Tour of Holland 1947 - Part 5



The last day was spent in Vlaardingen, a fishing town. The burgomaster and the town council received the band generously. The festival, given in the cathedral, was attended by more than one thousand seven humidred people. The Territorial Commander (Lieut. Commissioner Chas. Durman), who presided, thanked Major Baker, Bandmaster Mountain and the bandsmen for the blessing they had brought to Holland during their eight days campaign. Mrs. Lieut. Commissioner Durman and the Chief Secretary (Lieut. Colonel J. Smael) were also present. Items were listened to in complete silence.

The offical farewell took place on the church square opposite the town hall, where over two thousand people gathered. The band played Sun of My Soul, the Chief Secretary spoke to the bandsmen from the steps of the town hail and the crowds joined in long and warm applause. Cheers for Holland by the bandsmen, cheers for the band by the crowd, then the English and Dutch National Anthems were played and a wonderful campaign came to an end.

The campaign has been an unforgettable memory. The playing of the band was of an exceptionally high standard. The spirit of the bandsmen is excellent. They are real Salvationists, without humbug. The bandmaster is not only a first class conductor and composer, but a Christian gentleman. Thank you comrades.

Major Van Dalen writing in The Musician, 1947

Each morning had commenced with an 8.30 prayer meeting and band activities seldom finished before 10pm. Little free time was afforded the bandsmen yet, strenuous though it was, the tour proved immensely successful. not once did the band play to a congregation of fewer than 100 people - often the figure was 2000. Their appreciation could not always be shown as the churches which opened their doors to the Army banned applause, preferring that God himself he given all the Glory.

Even on their arrival back in Bournemouth they were allowed little rest. Within 9 hours they were giving a 'Welcome Home' festival, even though this involved hastily borrowing 4 basses to replace the new instruments which had been badly damaged on the return sailing.

The full impact of this campaign will never be known, but it changed the life of at least one man. Joe had been present at a prayer meeting, held on a bombed site in Rotterdam, under the leadership of Band Sergeant Guy Hewitt, and had been so influenced that he returned to God after 23 years of backsliding - a fitting sequel to the band's effort.