Pipers to play marking end of Great War
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.