Over a 1000 pipers died during WWI. These extraordinary men were sitting ducks as they went over the top to pipe their men into battle. Piper Harry Lunan was the last surviving piper and he said,
“I just played whatever came in to my head, but I was worried about tripping on the uneven ground, which interrupted my playing. The enemy fire was murderous, the men were falling all around me. I was lucky to survive. Hearing the pipes gave the troops courage.”
Do we know of pipers from Nova Scotia or Antigonish area that served in WWI?
Vancouver Piper James Richardson at the centre; Angus Morrison on far right
Sikh Pipers in the Great War
A research project aims to uncover long-forgotten music composed by pipers in the killing fields of the First World War.
Several of today’s best known bagpipe tunes, such as Battle of the Somme and The Bloody Fields of Flanders, were written in the trenches.
But many more pieces are thought to have been forgotten once the war ended.
Of the 2,500 pipers involved in the Great War, some 500 were said to have been killed and a further 600 wounded.
The losses were so great in the early stages of the war that the tradition of them leading Scottish regiments into battle was reputedly banned by the War Office.
But the practice continued regardless, and the skirl of the pipes echoed across battlefields throughout the conflict.