Battle’s O’er

Friday 8th May 2020 (Bank Holiday)

3pm – The Piping of Battle’s O’er and VE Day 75

Thousands of pipers around the world will play Battle’s O’er, a traditional air performed on the bagpipes at the end of a battle, and VE Day 75, a tune specially composed for this event (Which can be downloaded here). It was at 3pm on 8th May 1945 that British Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced that the war in Europe was over. You can take part by clicking on the Register button at the top of the page and entering your details.

Individual pipers will play this haunting air at the top of the four highest peaks in the UK – Ben Nevis, Scotland, Scafell Pike, England, Mount Snowdon, Wales and Slieve Donald, Northern Ireland.

Piper Alasdair MacRae has chosen to play Battle’s O’er on the Bridge over the River Kwai, as his personal tribute to the 180,000 and 250,000 Southeast Asian civilian labourers and about 61,000 Allied prisoners of war who were subjected to dreadful forced labour during its construction.

At the same time, thousands of other pipers will perform it at locations throughout the United Kingdom, Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and in countries such as Australia, Canada, the USA, Germany, South Africa, Belgium, Holland, France, Spain and Denmark. The tune will be played outside churches and cathedrals, in market squares and on high streets, in valleys, on town and village greens, in schools and colleges, in hospitals, on ships and in shops, hospitals, factories and offices. Pipers will briefly halt their working day to pay tribute and to reflect.

Josef McCauley, Phoebe Cole and Sashka lbramovna, three students from Great Yarmouth Charter Academy, Norfolk – the only academy in East Anglia to offer bagpipe lessons – will be among those taking part. With the support of head teacher Barry Smith, they are being taught to play the pipes by Jane MacRae, a member of Clan Hay and a piper with the City of Norwich Pipe Band, and Tom Foster, of the Great Yarmouth Pipe Band. Clan Hay, with the support of their Pipe Major and Chief, the Earl of Erroll, was the first clan in the world to confirm its participation and will play in locations around the world. It is the only clan with its own pipe band.

Message from Merlin Sereld Victor Gilbert Hay, 24th Earl of Erroll, Lord High Constable of Scotland, Lord Hay and Slains, 32nd Chief of the Clan Hay.

I call upon all pipers throughout the world to participate in marking this important milestone in history by taking part in a worldwide celebration on 8th May 2020 and playing the designated tunes at 3pm local time that afternoon as part of VE Day 75.

To take part click here to register your event and enter your details.

Piper Robert Procter & (above) Piper Robert Cunningham

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Charnwood Borough Council, 08-05-2020, Loughborough Market Place, Leicestershire, United Kingdom, Unknown at present
  • Kernow Pipes and Drums, 08-05-2020, War Memorial/ Harbour Quay, Cornwall, United Kingdom, Alexander Campbell McColl
  • Wolverton & Greenleys Town Council, 08-05-2020, to be advised , Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom, TBC
  • Colin King, 08-05-2020, Memorial gardens, Moore Park,Blackpool, Lancashire, United Kingdom, Colin King
  • Misson Community Association , 08-05-2020, Misson Community Centre, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom, Ed Arnold