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    76th Boys' Brigade Glasgow, Drumchapel

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Status :  Disbanded 2005

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Captain Robert J Howie JP

 
 The 76th Glasgow Boys' Brigade Company had 117 unbroken years having been founded in the Partick mission Hall of Hillhead Baptist Church on 24 Sept.1887.
In 1962 the company moved with the same boys and Officers intact to Drumchapel so there was no break and local boys came in. It was the only one operating in the scheme and Capt. Bob Howie did much pastoral work not just visiting homes but helping parents, conducting funerals, dedicating kids and for a time he ran a mission service.
     The 76th was cruelly closed down due to local politics out in Drumchapel, just over three years ago the committee that ran the community hall they met in and the local Councillor offered little support. A lifetime's work and dedication
all gone and with nowhere to meet the company disbanded.

The 76th BB had a broad base of boys and refused entry to no one. At one time a third of the boys were RCs and one boy was Jewish!
They had an excellent Fife & Drum band which 
entertained at Erskine, the Kirk mission out Calton way, fetes (including an RC special school) etc.
When the 76th brass band was disbanded they went for a year without a band for the first time since 1889. That was the year we had the 219th BB flutes along for the Annual Inspection. With such a large Company Section - at the time around 70 we had to do something. We thought about bugles and dismissed that quite quickly as there was no-one available. Having had the 219th playing that year I then spoke to a recent Staffie who played in a local band to come back as Bandmaster which he did. We supplied the money from what we got in from some rather getting clapped out brass intruments got new drums and within a year we had a flute band which was to go to camp in Ulster with us each year. On one occasion we had 51 at summer camp in Castlerock on the Londonderry coast and with the colours we looked impressive. The two local RUC men based there were very receptive and allowed us to march all over the place quite informally. Well they were both ex-BB. One year we even had a band parade during a stay and covered every street in the large village as well as entertaining those on the beach at the seafront.

The flute band had a narrow yellow stripe on their epaulettes and purple lanyards (NCO's wore orange). as Captain wore red, Lieutenants blue (Girls Brigade influence) and W/O's and SSgts, yellow.  Bob can recall 2 young lads about 13 arguing. Ranks were important in the 76th which always had a strong military tradition. One aggrieved participant said "There's Captain Howie. He'll tell ye". So curious he asked what the argie-bargie was about. One said quite determinedly "Sir, wull ye tell that bamstick that a Bandsman is higher than a Private?". Keeping a straight face he confirmed that was so. He gave a satisfactory smile and proudly told his pal. "See ah telt ye bit naw ye widnae listen."
One year the 76th provided the music for a Glasgow Battalion Parade. The Battalion Church parade had been grouped into Districts. They had Scotstoun, Partick and Maryhill in a church up off Byres Rd. John Cooper (Glasgow Battalion Bands Convenor) who greatly supported the 76th unique work in Drumchapel insisted on the 76th flute band (14 strong) playing the parade into the service. 
Afterwards we led the whole parade past the VIP's and Baillies all the way down through Hillhead to the dismissal area in Partick.    So there you are folks a bit part in the long history of the 76th.
 

 see the 76th BB Website for more info and photos : http://76glasgowboysbrigade.moonfruit.com

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I was the Officer in charge of the 219th Boys Brigade band and Capt.Howie invited us along to his 95th anniversary display on 7th May 1982. It is heart warming to find out in 2008, twenty-six years later, that the 219th were inspirational in the 76th forming their own flute band!
I have known 'Bob' a long time and he is one of life's characters and its my pleasure to have the opportunity to put his beloved 76th onto GlescaPals!                                                  Webmaister
 

BB Band History : In the 2nd February 1885 William Smith wrote to a local newspaper telling them they had organised a band which was making remarkable progress, this was a flute band consisting of 16 performers. ( First BB band was a Flute band)
The idea of BB bands caught on very quickly and the BB Annual Report for 1885/86 shows there were five flute bands in existence and only two years later the Annual Report for 1887/88 reported 35 bands - 25 flute, 2 bugle, 4 brass and 4 pipe bands. all this from only 220 companies then on the roll.

 

 

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