Saturday, June 12, 2010

St. Valéry

A couple of months back I mentioned the 3/4 march my band is playing this season, P/M Donald MacLean's "Heroes of St. Valéry." The tune was very much on my mind today. It would have been a difficult tune to ignore, since we were competing, and used it to march out after both of our sets, but coincidentally, it was 70 years ago today that the 51st Highland Division was finally faced with surrender at St. Valéry.

There is a very good website-in-progress on the 51st Highland Division here, which includes some information about the events leading to the surrender and subsequent 5-year imprisonment of some 8,000 men. P/M MacLean's tune is not the only one with a title that stands as a memorial to the hardships they endured: there is also a hornpipe by John Wilson, who was, like MacLean and P/M Donald MacLeod, taken prisoner at St.Valéry . The tune, played by the composer, is the first listed on this page.

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