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Hymns replace regimental marches

By Matthew McCreary

Published 31/10/2008

Some of the Army’s best-loved regimental marches could be missing from this Sunday’s homecoming parade through Belfast, it has emerged.

Instead of iconic tunes such as Killaloe, it is expected that regimental bands taking part in the controversial parade through Belfast city centre will play hymns and other music instead.

The Ministry of Defence declined to confirm whether such a move will be made, but said that the music played on the day would be “respectful” of the event and would reflect the involvement of all three branches of the Armed Services.

Former Ulster Defence Regiment officer and Castlereagh councillor Michael Copeland said he was angered and alarmed at the prospect.

“When you go to see a military parade you expect to see it done properly in accordance with tradition,” he said.

“If it was a church parade it would be one thing and it’s not a church parade. It is not the norm — regimental marches are played and are almost a central component.

“The vast number of people attending this parade and wishing to acknowledge the service personnel will be expecting to see a parade exactly the same as those taking place elsewhere. A feature of parades of this nature are regimental marches.

“Any decision to restrict the type of music played would be a departure from that which is considered normal.”

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