Duns soldier welcomes new piper memorial

Pipe Major Scott Methven gives the sculpture a last minute clean.
Pipe Major Scott Methven gives the sculpture a last minute clean.

Generations of soldiers from the Borders have gone into battle to the skirl of the pipes and now a new memorial honours pipers killed in action.

The monument takes the form of an eight-foot bronze sculpture of an army piper sitting atop a cairn outside Redford Barracks in Edinburgh’s Colinton area.

The statue has now been unveiled in the memorial garden created after soldiers stationed at the Army School of Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming started fundraising following the death of a comrade in Afghanistan.

Sculptor Alan Herriot’s figure recognises the sacrifice made by all the army pipers killed in war – 500 pipers and drummers died in the Great War alone.

Weighing 300kg, the bronze sculpture is based on a number of piping instructors currently serving at the piping school, and is attired in a non-regimental specific uniform to represent all of the army pipers. It joins one of a drummer already sited in the garden.

The school’s director, Major Steven Small, from Duns, said throughout history pipers and drummers had been inspiring their comrades under the most testing of circumstances.

Major Small* added: “Their honour is now formally recognised and properly remembered.

“It is with great pride that we see this fitting tribute to pipers and drummers completed.”

And the new memorial has also been welcomed by a former senior officer of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, Col Colin Hogg, from near Jedburgh, who explained that pipers had a unique role in Scottish regiments.

He said: “They were always soldiers first and pipers second, but most people will be more familiar with the image of the piper leading troops over the top, like Piper Laidlaw of the KOSB, who won the VC in the First World War.

“And so I think it’s very fitting that this splendid new memorial is at the home of army bagpiping in Edinburgh, and it is wonderful to see such a marvellous tribute.”