September 15, 2015

Highland RFCA was fortunate enough to bag seats for the amazing Highland Military Tattoo at Fort George.

The show, which ran from September 11-13, was a cracker and gave the Royal Military Tattoo in Edinburgh a serious run for its money. That’s quite an achievement given that the show is only in its second year. HRFCA was there with local employers.

This year’s themes included vignettes to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo and the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Loos.

The Waterloo vignette brought to life the heroic deeds of Piper Kenneth Mackay from Sutherland. He had roused the troops by playing Cogadh No Sith (War or Peace) outwith the Cameron Highlanders square, an act of bravery which inspired King George III to present him with special pipes after the battle. His part was excellently played by Pipe Major Martin MacDonald.

Waterloo also featured seven horses used to great effect in a recreation of the battle’s dramatic scenes. The riders re-enacted the charge of The Scots Greys supported by The Gordon Highlanders and the capture of a French standard by Sergeant Ewart of the Greys. They were supported by re-enactment group Battlescar.

The Battle of Loos vignette saw Pipe Sergeant John Harvey of The Royal Scots Borderers atmospherically recreate the role of Piper Daniel Laidlaw. Piper Laidlaw, who won the VC for his bravery, marched up and down the parapet and played his company out of the trench and into combat. He was joined by re-enactment groups The Gordon Highlanders 1914-1918, The Flanders Jocks, Gordons Living History and the 2nd Gordon Highlanders 1914-1918 (USA) group from America.

Musical highlights included a fine performance from the Stadacona Band of the Royal Canadian Navy who are based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The bands of The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and The Highland Youth Pipe Band were both newcomers to the event. Both were excellent.

Also appearing was the Military Band of the Royal Regiment of Artillery. The regiment played a key role at Waterloo, which provided a great link to one of the show’s themes.

Pipes and Drums came courtesy of The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, The Black Watch 3rd Battalion of The Royal Regiment of Scotland, The Highlanders 4th Battalion RRS, 2622 (Highland) Squadron RAuxAF, RAF Lossiemouth, Forres Pipe Band, Highlanders ACF, City of Inverness Youth Pipe Band, Gordounstoun School Pipe Band and ‘snas.

A great night was had by all and it looks like the event – directed by Major General Seymour Monro and produced by Major Bruce Hitchings – will become a regular fixture at Fort George and, given the quality of this year’s effort, it’s surely one not to be missed in 2016.

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