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Forces War Records Blog


This year special First World War additions will be included in the summer extravaganza of music, fireworks, Spitfires, cannons and cavalry.

Two months of Battle Proms events at stately homes around England will kick off this Saturday 5th July 2014 at Burghley House in Lincolnshire, and it’s not too late to book! Tickets will cost £40 on the day, subject to availability, and those booking before midnight tonight will get a £5 discount on that price. Children aged 5-15, meanwhile, can get in anytime for £17.

Running since 1997, the Battle Proms were originally conceived to make best use of the 200 live fire replica Napoleonic cannons gathering dust at the English Field Artillery Company; Beethoven’s ‘Battle Symphony’, written in 1813 to celebrate Wellington’s victory at the Battle of Vittoria, is the signature piece that gives the Proms their name, and is performed at each concert as originally intended, with 193 cannons providing a percussion.

Apart from this signature piece with cannon fire, the picnic concerts always feature music, including a second helping of cannon fire tied in with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, choreographed aerial displays with Spitfires, cavalry displays and fireworks, and this year a variety of special themed additions will be included to commemorate the First World War Centenary. These will include special songs by the Rockabellas, the addition of WWI regalia to the cavalry charge, and the evening gun Salute to herald the commencement of the event being fired from an authentic WWI field gun. The Salute itself will this year honour of those who served in the Great War.

Part of the proceeds and collections at each event will go to Combat Stress, billed as ‘the Veterans’ Mental Health Charity’. On Monday 12 May 2014 Combat Stress marked a milestone anniversary: 95 years helping UK Veterans with psychological injuries rebuild their lives.

Here’s the timetable of events for this year:

-5/7/2014, Burghley House, Lincolnshire

-12/7/2014, Blenheim Palace (birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill), Oxfordshire

-19/7/2014, Hatfield House (where Queen Elizabeth I received the news of Mary’s death and her accession to the English throne), Hertfordshire

-2/8/2014, Highclere Castle (AKA Downton Abbey), Berkshire

-16/8/2014, Ragley Hill (where you can enjoy the concert lakeside!), Warwickshire

Those attending are welcome to bring their own picnics and picnic equipment, but it is also possible to hire equipment and pre-order a special picnic hamper for collection on arrival. There are also special hospitality packages available for those feeling flush, with extras potentially including a hospitality marquee enclosure with patio area, cash bar and summer buffet (great for weddings!) or the luxury of a meal at a table in the hospitality pavilion, with meet and greet by Pam Rhodes, who presents both the BBC’s ‘Songs of Praise’ and British Forces Broadcasting Television.

Visit now to find out more and book tickets, or visit for more information about the event’s charity.

With the centenary of Britain’s declaration of war on Germany, 4th August 2014, fast approaching, interest in the First World War is growing and there’s never been a better time to start researching this conflict and your ancestors who perhaps once fought in it. Delve into the interesting world of military genealogy, and let us help you start or continue your genealogy quest, at

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