A lone piper played on as a volley of shots thundered across the packed countryside and a Spitfire soared gracefully overhead.
Below the thunderous clouds, which always threatened but never delivered, a Napoleonic cavalry display charged across the lawns of Highclere Castle.
To commemorate the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele, the gunners heralded the start of the musical extravaganza to raucous applause from the thousands of people who gathered to enjoy Saturday’s Battle Proms.
The New English Concert Orchestra, conducted by Douglas Coombes MBE, performed rousing renditions of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture and Beethoven’s Battle Symphony, which was performed as he intended – accompanied by 193 cannons, musket fire and fireworks.
Proms favourites, such as Jerusalem, Rule Britannia, and Land of Hope and Glory, encouraged the flag-waving crowds to their feet just in time to appreciate the dazzling firework finale.
For the full story see Thursday’s Newbury Weekly News.