Armistice Centenary and the Bagpipes – Arts Monday

One hundred years ago the Armistice of WW1 between the Allies and Germany came into effect at 11am on 11 November 1918. The guns fell silent on the Western Front and after more than four years of bloodshed and destruction, the war was finally over. The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month attained a special significance in the post-war years. The moment when hostilities ceased on the Western Front became universally associated with the remembrance of those who had died in the war. The allied nations chose this day and time for the commemoration of their war dead. After the end of the Second World War, the Australian and British governments changed the name to Remembrance Day as Armistice Day was no longer an appropriate title for a day which would commemorate all those who had died or suffered in all wars and armed conflicts.

To mark the Centenary of the Armistice (1918-2018) worldwide, pipe bands from many nations participated in the Battles O’er Tribute – over 100,000 bagpipers around the world played the same tune at exactly the same time, the appropriately named ‘When the Battle’s O’er’. When the Battle’s O’er was adopted after World War One as a tribute to more than 2000 British and Commonwealth pipers who lost their lives in battle during the war.

A poignant tribute to the soldiers killed and wounded in World War One was paid by more than 1000 pipers and drummers from Australian pipe bands on Remembrance Day when in more than 150 suburbs and communities across Australia, the haunting bagpipe tune When The Battle’s O’er was played at 5pm in NSW, Victoria, and Tasmania, 4.30pm Queensland, 3.30pm Northern Territory and 2pm Western Australia, at the exact time the Armistice was signed to end fighting in “the war to end all wars”.

Pipers Dr Ian Cameron and Frank Fraser OAM, of the Burwood RSL Sub-Branch Pipes & Drums, joined with their colleagues around the world in this momentous event. Frank Fraser has been playing the pipes since his primary school days, and in high school was in the first Australian Pipe Band to play at the Edinburgh Tattoo as Pipe Major of the Scots College Pipes & Drums  Throughout his distinguished piping career, Frank Fraser has been the Pipe Major of pipe bands that have played at major events in Australia and overseas, including the Combined RSL Centenary of ANZAC Pipes & Drums which toured the Western Front in Europe in 2016 and 2018.

Dr Ian Cameron was a piper in the Army Reserve for 30 years and was a member of both the Sydney University Regiment Pipes & Drums and the University of NSW Regiment. During his notable piping career, Ian Cameron has participated in many community events, including the Brigadoon Scottish Festival in the Southern Highlands, the Andre Rieu concerts in Sydney, and has represented Australia in combined pipe bands at commemorative events overseas.

Pipers, Dr Ian Cameron and Frank Fraser are my guests today.

I look forward to your company 10.30am – 12.00pm

Margaux

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