbers are expected to be 55 to 60 but there is always room for more.
“Any former KOSB band members or their families who would like to join us on parade, or to meet up during the reunion weekend, should contact me through the Facebook group, KOSB Regimental Band.”