Regimental Marches of the Commonwealth A B



A Galloping 8th Hussar

8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars / Queen’s Own Royal Irish Hussars / Queen’s Royal Hussars

Originally raised in 1693 as Cunningham’s Dragoons, the 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars had used this quick step under this title that included St. Patrick’s Day. In 1958 the regiment amalgamated with the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars to form the Queen’s Own Royal Irish Hussars. The march was retained in an arrangement titled RQM of The Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars (a combination of St. Patrick’s Day and Berkeley’s Dragoons) by Bandmaster James Cooper, the first bandmaster of the new regiment. In 1993 the regiment was amalgamated with the Queen’s Own Hussars to form The Queen’s Royal Hussars with the regimental march being an arrangement of the predecessor regiments marches.

A Hundred Pipers

1st Bn, The Royal New Brunswick Regiment / 1st Bn, The Royal New Brunswick Regiment (Carleton and York) / 2nd Bn The Queen’s Regiment / 10th Princess Mary’s Own Gurkha Rifles / 48th Highlanders of Canada / 49th (Sault-Ste-Marie) Field Artillery Regiment / 50th Regiment of Foot / 101st Regiment Edmonton Fusiliers / Carleton and York Regiment / Cheshire Regiment / Edmonton Fusiliers / Essex and Kent Scottish / Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment

The 1745 Jacobite Rebellion in Scotland by Highland clansmen and their support of Charles Edward Stuart began movement to regain their land from the British overlords. Stuart landed in the Hebrides in July and began to move against and captured Edinburgh a short time later. His army now close to 2000 strong crossed the border and captured the town of Carlisle on the Solway Firth. In November he entered the town with a hundred pipers leading the way and thus giving the tune its name.

            The song was first published around 1851 under the title The Hundred Pipers by Wood & Co. of Edinburgh. The probable first edition refers to the song as the Celebrated Jacobite Song arranged and sung by a Miss Rainforth although it is generally believed that the arrangement was by Lady Naire.

            In England prior to 1868 the 50th Regiment of Foot had been using Garry Owen for a regimental march. A year after taking command Lt. Col. H.E. Weare CB, for reasons unknown, introduced this Scottish tune as the new regimental march. The march was passed onto The Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment that became, in 1966, the 2nd Bn The Queen’s Regiment. At this time it was combined with The Buffs to form the new regimental march arranged by Bandmaster Lynes. However when amalgamation came again creating The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment the march was discontinued in favour of Soldiers of the Queen.

            The Cheshire Regiment used the tune combined with and old Cheshire air The Miller of the Dee to form the Assembly while the 10th Princess Mary’s Own Gurkha Rifles adopted as a quick march.

            In Canada the Essex and Kent Scottish continue it’s use in combination with Heilan Laddie as a regimental march; The 1st Battalion, The Royal New Brunswick Regiment use the tune as a battalion march that was retained from in 1954 from it’s predecessors the 1st Battalion, The Royal New Brunswick Regiment (Carleton and York) and before that the Carleton and York Regiment; the 49th (Sault-Ste-Marie) Field Artillery Regiment selected this march as an alternative for their Pipes and Drums due to the fact that British Grenadier and The Royal Artillery Slow March do not lend themselves to the bagpipes; and the 48th Highlanders of Canada as a Headquarters March. The Edmonton Fusiliers used the march from the formation in 1924 until their1946 amalgamation with the 19th Alberta Dragoons that formed the 19th Armoured Car Regiment (Edmonton Fusiliers). The march had been past on to the Edmonton Fusiliers from the 101st Regiment Edmonton Fusiliers during the 1920 reorganization.

A Hunting Call

2nd Bn Royal Leicestershire Regiment / 4th Battalion, Royal Anglian Regiment / 17th (Leicestershire) Foot (3rd Militia Bn)

The 17th (Leicestershire) Foot selected this old Leicestershire hunting song due to the association with the county. Prior to this it had been used by their 3rd Militia Battalion and was passed onto the new 2nd Battalion, The Royal Leicestershire Regiment. It is interesting to note that the regiment had been using 1772 and later Romaika. During the 1960 amalgamation and formation of the 4th Battalion, Royal Anglian Regiment the use of the march ceased in favour to the new Speed the Plough and Rule Britannia.

