A History of YALDING, Kent, England

This movement originated in Glasgow in 1883, and six years later the theme was taken up in here by the membership of the Young Men's Friendly Society, at a time when they moved from rented rooms into the lower part of Cheveney Institute. It was formed to help boys between the ages of twelve when they left school, and were expected six years later to be capable of fighting the battle of life alone. The Brigade would work from a Christian background and promote habits of reverence, discipline and self respect. The Institute facilities included a workroom, a room for games, a lathe, a bible class on Sundays, a Brass Band, and a library of 300 books.
When the Yalding Company was formed in 1888 it was natural at that time that the national school headmaster William Galpin was chosen as Brigade Captain as he was well respected and had already established regular drill practice at school.
The company formed a battalion drill group and a Brigade Band of thirty instruments, both of which were to assist in many local events plus invitations to perform the same in surrounding villages, such as on June 22nd 1895 at Wateringbury Place. Ten days later on Sunday 30th the Band assisted the Oddfellows Society in collecting funds for the Maidstone General Hospital.
In the following month on Sunday July 21st the whole company assembled at six o'clock in the Parish Church for their Annual Parade. After accompanying the service the band played a selection of sacred music outside the church from 8 till 8.30 pm.
The sixth annual inspection of the 1st Yalding Company Boy's Brigade, took place on the Cheveney lawn at 3.0 o'clock on a Saturday afternoon of June 1895. A `March Past', precision drill displays, physical training exercises, and St John Ambulance demonstrations, were performed by our local lads.
Captain William Galpin accompanied the visiting inspecting officer, Colonel Vousden, V C, of the 5th Punjaub Cavalry, who presented a medal and money prize to Sergt. W Baseden; 2nd prize to Corpl. H Tutt; and a third to Corpl. P Jessop. The Colonel had earned his V C sixteen years earlier in an Anglo- Afghan war, by leading a small group that charged into three or four hundred enemy. The whole incident was observed and recorded with the comments, “that they owed their safety to their activity, as they wheeled and dashed about making it difficult to hit them. All should get the Order of Merit and if the leader were a British officer never was a V C more nobly earned”.
After the departure of William Galpin the Brigade seemed to decline, but was tentatively held together by subsequent assistant schoolmasters. It was reorganised in September 1901, and in the following year command was taken over by Mr W A Lansdell and in 1903 appeared to be getting back into shape, with drill and band practices, swimming, gymnastics and physical drill, using all the facilities of the Institute, which included the swimming pool. Although in 1903 the Brigade band was brought up to an efficient standard and with a full complement of 21 members conducted by Mr Lansdell. When he left the village later that year, the whole Brigade once again went into decline and although various attempts were made for its survival there were no further records to tell us how long it remained, and certainly no patch on its former glory.