‘A trib­ute led by peo­ple ...not by gov­ern­ments’


Gloucestershire Echo - - ARMISTICEDAY 100 YEARS ON -

PIPERS will play, bea­cons will be lit and church bells will ring in all cor­ners of the UK and around the world as com­mu­ni­ties pay trib­ute to the First World War fallen 100 years af­ter the con­flict ended.

Bat­tle’s Over, de­scribed as a na­tion’s trib­ute, has been in the plan­ning for four years and will see hun­dreds of lo­cally-or­gan­ised events mark the cen­te­nary of the Ar­mistice on Novem­ber 11.

Pageant master Bruno Peek, 67, has co-or­di­nated the events and says they take their name from the tune that was tra­di­tion­ally played on pipes by the Scot­tish reg­i­ments at the end of a bat­tle, called When The Bat­tle’s Over.

More than 1,300 pipers around the world will play the tune at 6am on the day, from vil­lage greens and in high streets, to a lone piper in front of the Tomb Of The Un­known War­rior at West­min­ster Abbey in Lon­don. The mu­sic will also play in New Zealand and Mr Peek says there will be a “swathe of sound across the world”.

The Re­mem­brance Sun­day events will be fol­lowed in the evening by an­other emo­tional mu­si­cal trib­ute when more than 1,000 bu­glers play The

Last Post at in­di­vid­ual First World War bea­con sites. The bea­cons will be lit at 7pm to sig­nify the light that came out of the dark­ness of war.

More than 140 town criers will then un­der­take A Cry For Peace Around The World, and more than 1,000 churches will ring their bells as a fi­nale to the day.

For­mer welder Mr Peek says: “It’s go­ing to pay trib­ute to the mil­lions who ei­ther died or re­turned home dread­fully wounded dur­ing or af­ter the war fin­ished on Novem­ber 11, 1918.

“I wanted to put to­gether an in­ter­na­tional project that was led by the peo­ple of the world, not by gov­ern­ments or or­gan­i­sa­tions but real com­mu­nity-based com­mem­o­ra­tions.’’

Mr Peek says he has worked with town and parish coun­cils and or­gan­i­sa­tions around the world, send­ing emails from his home in Gor­leston-on-sea near Great Yar­mouth, Nor­folk, to bring his vi­sion for a trib­ute to life. “It’s been a long process, but I feel so priv­i­leged to be work­ing with so many peo­ple who want to pay trib­ute to those who gave so much so that we en­joy the free­dom of speech and move­ment we have to­day,’’ he says. The Cry For Peace event takes place at 7.05pm when a Chelsea Pen­sioner from the Royal Hos­pi­tal, Chelsea, will lead 100 town criers in a call for in­ter­na­tional peace around the world. In Ypres in Bel­gium, where five bat­tles were fought, four town criers will un­der­take the cry to­gether in the mar­ket square in French, Ger­man, Dutch and English.

Bat­tle’s Over also fea­tures spe­cial trib­utes to two groups of un­sung he­roes – The Chi­nese Labour Corps – who dug trenches, re­paired tanks, laid roads and tracks, trans­ported sup­plies and as­sem­bled shells to free up Bri­tish soldiers for the front line– and the World War One Tun­nellers.

The work of the Tun­nellers has been ac­knowl­edged in a Lamp­light of Peace, com­mis­sioned by Mr Peek and lit at a spe­cial ser­vice at the Grave of the Un­known War­rior, West­min­ster Abbey, Lon­don, on Au­gust 4 this year. It sheds light on a spe­cial breed of men who fought on the West­ern Front, dig­ging tun­nels and lay­ing ex­plo­sives be­neath Ger­man lines.

The Lamp is cur­rently be­ing kept alight by the event’s four of­fi­cial char­i­ties – Royal Naval As­so­ci­a­tion, ABF The Soldiers Char­ity, Royal Air Force Benev­o­lent Fund and the Mer­chant Navy As­so­ci­a­tion, be­fore be­ing re­turned to the Grave of the Un­known War­rior, West­min­ster Abbey for 6am on Novem­ber 11.

Pageant master Bruno Peek

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