A Hunting We Will Go / Drink Puppy Drink

The Royal Army Veterinary Corps

The Royal Army Veterinary Corps was formed in 1906 as the Army Veteran Corps from the Army Veterinary Department and the Army Veterinary Corps. The quick march is an arrangement of A Hunting We Will Go and Drink Puppy Drink. A Hunting We Will Go is an old British tradition of fox hunting has produced a wide variety of songs. This version, with words by Henry Fielding, gives a short description of the hunt. Drink Puppy Drink, both music and words, was composed by G. J. Whyte-Melville in 1874 and was adopted in 1906 after the formation of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps.

A Kiss But Nothing More

The 12th Royal Lancers

This quick march was used by The 12th Royal Lancers that began in 1715 and by 1742 was numbered the ‘12th. In 1786 they converted to Light Dragoons and were granted the title 12th or Prince of Wales’s Light Dragoons’. After the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815 some British light dragoon regiments were changed over to Lancers and the 12th did this in 1816. They were granted the title ‘Royal’ and later became the 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s) but the march was not retained at that time.

A l’assaut

4th Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group

In April 1949 The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was established to secure the Western Europe countries, the United States and Canada in a common defense alliance against the Soviet Union and its Eastern European allies. As the Second World War ended allies suddenly became enemies the Soviet Union had emerged as a greatest power in Europe and created what Churchill would call the ‘Iron Curtain’.  Canada committed valuable resources over four decades in support and a great respect for our professionalism was earned. By 1990, the future of NATO and of the Warsaw Pact was in question. The fall of the Communist governments in some the Warsaw Pact countries and the removal of the Berlin Wall changed the political and military balance between Eastern and Western Europe.

            The 4th Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group used this march as a quickstep. Before the Canadian Forces began its withdrawal from Europe at the beginning of the 1990’s, it was responsible for the land components of Canadian Forces located throughout Europe. This march, composed by R. Gonyea, reflects the role it was ready to carry out and the strong sense of pride within the Canadian units making up the command. By 1995, Canadian Forces Europe, as it finally became known, would cease to exist, thus ending an important and proud era of Canadian military history.

A Life on the Ocean Wave

13th/18th Royal Hussars / East Surrey Regiment / HM Royal Marines


HM Royal Marines have used the tune since 1889 as a Regimental March. Its arrangement is the combination of two tunes: the short central section is The Sea by Sigismund Neukomm and the other is Henry Russell’s tune A Life on the Ocean Wave. His version came forward in 1881 when Major General Sir Charles Adair KCB called upon each of the bandmasters from the various Marine divisions to compose a march and if possible base it on a naval tune. In 1882 the march was authorized by the War Office but the Admiralty approval was not given until 1920. Bandmaster Kappey’s version was Victorian styled and in 1944 Major Ricketts was requested to modernize the march and since then the Marines have used this arrangement.

            Epes Sargent, who wrote the words in 1838, was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts and worked as journalist while residing in Boston. He left a history of the song: “A Life on the Ocean Wave was written for Henry Russell. The subject of the song was suggested to me as I was walking, one breezy, sun-bright morning in spring, on the Battery, in New York, and looking out upon the ships and the small craft under full sail. Having completed my song and my walk together, I went to the office of the Mirror, wrote out the words, and showed them to my good friend, George P. Morris. After reading the piece, he said: “My dear boy, this is not a song; it will never do for music; but it a very nice little lyric; so let me take it and publish it in the Mirror.”  I consented, and concluded that Morris was right. Some days after the publication of the piece, I meet Russell. ‘Where is that song? Asked he said “I tried my hand at one and failed,’ said I. ‘How do you know that?’ ‘Morris tells me it won’t answer.’ ‘And is Morris infallible? Hand me the piece, young man, and let us go into Hewitt’s back room here, at the corner of Park Place and Broadway, and see what we can make out of your lines.”

            “We passed through the music store, Russell seated himself at the piano; read over the line attentively; hummed an air or two to himself; than ran his fingers over the keys, then stopped as if onnplussed. Suddenly a bright idea seemed to dawn upon him; a melody had all at once floated into his brain, and he began to hum it, and to sway himself to its movement. Then striking the keys tentatively a few times, he at last confidently launched into the air since known as A Life on the Ocean Wave. ‘I’ve got it!’ he exclaimed. It was all the work of a few minutes. I pronounced the melody a success, and it proved so. The copyright of the song became very valuable, though I never got anything from it myself. It at once became a favorite, and soon the bands were playing it in the streets. A year or two after its publication, I received from England copies of five or six editions that had been issued by completing publishers.””

