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The Wake & District Public Safety Pipes & Drums were in part modeled after what could be considered as the first public safety pipe band – the 3rd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland — also known as “The Black Watch“. Until recently designing our own cap badge – you might have recognized our initial cap badge – the badge of the 3rd Battalion Black Watch.

We wear a variation of the Royal Stewart Tartan; the Black Stewart.  The Royal Stewart tartan generally referred to simply as the Royal Tartan, has been associated with the Royal House of Stewart for several centuries. The Stewart monarchs were descended from Walter, High Steward of Scotland, who married Princess Marjory, daughter of King Robert the Bruce. Their son, King Robert II, was the first Stewart king. The male line of the Royal House of Stewart ended with the death of Prince Henry, brother of Prince Charles Edward. H.M. The Queen is chief of the Royal House of Stuart and “chief of chiefs”.  The Royal Stewart tartan is worn by pipers of the Black Watch. 

The band has always felt a kinship to this unit; one of our original members – Bud Barber, had a great grandfather who served in The Black Watch.

Our Drum Major posted a video referencing the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4V9M-dqqCXI) and one of our members, Lloyd Johnson started looking for more information about the Tomb and its history and located a website (http://www.tombguard.org) which appears to have been developed by a past Tomb Sentinel (the name given to the soldiers of the Old Guard, who hold watch at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier). It goes on to describe how the idea for the Tomb first came about:

“The idea of honoring the unknown dead originated in Europe after World War I. The first country to honor its unknown warriors from that war was Great Britain. While on the Western Front, Reverend David Railton thought of arranging for the body of one, unknown serviceman to be transported back to England, and buried with full honors. Mr. Railton tried to express why (he) felt this was so important. In a letter he recalled an incident near Armentieres, where he came across a grave with a rough wooden cross inscribed “An unknown British soldier, of the Black Watch”…

“How that grave caused me to think! But, who was he, and who were they [his folk]? Was he just a laddie? There was no answer to those questions, nor has there ever been yet. So I thought and thought and wrestled in thought. What can I do to ease the pain of father, mother, brother, sister, sweetheart, wife and friend? Quietly and gradually there came out of the mist of thought this answer clear and strong, “Let this body – this symbol of him – be carried reverently over the sea to his native land. And I was happy for about five or ten minutes.”

Just as the soldiers of Great Britain honored their war dead, just as the Old Guard continues to honor the Unknowns – from the very beginning we have worked to fulfill one singular purpose…to play For Our Fallen.

Lloyd felt it to be most appropriate and a reaffirmation of the band’s mission.  In finding we have been linked from the very beginning to the highest examples of honor and reverence in the entire world.

Our mission is clearly defined and it is absolute; For Our Fallen is everything we stand for.



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