The Captain of 1st Banbridge Boy’s Brigade, Robert Nesbitt, has been talking about the Company’s rich history and the changes it has witnessed over the last 67 years since it was established.
The benefit the uniformed organisation would bring to young men in the Banbridge area was first recognised by the late Head Constable David Murray (RUC), who went about setting it up.
Constable Murray had previously formed a company in Enniskillen before coming to Banbridge and following a meeting the ministers of the local churches - Rev William Moore of Scarva Street Presbyterian Church, Rev J T Anderson of Bannside Presbyterian Church, Rev J J Harrison of the Methodist Church and Canon T Parr from the Church of Ireland, the company attached to Scarva Street Presbyterian was founded in 1947.
Constable Murray served as honorary captain, and in the first year the company met in Scarva Street and consisted of six officers, one staff sergeant and 75 boys.
William Bradford served as the first Captain and the lieutenants were William Donaldson, Cecil Craig (who now lives in Australia), Cecil Miles and Robert Jamison.
Originally the company was part of the West Down Group of companies, but following re-organization of BB in Northern Ireland the company became part of the Down Battalion and always took an active part in Group and Battalion activities.
After a few years the 2nd Banbridge BB was also formed and this was attached to the Church of Ireland.
The following Captains have served in the company since its formation - William Bradford, William Donaldson, William Lutton, Nigel Bell, Greg Radcliffe, Robert Gracey, and the current captain Robert Nesbitt, has served since 2006.