The East Surrey Regiment began as Colonel George Villier’s Regiment of Marines from 1702 until 1714. In 1825 the sailed to India as the 31st Foot but part of the battalion became shipwrecked in the Bay of Biscay and the survivors taken back to Chatham, where the Royal Marines took charge of their welfare. To express this relationship between a navy regiment and an army regiment each agreed to play each other marches before their own on domestic occasions. In 1942 on the initiative of the Royal Marines, permission was given to the Regiment to officially play the march.

            The 13th/18th Royal Hussars adopted its use to commemorate their role in the Normandy Landings in 1944. In their version, the first phase of the tune is played before the Balaclava March.

A Man’s a Man for That

48th Highlanders of Canada / Royal Canadian Regiment / Scots Guards

This is Burn’s most famous political song and the music by Earl Robinson has been popular since the mid 18th century. It is also known as Is There Honest Poverty and For A’ That and A’ That. According to The Robert Burns Songbook the tune was based on Lady Macintosh’s Reel, from Bremner’s “Reels” (1759) and appeared in the Scots Musical Museum Vol. 3 #290. Burns had used the tune earlier for Tho’ Women’s Minds and prior to that Burns had used it for the melody for the song I am a Bard of no regard.  This Burns song, proclaiming the equality of man, was sung at the opening of the first Scottish Parliament for nearly 300 years, on 1 July, 1999.

            Several regiments continue the use of the music such as the Scots Guards (2nd Battalion F Company), the Royal Canadian Regiment (Orders Parade) and the 48th Highlanders of Canada (orders Parade and Piping-in a Haggis).

A Rifleman Am I

43rd Regiment of Foot / Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (43rd AND 52nd)

Up to 1863 the 43rd Regiment of Foot used the tune I’m Ninety-Five as a quickstep however changed later that year to music from Conradin Kreutzer’s opera Das Nachtlager von Granada. At that time new words were written and the title changed to A Rifleman Am I. The regiment began in 1741 as Fowle’s Regiment of Foot and was selected by Sir John Moore for conversion to Light Infantry and saw service at Quebec and the Battle Bunker Hill in 1759.

            In 1881 the 43rd (Das Nach Lager von Grenada) and 52nd (Lower Castle Yard) were combined to form the Oxfordshire Light Infantry with the 43rd becoming the 1st Battalion and the 52nd the second. The marches of the respected regiment remained unchanged. Later in 1908 title changed to the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (43rd AND 52nd). In 1966 the regiment was renamed the 1st Green Jackets with the King’s Royal Rifle Corps and the Rifle Brigade becoming the 2nd and 3rd Green Jackets. The march was discontinued when a new one was composed in 1965 titled Royal Green Jackets by Bandmaster Ray Pinkney that is a combination of Huntsman’s Chorus and The Italian Song.

A Southerly Wind and a Cloudy Sky

15th Alberta Light Horse / 15th Canadian Light Horse / 19th Alberta Armoured Car Regiment (Edmonton Fusiliers / 31st (Alberta) Reconnaissance Regiment / Alberta Mounted Rifles / East Surrey Regiment / South Alberta Light Horse / South Alberta Regiment

The 1st Battalion, East Surrey Regiment was formed when the 31st (Huntingdonshire) Regiment merged with the 70th (Surrey) Regiment in 1881. The march was adopted from an old hunting song and may have been chosen as the 31st cap badge displayed a huntsman figure. After several amalgamations the regiment finally became the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment and at that time the march was discontinued in favour of Soldiers of the Queen.

In Canada the march was pasted onto the used by The South Alberta Light Horse on their formation from the amalgamation of the South Alberta Light Horse and two artillery units. The 15th Alberta Light Horse adopted the march on their 1936 formation form the 15th Canadian Light Horse and the South Alberta Regiment. The march was used until they converted to artillery in 1946.

