Fianna Phadraig Commemorate WW1 Cententenary
The Fianna Phádraig Pipe Band is playing its part in Battle’s Over, an international commemoration
marking 100 years since the guns fell silent at the end of World War I.
Organised by Pageantmaster Bruno Peek LVO OBE OPR, Battle’s Over takes place on November 11 th
2018, with events throughout the United Kingdom, Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, and at scores of
locations overseas, including New Zealand, Ireland, Australia, Bermuda, France, Belgium, Canada,
the United States and Germany, to name but a few.
It begins at 6am with lone pipers and pipe bands playing Battle’s O’er, a traditional Scottish air
played after a battle, outside cathedrals in the country, following which a specially written tribute
will be read out. At the same time, over 1,000 pipers will be playing the tune in individual locations
within their local communities.
At 6.55pm buglers will sound the Last Post at more than 1,000 locations, where at 7pm beacons will
be lit in a tribute called Beacons of Light, signifying the light of peace that emerged from the
darkness of four years of war.
Then at 7.05pm over 1,000 church and cathedrals will ring their bells as part of Ringing Out for
Peace organised in association with the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers, which represents 65
societies of ringers from the British Isles and overseas. Also at 7.05, more than 140 town criers will
perform a specially written Cry for Peace Around the World, the first of them in New Zealand and
then across the globe through the various time zones.
The Fianna Phádraig Pipe Band is taking part in the following events:
Activity: Battle’s Over
Location: The Birtles, Wythenshawe Town Centre (Civic Centre)
Time: 6:00 am
At 9am they will parade along Burnage Lane in Levenshulme from the British Legion to St Margaret's Church in Burnage.
Peter O’Connor, of the Fianna Phádraig Pipe Band, said: “We are proud to be playing a part in this
historic international event to commemorate the centenary of the end of the Great War, and to
recognise the contribution and sacrifice made by the men and women from our own community.
The families of many of our band members lost loved ones, both Irish and English, at the Somme, in
Gallipoli and on battlefields all over the world. This year, the Fianna Phádraig Pipe Band has taken
part in 2 major events in France to commemorate the end of the Great War and celebrate Peace
Battle’s Over – A Nation’s Tribute has been devised and planned by Pageantmaster Bruno Peek. He
has organised major royal celebrations and international events for more than 36 years and has
been working on Battle’s Over for more than four years.
“It’s wonderful to see the event being embraced by so many organisations and communities in this
country and around the world. The centenary of the end of the Great War is an opportunity to
acknowledge the enormous sacrifice made the millions of men and women who died or were
wounded, as well as those who worked tirelessly at home in our fields and factories. It has been a
privilege to work on this project with the support of so many amazing organisations said Peek.”
Battle’s Over – A Nation's Tribute also features special tributes to two groups of unsung heroes –
The Chinese Labour Corps and the WW1 Tunnellers.
About 95,000 volunteers made up the Chinese Labour Corps, who dug trenches, repaired tanks, laid
roads and tracks, transported supplies and assembled shells to free up British soldiers for the front
line. Their work was a vital part of the war effort but is rarely acknowledged in the history of the
1914-18 conflict. The official guide to Battle’s Over dedicates a page to the work of the Chinese
labourers, most of whom were illiterate peasants.
Tai Wee Kuang, a Director of Hong Kong-based L Holding Limited, said: “It is hugely gratifying to see
the work of the Chinese labourers recognised in this way. They made a massive contribution to the
British war effort and I’m sorry to say that this has not always been recognised or appreciated, so am
delighted to support this unique commemoration and have the unique opportunity to pay tribute to
my fellow countrymen”
The work of the WW1 Tunnellers has been acknowledged in a Lamplight of Peace, commissioned by
Bruno Peek and lit at a special service at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior, Westminster Abbey,
London, on August 4 th 2018. It sheds light on a special breed of men who fought on the Western
Front, digging tunnels and laying explosives beneath the German trenches.
The Lamp is currently being kept alight by the events four official charities – Royal Naval Association,
ABF The Soldiers Charity, Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund and the Merchant Navy Association,
before being returned to the Grave of the Unknown Warrior, Westminster Abbey for 6am on 11 th
November where a lone piper from the Air Training Corps will play Battles Over.
The British Army had about 25,000 trained tunnelers, mostly volunteer coal miners, but they
operated in such secrecy that little was known of their exploits for years after the war.
The Lamplight of Peace includes a miners’ lamp from the period, a replica Victoria Cross, British and
German barbed wire, coal from a Yorkshire coal field, trench post fragments and soil sample from
the trenches, and ballast from the railway line where the WWI Armistice was signed.
More information on Battle’s Over can be found at www.brunopeek.co.uk/battles-over.
About the Fianna Phádraig Pipe Band
Founded in 1948, the Fianna Phádraig Pipe Band is the North West’s oldest Irish pipe band.
From the early days in St. John’s parish, in Benchill, and then at St. Anthony’s from the mid-fifties, the Band
has proudly carried the Fianna Phádraig (Soldiers of St. Patrick) banner and worn the Irish colours all over
the North West, throughout Britain and Ireland, on the continent, in France, Spain, Italy, Germany,
Belgium, and even further afield.
Over the years, the Band has given numerous kids from Manchester an opportunity to travel the world,
visit places they had only ever seen on TV and play for audiences of all cultures and nationalities
The Band has a long history of support for its local parishes and community, raising thousands of pounds for
various charities, including Wythenshawe Hospital League of Friends, St. Ann’s Hospice, The Rainbow Trust
(Francis House), The Christie, The MacMillan Trust.
In the past two years we have taken part in several commemorations to mark the centenary of the World War
One, including United Pipers for Peace 1916-2016 in Amiens, France, commemorating the 100 th anniversary of
the Battle of the Somme, United Pipers for Peace 2018 in Amiens, France, commemorating the centenary of
the end of the war. 22 pipe bands performed at both events. We were also invited by the regional authorities
of Seine-et-Marne, France, to take part in Les Lumières de la Paix (The Lights of Peace), in September 2018.
The event was a musical and visual commemoration of those who lost their lives in the and a celebration of
peace, with a symphony orchestra of amateur musicians and a vast choir made up of numerous amateur choirs
from the region, who performed the Grande Symphonie funèbre et triomphale by Hector Berlioz, as well as the
Berlioz arrangement of La Marseillaise. In tribute to the pipers who lost their lives during the war, we were one
of five pipe bands invited to take part, the only one from the UK, performing before the orchestral piece and in
the grand finale afterwards. The visual commemoration was an ephemeral work by artist Muma Soler,
depicting the opposing front-line trenches and no man’s land between them, using 33000 candles. A truly
moving and memorable event.
In addition, to these commemorations, the Band plays each year at Mayo Manchester Tradfest, a week-long
festival of traditional Irish music and dance at venues throughout County Mayo, as well as at Processions,
Carnivals, Fêtes, Parties, Funerals and Weddings all over the North-West of England and beyond.
For further information or interviews about the Fianna Phádraig Pipe Band please contact: Peter O’Connor