Bagpipers unite

Piper Iain Townsley at the Mount Evelyn War Memorial Gardens.

 Mount Evelyn piper Iain Townsley joined hundreds of others around the world to play the same song at the same time on Remembrance Day.

He performed The Battle’s O’er at the Mount Evelyn War Memorial Gardens at 5pm on Sunday 11 November – exactly 100 years since the Armistice was signed to end World War I.

Mr Townsley said bagpipers in at least 150 places internationally joined him.

The Allies and Germany signed a ceasefire at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 to bring four years of warfare to an end.

Pipe Bands Australia worked with the Glasgow-based College of Piping to help spearhead the international commemoration.

The group encouraged Australian pipers, drummers and bands to liaise with their local RSLs, councils and other community organisations for suitable locations for the special commemoration.

The Mail caught up with Mr Townsley at Mount Evelyn RSL’s early Remembrance Day service for local schools, on Friday 9 November.

He said he was a late starter in bagpiping terms, first picking up the instrument at age 53.

“I always wanted to do it and never had an opportunity until I retired,” he said.

They 70-year-old grew up in Scotland.

“My grandfather used to take me to the British Legion Scotland and I’d listen to the pipers practicing,” he said.

Mr Townsley will receive a commemorative certificate from Pipe Bands Australia for his participation on the final day of Centenary of Anzac activities, in honour of those pipers and drummers who served in WWI and particularly those who paid the supreme sacrifice.

In addition to the school service and his participation in the commemoration, on Remembrance Day Mr Townsley also performed at Mount Evelyn RSL’s 11am service and in an ARK Theatre concert featuring sketches, songs and poems that shared what happened locally during WWI.