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  1. ITV Report

Violin plays at the Royal Albert Hall 100 years on for Somme soldier

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Richard Pallot

A violin dating back more than a century and owned by a soldier who died in the trenches of the Somme, was played again at the Royal Albert Hall in a specially composed symphony to commemorate the centenary of the end of the war.

The soldier to whom it belonged was killed in one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War.

Private Bertie Simmons was killed on the very first day of the Battle of the Somme, aged just 18.

Private Bertie Simmons of the Royal Sussex Regiment Credit: ITV News

Most of Bertie’s regiment – the Royal Sussex Regiment - was wiped out in an action north of the main push which was only intended as a "diversionary assault".

Bertie had been a promising musician and his violin has been passed down the family ever since.

But the violin has now been given a new lease of life as Bertie's great-great-niece Ruth Hoare watched as the instrument being played by the leader of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Clio Gould.

Bertie's great great niece Ruth Hoare watched as the instrument being played by the leader of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Credit: ITV News

"It kind of make me proud of what they all did and that I can do something for them in a way by giving the opportunity of the violin to be played," Ms Hoare said.

Violinist Gould said for her it was particularly special as "feels that connection" to history.

"You do feel that everybody who has played a violin leaves their fingerprint in the sound," she added.

Patrick Hawes’ Great War Symphony, which premiered on Tuesday, commemorates 100 years since the end of the Great War.