N.B. man still plays bagpipes that led soldiers into battle during WWI and WWII
Published Saturday, November 10, 2018 12:14PM AST
MONCTON, N.B. -- The sound of bagpipes have a long military history of leading soldiers in and out of battle, and a New Brunswick man has a set that was played in both World Wars.
The story begins with Hugh Goldie’s great grandfather, Peter Goldie, a First World War piper with the Royal Scots 16th Battalion.
“He went to the battle of the Somme and his regiment went into the battle of the Somme, there was 810 soldiers and 482 were injured or killed,” said Goldie
“The piper would set the pace and off they’d go towards the trenches or whatever and when they got to the trenches to instill bravery in the soldiers, the piper would get up on top of the trenches and start playing.”
Goldie’s grandfather was one of the lucky ones to make it out, and he brought his pipes with him.
They were eventually passed them along to his son, Hugh, who brought them back into battle as a piper with a rifle regiment of the British Army during the Second World War.
Hugh didn’t leave the war alive after succumbing to tuberculosis, but the pipes remained in the family.
“He passed the bagpipes on to my father who was a tail gunner in a Lancaster who had no interest in playing the bagpipes, so he put them in the attic and they stayed in the attic from 1944 until 1961 when I received them,” said Goldie.
Goldie has had them ever since, today he is a member of the RCMP J Division pipe band. But, he wasn’t aware that he’s been playing a piece of history for the last 6 decades, only finding out about the true tale of the pipes after the death of his father.
“I always call these people the secret heroes and the silent heroes because my father never spoke about the war until we found his log books. We were never given these photographs until my dad died. to research this and to know that these pipes had some part of, obviously, the freedom that we have is absolutely fantastic,” he said.
Goldie’s collection goes beyond his pipes and photos; he came across some Christmas time correspondence from the front line in 1918, between his grandfather and the woman who would become his grandmother.
“You can see the regimental crest on it. So these cards never indicated where they were or what they were doing. They were very quiet and secretive about what was actually happening on the front line,” said Goldie.
Goldie hopes to one day pass the bagpipes on to another member of his family so the pipes can play on just like they have since the guns of war fell silent.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Jonathan MacInnis