Aberdeen’s Lord Provost has appealed for musicians and residents to take part in commemorations for the 80th anniversary of the “other Dunkirk” – the Battle of St Valery-en-Caux.
Pipers and musicians from across the world will play a tune from their doorsteps to honour the brave men who gave their lives during the battle at 10am on Friday.
The event has been organised by Poppyscotland, Legion Scotland and RCET – Scotland’s Armed Forces Children’s Charity.
Aberdeen Lord Provost Barney Crockett, who is also the Armed Forces champion for the city, said: “Nowhere feels more emotional about the memory of St Valery than Aberdeen, the home of the Gordon Highlanders.
“It’s so important you remember those who died and those who were taken prisoner.
“The Poppyscotland Heroes of St-Valery event gives us the opportunity to do so.
“At 10am on 12th June, pipers and other musicians from all over Scotland will play the retreat The Heroes of St Valery and I hope as many as possible will get right behind this event whether as musicians or sponsors and support the three charities who benefit.”
Neil McLennan, Aberdeen University director of leadership programmes and RCET director has been convening the St Valery 80th commemorations committee.
He said: “We have been overwhelmed by the response so far. There are pipers signed up from as far afield as Peru and Singapore, with scores more joining up every day. The world record for the largest ever piping ensemble saw 333 participants at an event in Bulgaria in 2012.
“Due to the global pandemic this will be a virtual rather than physical event, but, given the level of interest we have received to date, our hope is that it will be the largest mass playing of the pipes ever.
“The events at St Valéry in 1940 have never received the level of recognition we believe they should, but we hope this year’s commemoration will put that right and ensure the ‘Forgotten 51st’ are forgotten no more.
“As we can see, people across the world are moved by the story and want to commemorate together.”