50th Anniversary of the Commandos
Weekend of the 31st August 1990 at Blackpool.
Source: Commando Association Newsletter 92 of March 1991.
This grand weekend function was attended by 1,286 old comrades, families, and friends, and was by popular acclaim, a great success.
The first night reception, Friday 31st August, at the Empress Ballroom was very well attended, and during the evening 6,000 raffle tickets were sold for a Grand Draw to be made the following evening. Patron, Major General Moulton, CB, DSO, OBE., the President, Brigadier K.R.S. Trevor, CBE, DSO; the Chairman, Major L.E. MacCallum MC; Vice-Presidents; General Committee Members; Branch Secretaries and Representatives, all with their ladies, were entertained to a welcome drink in the Circle Bar and officially to Blackpool by Councillor H. Mitchell, deputising for the Mayor, Councillor A. Rhodes and the Mayoress, who were otherwise committed to the Illuminations' 'Switch On' celebrations taking place the same evening.
On the following evening, the Buffet Dance, again at the Empress Ballroom, was honoured with the presence of the Mayor and Mayoress of Blackpool. During the evening, a pewter plate, suitably inscribed, was presented by our President to the people of Blackpool, and received by the Mayor on their behalf, commemorating our 50th Anniversary and visit to Blackpool. The Mayor, in accepting the award, expressed great pleasure that we had chosen Blackpool. Jack Quarrie, BEM. (Festival Chairman) was presented with a wooden wall plaque bearing Commando emblems, suitably inscribed. The raffle, which included many prizes given freely by our members and families, plus £500.00 worth of vouchers drawn on Argos Stores, went off very well. Deepest thanks and appreciation to all who donated towards it.
One act of generosity should be mentioned. The proprietors of the Castlemere Hotel (the lady is the daughter of a Commando) gave a week's holiday in their hotel as a prize. The winner of the prize, the son of a Commando, has donated the privilege to the Commando Benevolent Fund. The offer of the week's holiday is to be given annually so that someone in need can take a break. All concerned offer grateful thanks to Sue and Dave Hayward for their generosity.
Sunday, 2nd September, was the day of the Thanksgiving Memorial Service. This was held at Holy Trinity Church, South Shore, Blackpool. This Church, capable of holding a congregation of 1,000, was packed to capacity. The service was conducted by the Vicar, The Rev. Brian Dunn, and the Sermon preached by the Lord Bishop of Lancaster, who used the Commando Prayer as his text. During the Service, a wreath was laid in the Chancel by our Patron, Maj.Gen. J. L. Moulton, CB., DSO. OBE. The fine bugling of the Last Post and Reveille by two Royal Marine buglers, the piping of the Lament by Capt. Mike Long, MC., together with the immaculate precision of our Standard Bearers, made the Service a most special occasion. Grateful thanks must be offered to the Vicar and Church Council, who gave half of the collection, £300, to the Benevolent Fund.
After the Service, everyone was transported to the Cenotaph in the town centre by bus (an object lesson in planning and operating this) for the Final Parade. With the Royal Artillery (Lancashire) Volunteers Band, under Lieutenant A. Ashworth, ARCM., BBCM., RA.(V), in attendance, the Parade was eventually formed up. Wreaths were laid on the Cenotaph by the Mayor of Blackpool and the Association President to the fallen in two world wars and other actions. The March Past then took place, with the Salute on the dias outside the Town Hall taken by the Mayor, our Patron, the President and the Chair-man of the General Committee, the incoming President. This was the moment of the weekend, with 500 "Green Berets" marching just as it would have been 50 years ago. Marching to tunes like "The Green Beret" and "Colonel Bogey ", brought back vivid memories. The Parade dispersed at the Winter Gardens, where, after a band concert in the Spanish Room, comrades drifted slowly away or remained behind to continue exchanging memories from yesteryear. No doubt, all participants agreed that it had been a most memorable weekend.
The General Committee would particularly like to thank the following: The then President, Brigadier K. R. S. Trevor, CBE., DSO., for his interest and advice, Captain Norman Sloan, who besides arranging the Memorabilia, donated the pewter and £200 to the Commando Benevolent Fund, the Mayor and Mayoress of Blackpool, the local police and the many others, but especially the 50th Anniversary Sub-Committee: Jack Quarrie, BEM., Tan Rudge, DCM. and Geoff Wilkes, together with their wives, whose efforts made the whole celebration the success it undoubtedly was. Thank you all.
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