“Following a request from Cineworld, Birmingham, via The Royal British Legion, Flt Lt Bob Eccles, OC 194(BSA) Sqn, organised a Wing Band presence for the “Dunkirk” film premiere.
Cadet musicians from 2030, 194, and 492 Sqns, under the baton of the Wing Bandmaster, CI Paul Ward, performed at Cineworld, Broad Street, Birmingham, where the film premiered in the IMAX theatre. The IMAX entrance corridor had been turned in to an atmospheric display, featuring thousands of poppies, of the evacuation beach scene, in which 194’s own memorabilia (WW2 parachute, camo netting, webbing, etc) could be seen. There was also a cut-out of a Spitfire in the display.
The Band performed in the foyer, next to a display by the RBL, who carried out a Poppy Appeal collection during the evening. The display included medals and memorabilia relating to Dunkirk veterans, including Flt Lt Eccles’ own father, who later returned to France 5 days after D-Day in June 1944.
The Band’s performance lasted over an hour, and generated much interest and applause. Cineworld management thanked the cadets for their impressive performance (one manager, a former Marine drummer, also gave an impromptu performance!), and provided complimentary refreshments and cinema tickets for all those taking part.”