Pipers to play mark­ing end of Great War

Waihi Leader - - News - By ME­LANIE CAMOIN

Waihi bag­pipers will join a global com­mem­o­ra­tion for the Armistice Day Cen­ten­nial.

As dawn breaks on Novem­ber 11 this year, thou­sands of pipers all over the world will gather and play a well-known pip­ing tune called When the Bat­tle’s Over.

As the clock strikes 6am in all of the na­tions af­fected by the Great War, all the pipers will play.

Mem­bers of the Bay of Plenty Pipes and Drums will be scat­tered around the re­gion play­ing at this time for the Day of Re­mem­brance.

In Waihi, bag­pipers Frances Tait and Mark Stock­ley will be among those to see the first light of the new day and will lead the world with the fa­mous re­treat march. Both will be at the Tun­nel­ers Memo­rial at the Gil­mour Lake re­serve be­fore mov­ing to­wards Waihi RSA to play again. They will then play at the Waihi Ceme­tery Ceno­taph and fi­nally go to Waihi Hospi­tal.

When the Bat­tle’s Over is a 19th cen­tury tra­di­tional Scot­tish com­po­si­tion writ­ten by Pipe Ma­jor Wil­liam Robb, of the Ar­gyll and Suther­land High­landers. It has been played dur­ing wartime when sol­diers were head­ing back to camp af­ter the bat­tles.

The sound of the pipes was up­lift­ing for the mo­rale of the troops, pipers played in front of the troops and oth­ers played while con­fined in the trenches.

Sev­eral New Zealand units in­cluded a pipe band and the New Zealand Ex­pe­di­tionary Force (NZEF) reg­i­ment had their own band. Pipers did not fight with the sol­diers — in­stead they were also used as stretcher-bear­ers.

Over 1000 bag­pipers were killed in ac­tion among the mil­lion men and women killed dur­ing World War I. The Armistice was signed between the Al­lies and Ger­many on Novem­ber 11, 1918 at 5.15am in Com­pie`gne.

It en­dorsed a cease fire on the Western Front, with the Ger­mans told to evac­u­ate the French ter­ri­tory and give their ar­tillery and air fleet back to the Al­lies. The orig­i­nal 36-day Armistice was re­newed sev­eral times be­fore it led to the sign­ing of a Treaty of Peace on June 28, 1919.


Mem­bers of the Auck­land Reg­i­men­tal pipe band in France, 30 April 1918. Brass and pipe bands, choirs and other mu­si­cal groups played an im­por­tant role in main­tain­ing mo­rale and pro­vid­ing en­ter­tain­ment for sol­diers in camp be­hind the lines.

(Left): Waihi bag­pipers Frances Tait and Mark Stock­ley will play a re­treat for Armistice Day.

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