A long lost Mace, which was originally presented 65 years ago as a lasting memorial to a local music loving War Hero, Sergeant Dennis Wale, is now back in its rightful place at the front of a youth band and will be heading up parades as it leads a new generation of young musicians through the streets of his home town.
The Drum Majors Mace was originally presented to the 8 th Coventry Company Band of the Boys Brigade in 1945 by Mr & Mrs Wale in memory of their son Sergeant Dennis Wale who was killed in action on the 17 th of October 1944 at the age of 22 whilst serving with the King's Shropshire Light Infantry in Holland.
Dennis was a keen musician before the war and played a number of different instruments in the Band of the 8 th Coventry Company of the Boys Brigade, which was based at the Bedworth Baptist Church . His mother and father sold his instruments after his death and had the Mace made and presented to the Bedworth Boys Brigade so that the memory of his name would lead the band as it marched through the streets of his home town.
The 8 th Coventry Company Boys Brigade Band disbanded in 1964 and the Drum Majors Mace was passed on to the 14 th Company at Collycroft Church which also disbanded through lack of numbers. In January 2003 the Mace was eventually rediscovered in a cupboard gathering dust and was returned to Dennis's family in the hope that they would be able to find a suitable home for it.
In March 2010, Mrs Val McCormack (granddaughter of Mrs Wale) and Mr John Bishop presented the Dennis Wale Memorial Mace to Cadet Cpl Grant Robey, Drum Major of the 121 ( Nuneaton ) Squadron Air Training Corps.
On presenting the Mace to the Squadron Mrs McCormack said, “We have been looking for a suitable home for the Mace for some time and we are delighted to be able to present it to the Air Cadets. It needs to see life again in the area in which it was meant to represent. The whole reason the Mace came to be was because of the death of a young Bedworth soldier fighting for his country. As a young man Dennis loved his music and it's fitting that the Mace which bears his name will once again lead a new generation of young musicians through the streets of Bedworth”.
Flight Lieutenant Ian Crewe, Officer Commanding 121 ( Nuneaton ) Squadron said, “It will be an honour to parade the Dennis Wale Memorial Mace at the head of our Band. The Squadron Band is a regular sight in the streets of both Bedworth and Nuneaton and we will make sure that the memory of Sergeant Dennis Wale lives on whenever we parade his Mace”.
Flt Lt Crewe went on to say, “Our band is increasing in size and we have more and more young cadets wanting to learn to play an instrument. Unfortunately we only have a limited number of brass instruments, so if anyone has any sitting in a cupboard gathering dust that they no longer want, we would like to hear from you.”