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The Pipes of War
A Record of Achievements of Pipers of Scottish and Overseas Regiments during the War of 1914 - 1918. by Brevet-Col. Sir Bruce Seton, Bart. of Abercorn, C.B. and Pipe Major John Grant. (1920)

WHEREVER Scottish troops have fought the sound of the pipes has been heard, speaking to us of our beloved native land, bringing back to our memories the proud traditions of our race, and stimulating our spirits to fresh efforts in the cause of freedom. The cry of "The Lament" over our fallen heroes has reminded us of the undying spirit of the Scottish race, and of the sacredness of our cause.

The Pipers of Scotland may well be proud of the part they have played in this war, in the heat of battle, by the lonely grave, and during the long hours of waiting, they have called to us to show ourselves worthy of the land to which we belong. Many have fallen in the fight for liberty, but their memories remain. Their fame will inspire others to learn the pipes, and keep alive their music in the Land of the Gael.


This record of the achievements of pipers during the war of 1914-18 is not intended to be an appeal to emotionalism. It aims at showing that, in spite of the efforts of a very efficient enemy to prevent individual gallantry, in spite of the physical conditions of the modern battlefield, the pipes of war, the oldest instrument in the world, have played an even greater part in the orchestra of battle in this than they have in past campaigns.

The piper, be he Highlander, or Lowlander, or Scot from Overseas, has accomplished the impossible—not rarely and under favourable conditions, but almost as a matter of routine; and to him not Scotland only but the British Empire owes more than they have yet appreciated.

In doing so he has sacrificed himself; and Scotland—and the world— must face the fact that a large proportion of the men who played the instrument and kept alive the old traditions have completed their self- imposed task. With 300 pipers killed and 600 wounded something must be done to raise a new generation of players; it is a matter of national importance that this should be taken in hand at once, and that the sons of those who have gone should follow in the footsteps of their fathers.

This is the best tribute that can be offered to them.

The Piobaireachd Society intend to institute a Memorial School of piping for this purpose, and all profits from the sale of this book will be handed over to their fund.

The compilation of the statistical portions of the work has involved correspondence with commanding officers, pipe presidents and pipe majors of many units in the Imperial armies; to them, for their enthusiastic assistance in obtaining information, is due the credit for the mass of detail that has been made available.

To the other contributors—authors, artists and poets—is due in large measure such success as may follow the publication of this work. They have helped a cause worthy of their efforts.

It is earnestly to be hoped that Scotland will rise to the occasion. To the compilers it has been a privilege to record the achievements of men— many of them personal friends—who contributed so largely to the success of their gallant regiments.

B. S. & J. G.


A History of the Pipes
The Pipes in the War, 1914-1918
  The Western Front
  The Last Stage
  Pipers in the Ranks
  Pipers on the March
  Pipe Tunes
  Individual Achievements
  Foreigners and the Pipes
  The Pipes in Captivity
Military Pipe Bands and Reform
Regimental Records
  The Scots Guards
  The Royal Scots
  The Royal Scots Fusiliers
  The King's Own Scottish Borderers
  The Cameronians (The Scottish Rifles)
  The Royal Highlanders (The Black Watch)
  The Highland Light Infantry
  The Seaforth Highlanders
  The Gordon Highlanders
  The Cameron Highlanders
  The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders
  The London Scottish
  The Tyneside Scottish
  The Middlesex Regiment
  The Liverpool Scottish
  The Royal Fusiliers
  The Argyllshire Mountain Battery
  The Ross and Cromarty Battery
  The Pipe Band of the 52nd (Lowland) Division
  Prisoners of War Band
  Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry
  The Royal Highlanders of Canada
  The 48th Highlanders of Canada
  The Canadian Scottish
  The Cameron Highlanders of Canada
  The 21st Canadians
  The 25th Canadians
  The 29th Canadians
  The 236th Canadians
  The Canadian Pioneers
  The 2nd Auckland Regiment
  The 42nd Australians
  The South African Scottish
Roll of Honour, 1914 - 1918
Canntaireachd. By Major J. P. Grant, MC., Yr. of Rothiemurchus
The Irish Pipes: Their History, Development and Divergence from the Simple Highland Type. By W. H. Gratton Flood, Mus D., K.S.G,
The Tuition of Young Regimental Pipers. By John Grant, Pipe Major
The Spirit of the MacCrimmons, By Fred T. MacLeod, FSA Scot
A Gossip about the Gordon Highlanders. By J. N. Bulloch
To The Lion Rampant. By Alice C. MacDonnell of Keppoch
The Music of Battle. By Philip Gibbs
The Pipes in the everyday Life of the War. By Arthur Fetterless
The Oldest Air in the World. By Neil Munro
The Pipes: Onset. By Joseph Lee, Lieut.
Flesh to the Eagles. By Boyd Cable
The Black Chanter. By Chartles Laing Ware
The Pipes. By Edmund Candler

See also some mini bios of Pipers competing in the
Glenfiddich Piping Championship (2020) (pdf)

Bagpipes at the Front
Pipers and Piping during Combat in the Great War By M. J. Grant (2005) (pdf)

The Archives
The National Piping Centre's Digital Archives & Research Hub

The National Piping Centre

The Piper In Peace And War
By C. A. Malcolm, M.A., Ph.D. (1927)

Callum Beaumont - Piobaireachd Winner
Glenfiddich Solo Piping Competition 2022

Royal Regiment of Scotland parade at Edinburgh Castle 2023
Edinburgh Castle on 25 March 2023
Regimental Remembrance Day

00:00:00 Green Hills of Tyrol/ When the Battle is O'er/ Scottish Soldier
00:02:52 The Brown Haired Maiden
00:04:39 Scottish Emblem
00:07:31 Garb of Old Gaul
00:08:43 The Thin Red Line
00:14:06 Atholl Highlanders/ Glendareul Highlanders
00:16:00 Highland Cathedral
00:19:35 Scotland the Brave/ Highland Laddie

When the Pipers Play
The original full length version of When The Pipers Play. Winner of four awards, this is the definitive history of the great Highland bagpipe in peace and war. Narrated by Hannah Gordon, Tom Conti and Charlton Heston this compelling story combines inspiring songs with stunning footage, bringing to then screen a unique insight into one of the world’s most popular instruments. [external link]

Bagpipes in War - Part 1
Instrument of War Part 1- 'Ladies From Hell' traces the story of the bagpipes in battle from biblical times to the carnage of the First World War. Ladies from Hell was a title given to the fierce kilted highlanders by their enemies. This award winning series is narrated by Tom Conti, Hannah Gordon and Charlton Heston and features the personal testimonies of veterans and guests including Prince Charles, Phil Collins, Sir Jackie Stewart and historians. [external link]

Bagpipes in War - Part 2: Call to the Blood
nstrument of War Part 2 - 'Call To The Blood' traces the effect of the bagpipe from the battlefields of WW2 to the present day. Its haunting sound awakens a distant past and the ‘Call To The Blood’ is strong. Narrated by Tom Conti, Hannah Gordon and Charlton Heston this award winning series features the personal testimonies of veterans and guests from historians to Prince Charles, Phil Collins and Sir Jackie Stewart. [external link]

Scottish Highland Bagpiper On D-Day 1944 WW2
Recollections of the landing.

Military piper begins commemorations in Normandy on 80th anniversary of D-Day
A military piper started commemorations for the 80th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy by playing a lament at sea at the exact moment of the beach invasion in 1944.

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