Remembrance Day, Delville Wood, and a March.


At the 11th hour of 11th November, 1918, an armistice was signed ending the four years of warfare in World War 1.   Since that time it has been a custom in Commonwealth countries to honour the fallen on that date every year – known as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day.

The horrors of that war are illustrated by one of the battlefields where fighting was particularly fierce during the Battle of the Somme.  Much of Delville Wood was taken by South Africans in a determined attack on 15th July 1916, and then held by them against constant counter-attack until the evening of 19th when they were finally relieved.  It was a costly action – in those few days they suffered 766 casualties

800px-German_trench_Delville_Wood_September_1916

Delville Wood September 1916 (Photo in Public Domain)

My mother, Dorothy Wienand Noble (1900 – 1996) wrote a march to commemorate that battle – I am sure she had personally known some of the fallen.  The march was transcribed for military band and played a number of times at Remembrance Day Parades in South Africa – particularly by the Durban Light Infantry Regiment.  I don’t have the band version, and want to write one myself when I can, but in the meantime here it is on the piano. That falls a bit short on ‘The Last Post’ opening, as well as the thunder of the guns during the battle section, but one still gets the idea of the honour-bound horror and bravery and bittersweet triumph.  In fact, survivors of the action were known to have wept openly during the playing at some parades.

I had intended to post it yesterday, but have discovered that after I have had a website with them for some years MyMusicStream have kindly closed it down unless I fork out ten dollars a month,  so I am going to have to invite them politely to go and join the Devil, and reroute my Quests sidebar links.

Here we have a SoundCloud version of the march.  I hope it works for all.

© Colonialist (WordPress) November 2015
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About colonialist

Active septic geranium who plays with words writing fantasy novels and professionally editing, with notes writing classical music, and with riding a mountain bike, horses and dinghies.
This entry was posted in Africa, Colonialist, music composition, Personal Journal and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Remembrance Day, Delville Wood, and a March.

  1. calmgrove says:

    They were expansive in them there days, weren’t they, but kudos to Dorothy for a stirring piece of music — some daring modulations in evidence! The dark middle section reminding me at times of Berlioz, in contrast to the more uplifting main theme. Thanks for sharing, Col.

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    • colonialist says:

      Glad you took the time to listen, and found the time spent worth it. The horror of those many days of constant bombardment and attack, twenty-four hours a day, certainly calls for a chunk of Berlioz. Some parts of fantastique come to mind.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, I like the march. Well played! I can just imagine it played by a military band.

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  3. Saw this yesterday, but thought best not to wake up Partner by playing the march. I thought it sounded quite nice on piano, although I agree with your comment about the last post. The battle section was good, it came over well on piano. You must indeed write a band version.

    That photo of Delville Wood looks very bleak. A miserable place to die indeed.

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    • colonialist says:

      At the end, there was very little wood left. Imagine being in that bombardment for all those days. It is a wonder any of them came out sane.
      I do like the themes running through the music – the ‘rallying’ one still with a wistful air, then a ‘plodding’ endurance section, the battle fury, and finally that blend of triumph and regret using the original theme.

      Like

  4. Great. It would be good to hear a band version. My feet were marching throughout.

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  5. adeeyoyo says:

    Beautiful, Col. Your mother was very talented. I could hear a great many emotions throughout.

    Like

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