Poignant tribute at Aboyne Games

The Somme Battlefield Pipe Band who will perform at next month's Aboyne Highland Games
The Somme Battlefield Pipe Band who will perform at next month's Aboyne Highland Games

A pipe band formed to commemorate the sacrifice of Scottish soldiers who fought in northern France during both world wars will perform a poignant tribute at next month’s Aboyne Highland Games.

The Somme Battlefield Pipe Band will join the pipes and drums traditionally gathered on Aboyne Green on Saturday, August 3.

The French group, founded in 1989 and made up of 27 pipers and drummers, is visiting the games as part of a two-week Scottish tour to celebrate its 30th anniversary.

Comprised of volunteers, the band aims to promote the music and history of Scottish soldiers and their regiments during their time in Northern France and the Somme area between 1914 and 1918, and during World War II.

The band’s visit to Aboyne will acknowledge the contribution that men from the local area made to Britain’s war effort during both conflicts.

Five of Aboyne’s sons, who are listed on the village’s war memorial, died during the months of the Battle of the Somme.

Along with performing throughout the day, the Somme pipe band will close the event by performing Beating Retreat.

They will play as the Chieftain’s banner is lowered.

Games chairman Alistair Grant said: “We are very honoured that the Somme Battlefield Pipe Band will be joining us at this year’s games.

“It is 100 years since the games resumed after six long years in abeyance during World War I.

“The skirl of the bagpipes would have provided a happy clarion call to visitors to signal the recommencement of proceedings, so it is fitting the band is joining us a century on.”

He added: “Aboyne lost many of its sons during both world wars and it is heartening to know that their sacrifice, and that of so many others, is remembered by the men and women of the Somme Battlefield Pipe Band.

“We salute their ongoing act of remembrance to those who fell far from their homes.

“As the sound of the band’s pipes and drums echo around the arena while the chieftain’s banner is lowered, drawing the games to a close, it will be a very poignant moment of reflection for many.”

Aboyne Highland Games, founded in 1867, is one of the North-east’s leading traditional events.

Last year, the event welcomed nearly 10,000 visitors – many from overseas – to watch a packed programme of events.

These included solo and massed piping, Highland dancing, light and heavy athletics, tug o’ war and fiddle competitions.

Events get under way at 10.30am and run throughout the afternoon.