Squdron crest
Home header

578 Squadron March

Barlby foot tappers in Selby Abbey 2004

The 578 Squadron March was a specially commissioned piece by the David Wilkerson Prize Fund (established from the proceeds of sale of the "Based at Burn MkII" book by Hugh Cawdron), and composed by Allan Froy, a former Barlby Foot-Tappers Band member who now works for the Government

Barlby Foot-Tappers Band have had great links with the Squadron association over recent years playing at the Squadron reunions, both at remembrance services in Selby Abbey and at the lighter social gatherings. To explain how the Barlby Foot Tapper's Band became an indispensable part of the 578 Squadron psyche, we have to go back to the Spring of 1997 when Hugh Cawdron, who had accepted the invitation to 'put on something special for the 1998 Reunion' was walking his dog on Burn Airfield, seeking inspiration. Arrangements were already in hand for a large Service to be held in Selby Abbey in 1998 to dedicate the Squadron Book of Remembrance, but the problem was how to cater afterward for the several hundred people who were expected to attend. Clearly, it was going to be an all day event, which required food, comfort, ease of transport and entertainment, but where?  The thought then struck - of course - it's right here...acres of space, a hangar to provide shelter in inclement weather and big enough to set out tables and chairs for lunch, toilet facilities are available in the Gliding Clubhouse....we could have aerial displays too!  But something else was needed....live music....where on earth can live music be forthcoming at an affordable price?

Nearing the centre of this vast, lonely place, where the two main runways intersected, Hugh encountered a lady, Mrs Edna Hunt and her dog coming from the opposite direction.  Pleasantries were exchanged during which he mentioned the possibilities ahead....and the difficulty.  Without hesitation, she insisted, "You have no choice - you MUST contact Andrew Joy and his magnificent Barlby Foot Tapper's Band....mainly school children, y'know, but they play like true professionals."  Andrew fairly bubbled with enthusiasm when approached.

And so, with the co-operation of many, a wonderful day was had by all.  The weather was warm and sunny, the Service in the packed Abbey was inspirational, the hangar, draped with coloured parachutes housed everybody with additional displays included. The whole of Burn Village was invited.  Aerial displays were mounted by an air sea rescue helicopter, local private aircraft and, to cap it all, several passes were made along the runway by the Battle of Britain Lancaster bomber, which brought tears to the eyes of many.

Everybody agreed that the whole afternoon was held together by the magnificent musical achievements of the Barlby Foot Tapper's Band - no doubt about that.  But it did not end there.  The liaison had only begun, for since then the Band have performed at more 578 functions, including another Burn Airfield afternoon. Their presentation of the 578 Squadron Concert March in Selby Abbey in May 2004 was another notable 'first' and, year on year, Andrew's daughter, Sarah, renders a poignant 'Last Post and Reveille' on her cornet, both at the Abbey and at Selby Cemetery, for which we are most grateful.

The Squadron March was commissioned to co-incide with the 60th Anniversary of the forming of 578 Squadron and on Saturday 15th May 2004 the Barlby Foot-Tappers Band played the first public performance of the 578 Squadron Concert March, 'Accuracy' at the Squadron Reunion at Selby Abbey. Des Hollis, squadron archivist, gave this review in the squadron association newsletter.

"The March begins with a very catchy marching tune which would engender easy progress of any military unit on the yomp, or on a more formal parade occasion. The uplifting mood gives way to more sombre tones as the music reflects the feeling of impending, and then actual operations against the enemy, when the notes provide a much more harsh sound, and one can 'feel the tension in the air'. Towards the end of the piece, the mood changes again, lightens and returns to the original theme. The composer has indicated that he set out to create such different moods, portraying a sense of what the aircrew experienced on operations. In this, I believe he has been successful.

Band at Burn
The band performing in Burn airfield hanger May 2004

Download a copy of the March, turn up your loudspeakers and listen for yourself. (To save a version to your computer hard disk right click and choose "save link as..." We have given you two formats, .wma and mp3 so you can select the version that suits your equipment)

Alternatively you can enjoy our slideshow and 578 march music direct on your browser here.

About the band:

Barlby foot tappers

The Barlby Foot-Tappers Band comprises of children aged 9 – 24 years living in the Barlby / Selby area in North Yorkshire.
“FOOT-TAPPERS” was chosen as it reflects the type of music we play. More information can be found on their web-site:


The band has produced two CD's one is the 578 Squadron 60th Anniversary Reunion CD .
This CD contains all music performed by the Barlby Foot-Tappers Band throughout the day of May 15th 2004. Recorded live at both Selby Abbey and Burn Airfield, the CD also features a concert march composed for 578 Squadron, and premiered by the Foot-Tappers.

To buy the above CD, please contact the band's conductor, Andrew Joy at andrew.joy@care4free.net