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History, Tradition, Heritage As related to the subjects of piping, drumming and pipe bands.

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Old 01-16-2020, 08:30 AM   #11
DNorwood
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Default Re: Funeral piping for presidents and prime ministers

The BDF Archive is a wonderfully rich data source for many topics - including this one.
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Old 01-20-2020, 09:48 AM   #12
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Default Re: Funeral piping for presidents and prime ministers

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Originally Posted by CalumII View Post
I think that Churchill's coffin was piped from St Paul's to where it was embarked at Tower Bridge, but I can't find any detail on it.

See this Youtube video clip, at around 45 minutes in:

https://youtu.be/mUk_KD02E-w?t=2731
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Old 01-29-2020, 03:12 PM   #13
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Default Re: Funeral piping for presidents and prime ministers

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The Black Watch (pipers only) and the USAF P&D both played for the JFK funeral.

The BW pipers were in the funeral procession from the White House to St. Matthew's Cathedral. Rather than the usual funeral tunes, they were asked to play marches. They played The Brown Haired Maiden, The Badge of Scotland, 51st Highland Division, and Barren Rocks of Aden. They may have also played Green Hills of Tyrol, When the Battle's Over, and Old Rustic Bridge.

The USAF P&D marched past the gravesite playing "Mist Covered Mountains" in Arlington National Cemetery as the coffin was moved from the caisson to the grave site.
...
I remember hearing a recording of the funeral procession and being flabbergasted to hear a band of the caliber of the Black Watch playing dippy marches like "Brown Haired Maiden" instead of proper funeral music. I also believe Seumas MacNeill wrote a critical review of the piping at this event. There is however a detailed article where the last surviving piper of the Black Watch to have played there explains what actually happened. They had practiced funeral marches when the Pipe Major came in with the intel that they had been instructed to play tunes chosen by the Americans that, it was agreed, were inappropriate. I wonder who had the bright idea to ask them to play what they did. The article makes for a really good read and explains a lot: https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/s...e-band-2815461


(The image illustrating the article is mislabelled. It does not show the pipers at the funeral but is from the day of the earlier performance on the White House Lawn).


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Originally Posted by CalumII View Post
I think that Churchill's coffin was piped from St Paul's to where it was embarked at Tower Bridge, but I can't find any detail on it.

I believe they were the Pipes and Drums of three Lowland regiments. Churchill had been in the Royal Scots at one point and as I have read, his request for his state funeral was that there be as many bands as possible in it.
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Old 01-29-2020, 03:30 PM   #14
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Default Re: Funeral piping for presidents and prime ministers

There was piping at the 2002 funeral of Ray Hnatyshyn, Governor General of Canada. I saw part of the broadcast; I think his coffin was piped to the cathedral, I'm not sure if by a band or a lone piper, and I vaguely recall a lone piper playing "The Flowers of the Forest" at the end.



Here is a video of Ontario Lieutenant Governor Lincoln Alexander's 2012 funeral procession. At the beginning there is a massed band playing the Green Hills/Battle's O'er set. Later on, there is a combined military pipes-and-military-band playing "Scotland the Brave" and "The Soldier's Return" in not-quite-slow time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkM31UMGYlk



On the other hand, I don't know if there was any piping at any point during Governor General Romeo Leblanc's funeral (2009). In the procession, a Navy band marched playing Frederick Chopin's "Marche Funebre".
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Old 01-29-2020, 03:59 PM   #15
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Default Re: Funeral piping for presidents and prime ministers

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Is it a modern tradition for US presidents?

In the case of the USA it is my understanding that yes, this is a modern tradition that would have started with the piping at JFK's funeral. It would likely have also encouraged the proliferation of police and fire department pipe bands (the band of the New York City Police Department's Emerald Society was only formed in 1960, that is, three years before JFK's funeral, and according to Wikipedia was one of the first police pipe bands in that country).



We shouldn't forget the state funeral of the Duke of Wellington, victor of Waterloo, Commander-In-Chief of the British Army, and twice Prime Minister of the UK, in 1852. Here is one of a series of illustrations depicting the enormous procession he was given: https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/n...hoto/646326792


As I understand, this depicts the 93rd Sutherland Highlanders. Note that the pipers already have somewhat distinct garb (Balmoral-type bonnets as opposed to feather bonnets), but red tunics, not green (accurate for that regiment for the period), that the military band and drummers march ahead of them, and there are only six pipers as opposed to a large military band. I wonder if, in real life, they actually marched so close together and, if so, whether the band and the pipers would have attempted to play music together?
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Old 02-03-2020, 06:47 PM   #16
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Default Re: Funeral piping for presidents and prime ministers

That dress is in line with illustrations I've seen of around the same period showing 93rd pipers in scarlet doublets and blue bonnets



Note that pipers of a number of regiments were wearing doublets (a purely civilian style) well before they were introduced for all Highland soldiers in 1855.
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Old 02-05-2020, 02:50 AM   #17
erracht
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Default Re: Funeral piping for presidents and prime ministers

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That dress is in line with illustrations I've seen of around the same period showing 93rd pipers in scarlet doublets and blue bonnets



Note that pipers of a number of regiments were wearing doublets (a purely civilian style) well before they were introduced for all Highland soldiers in 1855.
Indeed, as portrayed in Cunliffe's fine study of Pipe Major James Wilson (1852 or 1853).



Interestingly, around 1845, the pipers of this regiment wore a full MacGregor Red and Black (Rob Roy) tartan uniform owing to a MacGregor commanding officer.

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Last edited by erracht; 02-05-2020 at 02:56 AM.
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Old 02-09-2020, 09:59 PM   #18
Barry Shears
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Default Re: Funeral piping for presidents and prime ministers

Great info, thanks to everyone who took the time to post
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Old 03-07-2020, 02:29 AM   #19
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Default Re: Funeral piping for presidents and prime ministers

Not exactly on topic, but I have on videotape from TV broadcast the Queen's Piper, I believe, playing as Princess Diana's funeral procession passed by his station (don't recall where this was) -- and I was surprised that his instrument didn't seem in good shape that day, or he was a bit off in his fingering. It wasn't the seamless performance I would have expected. Maybe someone else has more information, or a link to a clip.


Anyway, here's a picture of the Black Watch pipers at JFK's funeral, fom a contemporary National Geographic magazine.
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Old 03-07-2020, 02:57 AM   #20
erracht
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Default Re: Funeral piping for presidents and prime ministers

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Not exactly on topic, but I have on videotape from TV broadcast the Queen's Piper, I believe, playing as Princess Diana's funeral procession passed by his station (don't recall where this was) -- and I was surprised that his instrument didn't seem in good shape that day, or he was a bit off in his fingering. It wasn't the seamless performance I would have expected. Maybe someone else has more information, or a link to a clip.

It wasn't the Queen's Piper but a citizen who took it upon himself to show up and play "Abide With Me" when the funeral procession was near to him. No bands were included in the military escort and it was entirely his own initiative. I believe he did this again at the end of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother's funeral (at which massed pipe bands had played a prominent role).
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