IN all my years of writing about piping and pipe bands there has never been a story as touching as that of Captain John Young, Assam Regiment and Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders.
He was the officer who, hopelessly outnumbered and fearing encirclement and massacre by the Japanese, sent his men to safety while he remained alone at his jungle outpost. Thus he fulfilled his orders to fight to the last man in order to stem the enemy’s advance. This in north-east India prior to the Battle of Kohima during WW2.
In the long annals of bravery in our armed forces, his sacrifice can seldom have been equalled. Yet Captain Young, from North Kelvinside, Glasgow, never received any decoration or military honour, and it was only fairly recently that the city council installed a pavement plaque outside his former Glasgow home in commemoration.
A few years ago I ran a competition for a tune to mark Capt. Young’s remarkable courage and it was won by P/M Peter MacInnes, himself a Falklands War hero with the Scots Guards.
What a pleasure it was to hear Peter’s tune played last Wednesday by the ‘Chevaliers’ group of pipers practising below us in the Royal Scottish Pipers’ Society Rooms in Edinburgh.
Here’s the music for the tune and a sound file of how it goes. I hope readers will agree that it should be heard more often:
We were in the RSPS rooms for the General Committee meeting of the Piobaireachd Society. Among the many things discussed were possible ways of remembering the life and work of the late Roderick Cannon. I am sure a suitable gesture will be forthcoming.
I hear that Crieff Highland Games are planning on restoring their solo piping contest in 2016. For the 2015 event they have hired a number of bands to provide the musical background to the day.
Book 16 in the Piobaireachd Society’s series will be formally launched at the Piping Centre during Piping Live. The short talk will be given by Society President Jack Taylor and three young pipers have agreed to play three of tunes from the book. The pipers are Darach Urquhart, who will play Colin MacRae of Inverinate’s Lament, Derek Midgley, Hector MacLean’s Warning and Ben Duncan (pictured top) Dr Norman MacLeod’s Lament.