Day 86 - The Heroes Of St Valery

At 10am this morning, pipers across the country are invited to perform The Heroes Of St Valery to commemorate 80 years since the 51st Highland Division's brave rearguard action ended in surrender in the French port of Saint-Valéry-en-Caux.

While most of the British Expeditionary Force retreated to Dunkirk and were famously rescued by a makeshift fleet of small craft, the Highland regiments (including the Black Watch) who comprised the Division fought alongside French troops and were eventually encircled by German forces under the command of Erwin Rommel. Professor Gary West of Edinburgh's School Of Scottish Studies tells us about the conflict and the tune itself before ending this short video by performing it.

You can learn much more about the 51st Highland Division at St Valery here.

From Pitlochry, Professor Gary West is Director of the European Ethnological Research Centre at the School Of Scottish Studies in Edinburgh University. A gifted piper, he was a key part of the groundbreaking Vale Of Atholl Pipe Band under the direction of Ian and Gordon Duncan during the 1980's. He went on to play with folk bands Ceolbeg and Clan Alba and in recent years has released acclaimed solo albums amongst many other musical projects and collaborations. He has also presented BBC Radio Scotland's weekly piping programme, Pipeline, since 2003.

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