Excerpt from the past. Corps History No 71

Centenary Year 1987 continued

Exchange of songster/band events throughout the year were a great source of blessing and forged new friendships. Over the weekend 16/17 May our songsters campaigned at Northampton Central corps with musical and gospel meetings.

On Saturday 30 May we followed a nature trail on Cannon Hill Common, followed by an impromptu cricket match, all organised by Brian Muggeridge. On the Sunday the young people's anniversary was conducted by Captain Barbara Bolton, an Australian officer who was promoted to Glory at a comparatively early age following a very painful illness. A writer and SA journalist, she touched many lives by her positive outlook.

The following Saturday, 6 June (43rd anniversary of D-Day) we held a most interesting evening under the title 'Wimbledon corps in wartime'. I managed to borrow many items from an educational source in Morden Hall Park - ration books, identity cards, local photographs, ARP equipment etc. A fine number attended, including the families of our wartime corps officers. Tribute was paid to our Servicemen's Fellowship which kept in touch with all corps serving personnel with letters and gifts. Bandsman Charlie Davis spoke of his prisoner-of-war days in Germany. Having been a naughty boy and escaped twice, he was eventually incarcerated in the dreaded Colditz fortress. Recordings of air raid sirens, anti-aircraft fire and falling bombs added reality to the occasion as we recalled Major Percy Berris's wonderful nightly ministry to those sheltering from the Blitz in South Wimbledon Underground station. For many months Percy arose at 3 am and, regardless of his own safety, took early morning tea (12 gallon urn on an old pram'.) and spoke encouraging words to those bedded down on the platforms.

Our evening concluded with refreshments made from wartime recipes and the showing of original slides of our corps servicemen and women on a 'magic lantern' which still gave splendid reproduction. Other events in June were Whitsuntide meetings led by Major Kathleen Bowyer (the Over-60 club celebrated its 25th anniversary that year, first begun when the Major was stationed at Wimbledon), the 75th anniversary of the Home League, conducted by Lieutenant-Colonel Vera Gray (National Home League Secretary) and an excellent weekend visit by Coventry City Band under bandmaster Charles King, formerly deputy bandmaster at Wimbledon.
Ron Foot