For four years and a half the
pipes of war played their part in the greatest war in history; in the
front, under conditions in which they could never have been expected to
exist at all, they have led men to victory, have rallied them when
victory eluded their grasp, and have marched them back undismayed by the
tortures of battle behind the lines they have headed the long columns of
Scottish troops on their way up to the furnace in which the fate of
nations was cast.
everywhere, they expressed the ideal of the race and led men to follow
causes, even causes which appeared lost ones, through to the end.
When silence fell on the 11th November, 1918,
along the blasted line where rival civilisations had so long struggled
for mastery, the role of the pipes changed, and it was no longer the "onset" that the piper was impelled to play. The consummation of long
effort had been attained—and what instrument more entitled to bear
witness to the fact than the one which had sounded over the
blood-stained slag-heaps of Laos, the shell-swept heights of Vimy?
As the British First Army entered Valenciennes,
the pipers of a historic Scottish division played through the place
opposite the Hotel de Ville, and must have awakened in the old gabled
houses memories of the centuries old alliance between the Lilies of
France and the Thistle.
Further east, along the roads that led to Cologne, the pipes played
unceasingly, as befitted the occasion, impressing on the population that
this was indeed the coming of "Scotland the Brave."
And so, over the great Rhine bridge, the pipes of
the 9th and Canadian Divisions led the way, and Germany learnt at last
that when Piob rnhoy sounds "Gabhaidh sin an rathad mor" it generally
attains its objective.