100 years later

Hamp­ton man to lead Black Watch pipe band re-en­act­ment in Bel­gium


At the end of the ‘war to end all wars’ Pipe Ma­jor Thomas John­ston led the 42nd Bat­tal­ion Royal High­landers of Canada Pipes and Drums through the streets of Mons, Bel­gium.

It was Nov. 11, 1918. The swirl of those Black Watch kilts and the skirl of those high­land pipes are now syn­ony­mous with lib­er­a­tion even a cen­tury later. In Mons, the Cana­dian he­roes are not for­got­ten.

The man who will por­tray Pipe Ma­jor John­ston in a re-en­act­ment of that pa­rade into Mons ex­actly 100 years later said the hon­our of be­ing asked is in­de­scrib­able.

Andy Kerr of Hamp­ton, who will lead the res­ur­rected Pipes and Drum of the 42nd at Mons, said the modern day mem­bers play­ing the roles of the real-life sol­diers of 1918 are com­ing from six prov­inces and three coun­tries with the com­mon goal of hon­our­ing those who fought and played bag­pipes and drums in The Great War.

Each vol­un­teer mem­ber will be wear­ing an iden­tity disk rep­re­sent­ing one of the orig­i­nal 42nd Bat­tal­ion Pipe Band mem­bers and will be dressed in pe­riod uni­form from 1918.

Kerr, a mem­ber of the Mon­treal-based Black Watch for 30 years, sees the Mons lib­er­a­tion as a sig­nif­i­cant mo­ment among many for the Black Watch in a war that took more than 2,000 of its mem­bers but saw a lengthy list of bat­tle hon­ours.

“We of­ten call Vimy Ridge one of our finest mo­ments, as be­ing the only al­lied reg­i­ment with three bat­tal­ions on Vimy Ridge,” Kerr said, but noted that would be putting aside other very im­por­tant bat­tles to which the Black Watch lost many men.

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