The attendance at Saturday’s celebrations [August 13] of the 266th anniversary of the Relief of Londonderry was the largest for many years, and last night Mr James Houston, of the Ulster Transport Authority, reported that the UTA, by road and rail, had conveyed a total of 21,400 members of the Apprentice Boys Order, of bands and loyalists from all parts of the Province.
More than 100 bands took part in the procession.
The growing strength of the Order was indicated during the day when more than 700 new members were initiated at a ceremony, which can take place only inside the Walls of Derry.
St Columb’s Cathedral was filled to overflowing for the anniversary service at which the preacher was the Rev James Johnston, minister of Magherafelt Presbyterian Church, who described the Siege of Derry in 1688-89 as “a victory of the common people of Ulster”.
Among the defenders of Derry, he said, there were great leaders, but the honours of the Siege went not so much to the leaders as to the common people who manned the walls.