Highland Granite pays homage to St. Valery on 80th anniversary of ‘The Forgotten Battle’
The Battle of St. Valery is often referred to as “The Forgotten Battle” when, in 1940, more than 10,000 allied soldiers were taken prisoner. The 51st (Highland) Infantry Division suffered huge losses, with most of the 51st made up of men from the north of Scotland.
On June 10th, the eightieth anniversary of the battle, the charitable organization Poppy Scotland put out a call to pipers and other musicians from across Scotland to play “The Heroes of St Valery,” the famous retreat march by Donald MacLean.
With the Grade 2 Highland Granite comprising players mostly from the Inverness, Moray, Grampian and Banff & Buchan regions, the band is as close to the history of St. Valery as any.
Even with restrictions on playing full pipes and drums together in-person due to the coronavirus lockdown, the band assembled online to record “The Heroes of St Valery” with chanters and practice pads, creating a moving tribute to mark the day.
Donald MacLean was captured at St. Valery, along with fellow piping legends Donald MacLeod, John Wilson, and George McIntyre.
Highland Granite is a recent pipe band success story. The band was formed from scratch in 2018 and last year gained a sixth prize at the European Championships, along with finishing just shy of the list at the Scottish and British.