Chelmsford Cathedral
Battle's Over

Calling all pipers!

With this year’s Remembrance Day ceremonies only just finished, bagpiper Jonathan Swan is already looking ahead to the events to mark next year’s centenary.

“The Battle’s Over: a Nation’s Tribute” is a national event to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, on 11th November 2018.

Bruno Peek, LVO, OBE is the Pageant Master and is drawing on his skills and experience of organising the VE Day 70th Anniversary and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee to bring the country together in a national commemoration of the sacrifice of millions of men and women.

Bruno hopes that 1,000 bagpipers will begin the day’s events by playing the tune “When the Battle’s Over” from churches, town halls, war memorials and locations all around the country at 6 am precisely.

“As soon as I heard that bagpipers were involved I decided I had to join in,” says local historian Jonathan, 55. “It wasn’t hard to think of a venue,” he added, “The tower of Chelmsford Cathedral would be perfect.”  Jonathan was able to convince the Dean, the Very Revd. Nicholas Henshall, to give his blessing to his plan.

“We then discussed the possible involvement of other churches in the diocese and, of course, other faiths across all of Essex but we realised that there could well be more venues than pipers,” said Jonathan.

“Luckily I was able to draw on my contacts at the Essex Caledonian Pipe Band and the Britannia Pipe Band and discuss our plans with them.” Jonathan, of Broomfield Road, wants to form a pool of pipers to help manage the process of linking pipers to churches and community groups across the county.

Andy Butler, of the Essex Caledonians, was the first to give his support. “We expect that there will be a big demand for our pipers on the day, so it will be first come, first served, and our members will do their best to help.”

Craig Davison, of the Britannia Pipe Band in Mountnessing, is similarly keen to get involved. “We have members from across the county who would be willing to play at local venues for this great event.”

Jonathan adds “We know that there are a number of bagpipe players in Essex who are not members of a band. We would like to invite them to put themselves forward.”

Chelmsford’s new deputy lieutenant, Stephen Bennett DL, hopes that the piping will mark the start to the day’s events in the city and around Essex. “There will be civic ceremonies at our war memorials, and at 7 pm, following the playing of Last Post, there will be a thousand Beacons of Light lit across the country.”

If you are a past or present bagpiper and would like to volunteer, or if you would like to host a piper for the event, please contact Jonathan at

To find out how you can get involved with the other “Battle’s Over” events, download your guide to taking part from


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