Firefighters' band in Ypres for Remembrance Day

As Remembrance Day approaches we will all stand still and have two minutes silence to remember those who have died in conflict.

As Remembrance Day approaches we will all stand still and have two minutes silence to remember those who have died in conflict.

This year Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Services' ceremonial band will be doing so in Ypres, Belgium.

Every year the ceremonial band is afforded the privilege of leading the parade through the town of Ypres and being the only fire and rescue service ceremonial unit in the world allowed to play the Last Post and Reveille.

However this year is particularly special as it is the 25th anniversary of the ceremonial unit visiting Ypres, for this special occasion.

Chief Fire Officer Lee Howell said: "Although I assumed command of Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service in January this year. I have been aware of the work of the DSFRS Ceremonial Unit and the high regard in which it is held nationally for many years.

"I am particularly proud of the commitment and dedication shown by all Ceremonial Unit members in facilitating arrangements again this year. Let us remember, either in person or from afar, those who gave their lives so that we may live and remain grateful for their dedication, bravery and honour."

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Joining Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service ceremonial unit are Deputy Chief Fire Officer Neil Gibbons, Chairman of the Fire Authority Bernard Hughes OBE and five other fire and rescue services ceremonial units- Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service Ceremonial Unit Pipe Band, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service Ceremonial Squad, Cornwall County Fire Brigade Colour Party, North Devon Pipe Band and the Band of West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service. The West Midlands Fire Service Ceremonial Unit, who formed earlier this year will be attending for the first time.

Mr Hughes said: "I go to support our ceremonial unit as their patron. It's such a worthwhile event as it's a way in which we can honour the millions of serviceman who gave their lives for our present day freedoms.

"We are always warmly welcomed by the people of Ypres and we play a prominent role in representing fire and rescue services from all over Britain and in the actual event itself."

The two-day Armistice Day commemorations at Ypres include a service of remembrance, an official parade with standards and bands, and a special Last Post ceremony at The Menin Gate Memorial. The commemorations have been held every year since 1928.

Drum Major Ian Washburn said: "This year we celebrate 25 years of attending this occasion and no matter how many times we are involved, the event is always full of emotion and I'm sure this year will be no exception. Although these ceremonies reflect the WW1 conflict, I'm sure some of you will have family or friends serving in the armed forces throughout the world and your thoughts will inevitably also be with them."

The band is currently looking for new members, particularly those who would have an interest in playing the side drum, flute or bagpipes. Members do not have to be serving or retired firefighters. Anyone who would like to learn to play or join the Band should contact Drum Major Ian Washburn on 07967 720528.