Plea for pipers around the world to mark Falklands anniversary

Pipers across the world are being asked to come together and play on their doorsteps, in their streets, or on a hillside, to remember those who were killed and wounded in the Falklands War.

On April 2 1982, Argentine forces invaded the islands, which had been in British hands since the 19th century, sparking the sending of a Royal Navy task force south to recapture them.

A naval and land campaign followed which resulted in the recapture of the islands on June 14, although at the cost of 255 British lives. About 650 Argentines died in the conflict.

Today, Falklands veteran Graham Hopewell and Scots Guards Lance Sergeant Mark Macrae launched the call for musicians to take part in the commemoration event.

Photo issued by Poppyscotland of Lance Sergeant Mark Macrae (right) and Graham Hopewell, former drummer with the Scots Guards as they joined military charities Legion Scotland and Poppyscotland call for pipers to come together to pay tribute on the 40th anniversary of the Falklands conflict

They are asking pipers to perform the Crags of Mount Tumbledown, a march composed by a Scottish soldier while under Argentine fire on the Falklands hill, at 11am on June 18 as part of a day of national commemorations.

And, as well as pipers across the country playing the march, the same day will see a parade and service of remembrance in Edinburgh to mark the 40th anniversary of the end of the 74-day conflict.

Mr Hopewell, who is now an undertaker, said he felt “honoured” to play in the anniversary commemorations. “It’s important that we remember all those who lost their lives,” he said.

“The Falklands has always stayed with me. I was one of the lucky ones, but I think everyone was affected by it in some way. When I came back, I had no one to talk to about it and I found it hard getting my head round it all,” said the 59-year-old, from Ayrshire.

He was a 19-year-old drummer with the Scots Guards when he was sent to help recapture the Falklands, and remembers fighting in bleak, freezing conditions, and losing close friends in battle.

Mr Hopewell and Lance Sergeant Macrae have joined military charities, Legion Scotland and Poppyscotland, to take part in the event which will see the famous march played.

Lance Sergeant Macrae, who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as travelling the world with the Scots Guards Pipes and Drums, said: “I’m very proud of what Graham and the others have done for us, and I’d encourage other pipers around the world to join us in paying tribute.”

The Crags of Mount Tumbledown was composed during the final battle of the war in June 1982.

Claire Armstrong, chief executive of Legion Scotland, said she hoped “pipers in every part of Scotland, as well as the rest of the world” will join in the event.