As the band finished playing everyone stood to welcome the Earl of Caledon, who is Her Majesty’s Representative in County Armagh who was accompanied by his Cadet. He was greeted by the Ancre Somme Association Patron Lt Col Ant Maher before being introduced to William’s Great Great Nephew.
Association Honorary President, David Martin, officially welcomed everyone to the days event before introducing the Reverend Alan McCann who led those in attendance in prayer.
Association Patron, Lt Col Maher, then addressed the attendees giving an insight into the Association before paying tribute to the sacrifice made by William, and so many other men, on the 1st July 1916.
It was then Association Chairman Mark Jameson who took to the stage and recited the poem, Soldier Boy McFadzean. This poem was written by fellow Association member Lexi Davidson.
The Pipes and Drums of the Royal Irish Regiment played a selection of tunes before the soloist, Rhonda Kennedy, took to the stage and gave an emotional performance as she sung the Ballad of William McFadzean.
David Martin then invited the Lord Lieutenant, Earl of Caledon, to unveil the memorial. The Lord Lieutenant unveiled the memorial and took the time to view the memorial and read the wording before the Reverend McCann orated the words of dedication and the prayer for remembrance.
There then followed a service of remembrance with the Bugler of 2 R Irish the last post and reveille. A wreath was then laid by two cadets from the Sea and Army Cadets. 10 year old ASA Mascot Cameron Davidson then recited Binyon’s Lines. The Reverend McCann gave the benediction, David Martin thanked all for their attendance and support before the event ended with the National Anthem.
Later in the day a reception was held in the historic setting that is Brownlow House where music was performed by a quintet from 2 R Irish. ASA Patron Lt Col Ant Maher took the opportunity to thank everyone who worked on the project. He then present a miniature bust to William’s Great Great Nephew. Commemorative coins were then presented to the Cadets, their officers and the band by Honorary Colonel Hubert McAllister and William’s Great Great Nephew.
Although this brought the proceedings to an end the Association are hopeful that this will just be the start of a legacy that will see young people learning about men like William McFadzean VC and the sacrifice they made the secured the freedom we all take for granted today.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped with this project and supported unveiling especially the Lord Lieutenant Of Armagh, The McFadzean Family, the Sea, Army and Marine Cadets, Pipes & Drums of the Royal Irish Regiment, Quintet Of 2 R Irish, Sarah Graham School Of Highland Dance, NI Military Wives Choir, Rhonda Kennedy, Cameron Davidson, Helen Runciman, Grail PR, Mid Ulster Granite, Arlene Foster MLA, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP, David Simpson MP, Carol Walker MBE, Councillors and Council of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, BNL Productions, Ashley Forbes, Brownlow House and every single person who has supported this project over the past 18 months.
A special thank you must go to Carla Lockhart MLA. Your help and support helped make the impossible possible.
Private William Frederick McFadzean VC will be remembered now and forevermore.
Her Majesty's Representative, Lord Lieutenant for County Amrgh,
Nicholas James Alexander, 7th Earl of Caledon, KCVO.
On Saturday 13th October 2018 a bronze bust on a granite plinth was unveiled in Lurgan in memory of Private William Frederick McFadzean VC.
About the project.....
18 months ago the Ancre Somme Association established a working group that became known as the William McFadzean VC Commemoration Society. This working group then commissioned the renowned Scottish artist, Helen Runciman, to create a bronze bust and 100 miniature cold cast busts of William.
Many months of meetings then took place with various groups and organisations to enable what was initially just an idea to become a lasting legacy to William.
Various fundraising ventures were also undertaken to raise the funds required. These were boosted with support from Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council and various local businesses.
Dedication and Unveiling......
The day finally arrived and although the weather was not being kind that didn’t not deter the resolve of the organisers. The scene was set and it was now time for the event to get underway.
Guest started arriving from all four corners of Northern Ireland, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland. Special guests included the Great Great Nephew Of William McFadzean, members of the Navy, Army, RAF, Police and the NI Fire and Rescue Service as well as many National, Regional and Local politicians.
Ancre Somme Association Honorary President, David Martin, commenced proceedings by introducing the Sarah Graham School Of Highland Dance. The dancers were outstanding and although the conditions were not the best each one excelled in front of the watching crowd.
Ancre Somme Association continually try to involve and educate young people regarding their British Military history so they were honoured that so many Sea, Army and Marine Cadets, and their Officer, then joined them on Parade.
Next to take to the stage were the magnificent Northern Ireland Military Wives Choir. The ladies sung three emotional songs including Bring Him Home, which seemed very poignant on the day that was.
Just as the Military Wives Choir had finished their performance those in attendance welcomed the Pipes and Drums of the Royal Irish Regiment. The band were led on parade by the magnificent Brian Boru.