MEMORIES of those who have lost their lives under the armed forces umbrella will come to the forefront in a powerful musical performance this weekend.
At the Mountbatten Festival of Music, held in the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal Marines Band Service will play an emotional tribute to those who lost their lives in both the D-Day assault and the Deal barracks bombings – as both events reach commemorative milestones.
This year marks 75 years since the D-Day landings, and 30 years since the Deal barracks bombings – where 11 members of the Royal Marines Band Service lost their lives in an IRA attack.
Musicians young and old are keen to honour the fallen with their performance this weekend – spending the whole of yesterday afternoon rehearsing their performance at the Pyramids Centre in Southsea.
For bugler Ashley Forshaw, 20 from Gosport, this will be his first performance in the Festival of Music.
He said: 'It is a bit nerve-wracking – it’s an event I’ve always wanted to perform at and now I’m going to fulfil that dream.
‘The rehearsals have been going really well and I can’t wait to get out there.
‘With it being the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the 30th of Deal, it’s a really important event.’
Meanwhile, for Colour Sergeant Graham Vaughan, 54, this year will be his last Mountbatten Festival of Music before retirement.
He says that he will look back on his time in the band service with fond memories.
‘There is a certain amount of sadness for me, because it’s a great feeling to perform’ he said.
‘I will certainly miss the people – they are some of the most amazing individuals I’ve ever met.
‘It’s a hectic lifestyle and much more than a simple 9-5 job, but I have enjoyed every bit of that life.’
The performance will include a mixture of traditional band music, musical numbers and pop songs – culminating in an emotional D-Day anniversary tribute.
Principal director of music, Lieutenant Colonel Jon Ridley, says that there has been a major focus on D-Day and the Deal bombing this year.
He said: 'I was still a young man in training when the Deal bombing happened, and it has always stuck with me – and the spirit of the band service will always be there.
‘Even in the rehearsals this week, it has been incredibly moving. To direct a piece commemorating the 30th anniversary has been very emotional for me.
‘But this is sure to be a great show, with variety on the menu including the world-famous Corps of Drums, film music, as well a classical features and traditional marches.
‘Commemorating 75 years since D-Day in our spectacular finale will undoubtedly be a highlight.’
The performance will be live streamed on YouTube this weekend – subscribe to the Royal Marines channel to tune in.