The Crimson Banner
Online Newsletter in Memory of the Defenders of Derry

4th August 2003, Issue Number 1

Produced by Ballymoney Mitchelburne ABoD
In Association with and

Maiden City Festival 2003

Sunday 3rd August marked the start of a week long series of events to celebrate the culture of the Apprentice Boys of Derry and the wider Protestant/Loyalist Community.  The Maiden City Festival has been running for a few years and is now a well oiled and very professionally staged cultural extravaganza.  The Festival began as a weekend event with a few small efforts to enhance the traditional Relief of Derry Parade - but through the hard work and vision of the Maiden Festival Committee has become the Jewel in the Crown of the Apprentice Boys Association.

Education as well as entertainment has been as much a part of the Festival in recent years with the W F Marshall Summer School being over-subscribed and now participants receive accreditation for the course which is internationally recognised.  The array of activities include Bluegrass music, Ulster-Scots poetry and music, the Scottish Fiddle Orchestra, Willie Drennan, a play by Sam Starrett, as well as a host of  family and community orientated events based on and around the famous Walls and other areas of Londonderry.

Full details of all events are available on the Official Apprentice Boys of Derry website and the original promotional leaflet is available as a downloadable file.  For details of ticket availability you can contact by writing to or calling at the Maiden City Festival, The Memorial Hall, 13 Society Street, Londonderry BT48 6PJ - the office will be staffed from 10 am to 1pm and 2 pm to 4 pm until 8th August 2003 and can be contacted by telephone on 028 7134 9250 during office hours.

Liverpool & Southport Parade Report

On Saturday 14th June the Liverpool based Branch Clubs held their Annual parade in Liverpool and Southport.  Various feeder parades wound their way around the city to meet up at Jubilee Drive for the main parade in Liverpool.  At 10 am the parade made it's way from Jubilee Drive through the city centre led by Bargeddie Thistle Flute Band from Scotland.   Eventually after passing through the city centre we paraded the "Chinatown" area of Liverpool and were warmly received by many spectators in this truly multicultural city - once at the end of Chinatown we boarded the fleet of buses to make our way to Southport.

The journey to Southport is just long enough to relax and enjoy catching up on acquaintances built up over the years and a wee sing song too.  The Club which I was walking with was the Liverpool Campsie Club  - we have been friendly with this Club for the past 3 years when we visited Liverpool for the President & Secretaries Conference.  This year the Club was going to be accompanied by the excellent Blackscull Flute Band from Glasgow.

Assembling at the Bus Station the parade made it's way through the seaside resort's streets and along the seafront promenade to the park which is near a Funfair and amusements.  Other Bands on Parade included local favourites the Imperial Corps of Drums and Liverpool Volunteers Flute Band as well as the entertaining Highfield Loyalists from Bootle - the Ulster bands on parade included Monkstown YCV and Shankill Star Flute Band.


During the interval of over two hours it was time to relax and enjoy a meal in one of the many hotels in the company of Club Members, Blackscull FB and their families.  Back to Park in time to get organised for the return parade of Southport as well as a quick ice cream in the scorching sunshine.  The return parade in Southport seems to attract an even larger crowd of spectators 8 or 10 deep in places - then back on the bus for Liverpool.

This year the host Club was the Liverpool Murray Club based in the Toxteth and South Liverpool area so the return parade was through this area, taking in home of Everton FC along the way!  My own parade then finished back at the Liverpool Provincial Orange Hall - later that night the Blackscull entertained us again but this time they put away their marches and played some of the best Blood and Thunder I have ever heard - a great ending to a great day and weekend.


Continued Growth for Apprentice Boys
In recent years due to strong leadership and a clear vision the Apprentice Boys Association has continued to grow not just in numbers but in the number of Branch Clubs around the world.  As well as the traditional strong holds like Northern Ireland, England, Scotland, Canada and the Republic of Ireland the Apprentice Boys have succeeded in recruiting members from countries where there are currently no Branch Clubs such as Wales, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Holland.  The Apprentice Boys residing in countries where there is currently no Branch Club structure look forward to the day when the strength of numbers enables them to apply for a new Charter to open their own Branch Club.

Branch Clubs like the Toronto Murray Club have acted as a "safe resting place", being the closest point of contact for those living in the "Americas" - there is a particularly strong interest in the United States where our Ulster-Scots cousins wish to retain a "link with the Old Country".  This is due in no small measure to the positive and media friendly approach taken by the Apprentice Boys leadership in recent years as well as a rediscovery of an "Ulster-Scots" identity by many Americans who have realised they are not "Irish-Americans" but true sons of Ulster.

New Branch Club To Open in Donegal
Apprentice Boys from the East Donegal area are on the verge of opening a new "No Surrender" Branch Club in the Irish Republic.

The Branch Club will be called Newtowncunningham No Surrender Branch Club and are keen to hear from anyone in the East Donegal area who would be interested in joining them.

There was previously a Branch Club in Newtowncunningham until the 1970's when because of intimidation and attacks by Republicans the Branch Club was forced to disband.

If anyone is interested in joining the new Branch Club they can click on the email link below and details will be passed on in confidence to the County Donegal brethren.

Click here to send your details!

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Derry's Walls

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Welcome & Editorial

Welcome to the inaugural issue of the Crimson Banner (Online).  The purpose of this online newsletter is to help improve communication within and without the Apprentice Boys Association.

Primarily the main target readership is members of the Apprentice Boys of Derry.  There is also a secondary audience of those who are sympathetic to our cause or who wish to learn more about the Association, it's raison d'etre and the activities which are organised by Apprentice Boys.

Hopefully readers will find the publication educational, entertaining and empowering.

The month of August is one of the busiest and most exciting times of the year for Apprentice Boys - the  Maiden City Festival runs from the start of August until Saturday 9th August 2003 when the climax and grand finale being the 314th Relief of Derry parade with over 250 Clubs and almost 180 bands making this an event to rival anything the rest of the world has to offer.

A big thank you goes to Andy and Tim from  the British Loyalist Newsletter for all their help and advice and for helping with publication, distribution and promotion - without these two genuine Loyalists you would not be reading this.  Another big thank you is extended to the webmaster of the Official ABoD Website for also assisting in hosting the archive and helping in promotion.

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Enter your email to join Crimson Banner today!


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Recommended Links

One of the most popular Loyalist sites on the internet is that of Calton Protestant Defenders LOL 221, Glasgow - this site has a host of interactive features including the usual polls, message boards, etc plus an email list and very active chat room for members of the site.

Kilcluney Volunteers Flute Band run a well established and very professional site - a must for those with an interest in Loyalist marching bands!

Loyalist Music 2 - is a new site just launched for those who want to share Loyalist music files and correspond with fellow Loyalists around the world - the original site was attacked by Republicans and subsequently taken down - but it is hard to keep a good site down!  LoyalistMusicII

In The Next Issue...
The next issue of the Crimson Banner will take the form of a "Parade Special" with full report and pics from the Relief of Derry Parade.

Please feel free to submit articles, pictures etc for inclusion - the Crimson Banner welcomes and encourages participation from all Apprentice Boys and Clubs - help promote your Club's events etc.

We would also ask you to forward a copy of the Crimson Banner to friends and Brethren who are online or perhaps print off a copy for others to read!