My word it’s a very different battalion now,
there are very few of the old lads
left in my own platoon...there’s
not one that I know’.
Arthur ‘Pat’ Burke
Services No Longer Required
Services No Longer Required is the powerful story of a soldier from Salford who fought in the First World War. It was brought to life in a series of special performances, with players from the BBC Philharmonic and Salford Symphony Orchestra and performed at the Imperial War Museum North, in October 2015,
This unique collaboration, between the BBC Philharmonic and IWM North, brought the experiences of Arthur Pat Burke, fighting on the western front and how he was spared at the Battle of the Somme, to an enthralled audience in his home town of Salford.
Writer Di Sherlock, dramatised some of the many letters that Pat (as he was known) wrote home to his mother (Ma) and his brothers, Reg and Tom.
Musicians from the BBC Philharmonic (conducted by Richard Davis) and members of the Salford Symphony Orchestra, performed an original score, composed by Richard Taylor. They shared the stage with actors playing the parts of Pat Burke, ‘Ma’ and a war veteran who reflects on true experiences from contemporary conflicts.
Four performances took place on 17th and 18th of October. A filmed performance was also broadcast live on the BBC.
Pat Burke was the youngest in a family of five siblings whose home was The Borough Hotel, a Salford pub. By late 1915, he was serving with the army on the Western Front with the Manchester Regiment. Pat fought at the Battle of the Somme in 1916. He survived and one year later he was given a safer job in his battalion. Yet within a few days he was killed by a shell near the front line at Ypres. He was 23 years old.
The producer Martin Maris, from the BBC Philharmonic said: “Pat’s story still resonates very strongly today, and we are delighted to pay tribute to him, and so many others just like him, with this special performance.”