New book celebrates the Black Watch pipe band

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THE history of the first ever British army pipe band, formed by Scotland’s most famous regiment, is celebrated in a book launched yesterday.

The Black Watch formed its pipe band in 1739, introducing piping into the British Army for the first time.

The regiment remained at the forefront of that tradition for more than 260 years, until its merger with the other Scottish regiments to form the Royal Regiment of Scotland in 2006.

Pipe music was originally played as Highland soldiers went into battle, raising their spirits and striking fear into the hearts of their enemy.

The Pipes and Drums of the Black Watch have carried out 11 band tours to North America. They were often accompanied by the Band of the Black Watch, and in 1963 they played at the White House for US president John F Kennedy, eight days before his assassination. The Pipes and Drums then played at his state funeral.

The Band of the Black Watch was disbanded in the early 1990s, but the Pipes and Drums are still a favourite at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

The book, The Collection of Pipe Music of The Black Watch [Royal Highland Regiment], was compiled by Colonel Sandy Cram, Pipe Major Alistair Duthie, Sir Alistair Irwin and Pipe Major Scott Taylor. It is a collection of more than 250 tunes.