Home crowd advantage for James at Band of the Royal Air Force College Regent concert
- Credit: Photograph by Paul Saxby
The Band of the Royal Air Force College can expect extra support when they perform at the Ipswich Regent tonight.
Leiston-born percussionist chief technician James Moss’ friends and family will be cheering him as the band commemorate the Battle of Britain 75th anniversary, reflecting not only on the bravery of the few but also the many others who supported them in Britain’s finest hour.
“This is the sixth time I will have performed at the Regent with the RAF and it’s always a highlight of the year when I get to come back to Ipswich and perform in front of friends and family. This year has the added bonus that I will be performing as a soloist on the marimba,” he said.
Chf Tech Moss started drum lessons aged 12 with Brian Ginger, a member of the Leiston British Legion Band, and subsequently with Gerry Gillings in Ipswich.
He left Suffolk to join the army when he was 16, studying at the Army School of Music in Dorset for two years and then a year at the Royal Military School of Music in Twickenham. Following training, he spent 10 years travelling throughout Europe, Asia and North America before transferring to the RAF in 2001.
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“Since then I’ve taken part in prestigious ceremonial duties such as Changing the Guard, the annual Remembrance parade at the Cenotaph and the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall.”
Featuring the Band of the RAF College, the concert will include military marches, popular songs from the era, plus big band numbers and classical pieces that will serve as a musical tribute to all those who participated in the Battle of Britain.
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As well as saluting the heroism and courage of the Allied airmen - numbering fewer than 3,000 - who took part it will turn the spotlight on those who contributed directly to securing victory in 1940 as part of the fighting capability of Fighter Command and the many others who also contributed indirectly to victory.
Among them were the men and women who operated a complex system for detecting enemy aircraft and controlling the Allied response. Named the Dowding System, after its chief architect Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, it was an elaborate and extensive system that allowed commanders to control the ebb and flow of battle and ensure RAF fighters where in the right place at the right time.
The lynchpin of the system was the Filter Centre. It compiled a recognised air picture from large amounts of information received from the radar system and Observer Corp reports. This was not only used by commanders to fight the battle but also queued other important defensive systems comprising anti-aircraft artillery, searchlights and barrage balloon operators.
Concert Organiser Tina Outlaw said: “While the incredible achievements of the few should never be forgotten, it’s important we remember the many others who played both decisive and key supporting roles during the battle... Also those who were at the forefront of sustaining national resilience - civil defence, fire fighting, air raid wardens and rescue.”
It is being staged in support of the RAF Charitable Trust and will be compered by BBC broadcaster Lynn Bowles.