The Relief of Derry Commemorations on the 12th August was an exceptional day with an impressive turnout from Members.
The celebration of the 334th Anniversary of the Relief of Londonderry started on the other side of the world with the meeting of Australia Murray in Sydney, New South Wales, a little earlier this year, 29th July, with some travelling to be with us in Northern Ireland. At the special initiation meeting on the Friday evening before the big day, we had one Member made from Australia, accompanied by two Australian Brothers. Luke Williams was one of a dozen who were Derry Made that evening.
The newly Made were able to enjoy the main Commemorations on Saturday 12th. Ballinran Flute Band lead General Committee, while once again we had the Robert Graham Memorial Flute Band, from Crawfordsburn in its 50thAnniversary Year, lead the Murray Parent Club.
No-one, other than perhaps the Royal Household, had a ready plan in the event of the passing of Her Majesty. The Association undertook to provide the opportunity for Members to pay respects appropriately. All meetings during the Official Period of Mourning were cancelled.
On the first Saturday following the announcement from the Palace, Apprentice Boys from all Clubs, led by the Governor and Officers of General Committee, gathered to sign the Book of Condolence in Londonderry’s Guildhall. Gordon McMorris, President, signed for the Murray Club.
Branch Clubs also took part in local events to mark the passing of Her Majesty: local Memorials serving as focal points. Pictured here are two; Upperlands Murray, and Wishaw Murray.
On the day of the Funeral the Governor, Graeme Stenhouse, Officers of General Committee and Apprentice Boys presented a special floral tribute in Honour of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to the Dean of St Columb’s Cathedral; remaining in St Columb’s Cathedral Londonderry to watch The State Funeral of Her Majesty from Westminster Abbey as the Nation bade a sad and fond farewell.
2021 saw a return to the Initiation Weekend, 18/19 September, which did not take place in 2020 due to Covid restrictions on holding meetings.
It was good to return to the Memorial Hall, with a Parade of Murray with the Mitchelburne Club on the Saturday morning. We were able to welcome Murray members from Upperlands, Crumlin, Belfast and Thames & Avon. In total, nine new Members were made into the Apprentice Boys Association. Thanks to the Governor of the Association, Graham Stenhouse, for officiating at the Initiations.
On Sunday, again with the Mitchelburne Club, we paraded from `Glendermott Presbyterian Church to the Old Glendermott Graveyard to Visit the Graves of the Siege Heroes, Col. Adam Murray and Col. John Mitchelburne. The Hamilton Flute Band led the Parade, and played at the short Service conducted by Rev. Nigel Cairns.
The first congregation of Glendermott Presbyterian Church was established in 1654 with the Church being build some few years after the Siege in 1696. Extensions and renovations in 1938 did not alter the Church’s layout, reflecting the original Scottish form of the congregational seating to the front and to the left and right of the pulpit.
The connection with Col. Adam Murray is strong. He was a member of the Congregation of Glendermott. To the left of the pulpit there is a brass tablet framed in oak, commemorating the efforts of the Rev. James Gordon who would have been the Minister known to Murray, and to Murray himself.
The 332nd Commemoration of the Relief of Derry took place on the 14th August 2021. While more than the 30 who took part in August 2020 due to Covid regulations, the Association continued to be cautious and reduced the main Parade in Londonderry to the General Committee and eight Parent Clubs. The colour and spectacle of thousands of Apprentice Boys with banners and bands on the main Parade wasn’t to be.
As is tradition the heralding the main Commemorative events, the firing of a cannon one and three times for the Brave 13, took place at midnight in the 13th August.
This was followed by members of the Murray Club symbolically touching the four gates of the City Walls, closed to the armies of King James.
The morning’s Commemorations started as they would any other year, with General Committee and the eight Parent Clubs walking the Walls.
Having held an Act of Remembrance at the Cenotaph the parade returned to the Memorial Hall, from where the main Parade undertook the traditional route of the full Association.
Returning back to the Memorial Hall later in the afternoon. The flags that had been erected earlier that morning on Walker’s Plinth were taken down, and the day ended with the close of General Committee which had been opened before the day commenced.
Meanwhile around the country, Murray Clubs participated in local parades in local towns, keeping alive the memory of the Brave 13.
