Somme Bugle to sound the ‘Advance’ 100 years on

On 1st July 1916, Drummer Jack Downs of the 10th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, sounded the ‘Advance’ of the 36th (Ulster) Division at the Battle of the Somme. Over the first two days of the battle, the Division lost some 5,000 men and, of these, more than 2,000 had been killed. The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers lost 2,208 casualties, of whom 868 were killed.

In the history of the First World War, few bugles could have more resonance than that belonging to Drummer Downs, and to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, this iconic Bugle, held in the collection of the Inniskillings Museum, will again sound the ‘Advance’ exactly 100 years on.

The bugle used by Dmr Downs to sound the advance of the 36th (Ulster) Div on 01 Jul 1916 (Inniskillings Museum Collection)

The bugle used by Dmr Downs to sound the advance of the 36th (Ulster) Div on 01 Jul 1916 (Inniskillings Museum Collection)

The Somme commemoration at Enniskillen Castle on the morning of Friday 1st July will start promptly at 7.00am with gates open to the public at 6.30am (admission free). This symbolic service will be held outdoors against the backdrop of the historic castle, birthplace of the Inniskilling Regiments. The service will conclude at 7.45am when everyone present will have the unique opportunity to sign The Inniskilling Scroll of Honour which lists the names of all Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers killed on the first two days of the battle. The Scroll will then be placed in a First World War brass shell case and kept in the museum collection as part of the Inniskillings Museum Great War legacy for future generations.

Drummer Jack Downs, 10th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

Drummer Jack Downs, 10th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

At lunchtime the Inniskillings Museum will be providing three short lectures between 1.00pm and 2.00pm on the Inniskillings and other Irish soldiers at the Battle of the Somme. Following the lectures, a new publication entitled ‘The Inniskillings and the First World War’ will also be launched in the museum. Admission to the lectures is free but pre-booking is advisable as space is limited (please telephone the museum office on 028 6632 3142 to book).

Thiepval Wood, Somme - Sep 1916

Thiepval Wood, Somme – Sep 1916

The commemorations on the 1st July will conclude with an ecumenical Service of Reflection in St Macartin’s Cathedral, Enniskillen at 7.30pm, where a new memorial window will be dedicated in the Regimental Chapel to all those Inniskillings who served in the Great War and their families.

Posted in News
2 comments on “Somme Bugle to sound the ‘Advance’ 100 years on
  1. Marilyn Downs says:

    Jack Downs was my second cousin…..his father was from Limavady where I live and he was a coach builder in Londonderry.

    It was so very good to hear the bugle today and to know that my dear cousin blew it at the Somme….he was a handsome boy…God bless him and all that lost generation.

  2. Kris Gordon says:

    My Grandfather placed the bugle on loan to the museum, I have in my possession a plaque made by the comrades of Jack Downs to commemorate his falling in action in March of 1918 that would be better off served in the museum if you would care to get in touch.

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