Sunday, November 11, 2007

Rememberance Sunday

Today, I will be singing a brand new Requiem, the Requiem Bruxellensis, which has been written by a retired colleague of mine, Hywel Duck. I've never sung a brand new piece of music before, and it's very strange not to be able to listen to a recording. However, as of today you will be able to hear this beautiful, triumphant Requiem for organ, trumpets, oboe, baritone solo and choir, because we're recording it. More details as and when.

The relative I wish particularly to feature in today's post is Jean-Hughes Oltramare, my great-grandfather. Jean-Hughes was Swiss and had served in the Swiss artillery during WW1, but during the Second World War he and his French wife and two British-born daughters lived in Ruislip, north of London. He did his bit the only way he would have been allowed to, by joining the Air Raid Wardens. Sadly during the darkest part of the war it was felt that foreigners were not to be trusted, and he was interned from 1940 to 1943. It is a mark of the man that his certificate from the Air Raid Wardens shows that upon his release in 1943 he resumed ARW duty immediately and served until the war ended. This is a famous family photo of him in his ARW kit. We love the jut of his jaw.

I would also like to remember my grandfather, Merchant Navy captain torpedoed twice during WW2, and my great-uncle, whose exceptional merits are amply documented elsewhere, with their photos below.

Men of duty, quality and grit. Their greatest legacy to us is their example.

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