Bryansford & District Murray started the day by sharing a message on social media:
In the evening Bryansford joined other Clubs of Apprentice Boys in Rathfriland:
Ballywillan Murray joined others in Coleraine for a Commemoration Parade:
In Aghadowey, the Murray Club started the day with a short Service of Remembrance at the local Cenotaph:
Aghadowey Murray then joined other Clubs from the Coleraine area, in Coleraine, for the afternoon:
In Newtownstewart the local Murray Club started the day with an Act of Remembrance at the local Memorial, followed by a Parade and then a Family Fun Day:
Joining Newtownstewart Murray were Clubs from Plumbridge, Sion Mills, Raphoe, Castlederg, Ardstraw, and Cappagh. Bands accompanying were Newtownstewart’s Red Hand Defenders, Eden Flute Band, Castlederg Young Loyalists Old boys, and Donemana Sons of William.
Finally, Upperlands Murray Club held an Act of Remembrance at the local Memorial, before parading though Upperlands and on to Maghera to join other Clubs to Commemorate the 332nd Relief of Derry:
The Murray Club has Clubs in Northern Ireland, Scotland, England, Canada and Australia. This website explains the importance of Col. Adam Murray and why our Club is named after this particular hero of the Siege. If you would like to know more about the Club please use our contact page.
Murray Clubs were unable to join the 331st Annual Commemorations for the Relief of Derry in 2020. General Committee maintained the traditions in the Maiden City. Branch Clubs held local Commemorations, some with short parades and others with simple Acts of Remembrance at local War Memorials.
In alphabetical order, with longer reports for Clubs in Crimson by clicking on name:
AghadoweyMurray held a short service at the local War Memorial on Saturday 8th at 2pm in a simple Act of Remembrance. President Edward Acheson laid a wreath on behalf of the Club.
Antrim Murray laid a wreath at the town’s War Memorial; President Bro. Phil Laverty assisted by Vice President Bro. William Surgenor. In keeping with the day’s Anniversary the Club made a contribution to the local Steeple Veterans Flute Band to dress as apprentice boys for its short parade.
BootleMurray held a short Service of Remembrance at Bootle Cenotaph at 11am on Saturday 8th. A short service was led by Ian Thompson of Bootle Protestant Free Church. President Keith Taylor laid a wreath, assisted by Bro. William Lorimer.
Thirteen members of Bryansford & District Murray held short Act of Remembrance at the Newcastle War Memorial on Saturday 8th August, led by the Chaplain, Rev George Speers. The wreath was laid by Wreath laid by Vice President, Bro Richard Foster.
Donemana Murrayheld a wreath laying ceremony at the local Orange Hall, and was joined by Mrs Mary Hamilton on the day who presented the Club with gifts in memory of her late husband Ernest who had been a faithful member of the Club for over 50 years.
Greenock Murray held two short services on Saturday 8th August. Wreaths were laid at the Broomhill which is on the Clubs traditional Parade route.
Also at Wellpark Cenotaph, the central one to Greenock, and close to where the Club regularly meets.
Also at Wellpark, the Greenock Murray remembered Bro. Andy Potter who died suddenly in March 2020 at a bench that (due to Covid regulations) has yet to be dedicated.
NewtownstewartMurray laid a wreath at the War Memorial at 2pm, having watched the Red Hand Defenders pass the Memorial.
President, Sam Allison, was joined by David Bradley, bandmaster of the Red Hand Defenders. The band, of which a number are Murray members, paraded the town.
Teemore Murray held a short Act of Remembrance on Saturday morning, laying a wreath at the Tandragee War Memorial. Present were Tres. Mark Cowan, Robert Cowan, V.P James Wallace, President Daniel Haire, Sec. Trevor Cowan, Noel Berry, David Uprichard.
UpperlandsMurray started the day with a short Parade in Maghera. Returning to Upperlands, there was a short Parade before an Act of Remembrance at the recently completed Memorial Garden; President Ivan Gordon and Vice President Hugh Hunter laid a wreath on behalf of Upperlands Murray, joined by Boveegh Flute Band.
A large number of Wishaw Murray members turned out on Sunday, 9th August 2020, at the Armed Forces Memorial Garden in Belhaven Park Wishaw to commemorate the Relief of Derry. The wreath was laid by one of the youngest Members of Wishaw Murray. There was a short service, with a closing prayer and the National Anthem.
On the 21st September 2019, the Murray Club joined with the Mitchelburne Club to visit the Graves of Murray and Mitchelburne at Glendermott Old Cemetery, with an inspiring short Graveside Service by the Rev. McBeth of All Saints Clooney, and music accompaniment by a member of Barron Accordion Band.
A parade to the Memorial Hall was followed by the Initiation Meetings for the respective Clubs. Murray Club initiated six new Members on the day, three from Greenock, two from Upperlands and one, our first enrolled member to be Made, from Australia (on right below).