The 31st (Alberta) Reconnaissance Regiment was formed in 1942 and adopted the march through it affiliation with other Alberta unit. The regiment was formed from members of the 15th Alberta Light Horse, the 19th Alberta Dragoons and other Militia units in Alberta. Created for wartime purpose it was disbanded at the end of WW2.

It was also used by the Alberta Mounted Rifles until their 1936 amalgamation to form the 19th Alberta Rifles and later dragoons. The march was not adopted during this time in favour of John Peel. The 19th Alberta Armoured Car Regiment was formed in 1946 but reverted back 19th Alberta Dragoons in 1954 and in 1965 was put on the Supplementary Order of Battle.

This march demonstrates the value of simplicity and the effective use of the 6/8 tempo. The A section provides a good measure of quarter note figures followed by sixteenth notes that is a good rhythmic feature for stepping out on the march.

The Acorn

Boy Entrants Scheme / RAF Station Cosford

The title of this march is taken from a tale in which Charles II hid under an oak tree during the English Civil War. An acorn dropped from the tree and at that location the famous Boscabel Oak is reputed to have grown. It was this story that gave the inspiration and the name for this march. It was especially composed for the ceremonial graduation parades of Boy Entrants at RAF Station Cosford.

            The composer was Flying Officer H. E. Wheeler, the Director of Music of No. 1 Regional Band located at RAF Station Cosford. Wheeler dedicated the march to the Boy Entrants Scheme and for its first public performance invited nine hundred boys to attend. To find a suitable title for the march he asked them to make suggestions. Among the four hundred submitted The Acorn was finally selected for not only is Cosford within the vicinity of the Boscabel Oak, but an acorn also figures in the device of the Station Badge.

Action Support

Army Benevolent Fund

The Army Benevolent Fund is the soldiers’ charity and since the end of the WW2 has financed the support and practical advice to soldiers, former soldiers and their families in times of need. Each year the fund raises money to continue assisting members of the ‘Army Family’. The money is divided between individuals in need and 80 smaller charities that look after the special needs of the Army Community.

Adjutant General Corps Quick March

See – Pride of the Lions


(Grand March from Aida)

The Royal Horse Guards, The Blues and Royals / 34 Canadian Brigade Group

The music is taken from Khedive of Egypt composed for the 1869 opening of the Cairo Opera House. However the first performance was delayed due to the Franco-Prussian War prevented the costumes from Europe arriving on time. The premier opening was conducted in 1871 and five years later was previewed at Covent Gardens, London.

            The music was adopted by the Royal Horse Guards to commemorate their engagement at the Battle of Tel-el-Kebir. The Royal Horse Guards and the Royal Dragoons were amalgamated in 1969 in Detmold, Germany to form The Blues and Royals. At that time they adopted the arrangement of Aida and The Royals as by Major Jeanes.

            In Canada the march is used by 34 Canadian Brigade Group (34CBG) that is part of Land Force Quebec Area headquartered in Montreal, Quebec.

Alexander MacKenzie

Royal Military College of Canada

Alexander Mackenzie was a Scottish builder, newspaper editor and the second prime minister of Canada between 1873 -1878. He immigrated to Canada in 1842 and settled in the Sarnia area, working in the building trade with his brother. During the early 1850s he became editor of a Reform newspaper, the Lambton Shield, and a supporter of George Brown. In 1861 he was elected to the Ontario Legislative Assembly and six years later to the House of Commons. After his retirement he refused several offers of a knighthood, wrote several books including The Life and Speeches of George Brown (1882). He died in Toronto on April 17th, 1892.

            The Royal Military College of Canada was established under the 1874 Act that provided for a Military College. Two years later, The Military College of Canada opened its doors to eighteen students and four years later Queen Victoria grant the college title ‘Royal’. The first graduating class parade out in 1880, and every since then, cadets have distinguished themselves throughout the world. The march is used by the college as a quickstep for their pipe and drum band. It was composed in 1976 by Pipe Major D. M. Carrigan of the Canadian Forces.


5e Groupe-brigade du Canada / 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (5 CMBG)

The brigade group is similar in name to the 5th Brigade of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, for which Camp Valcartier was built. The CEF 5th Brigade was founded in 1914, and distinguished itself in many battles, particularly at Ypres, Vimy, The Somme, Passchendale and the Hindenburg Line. The units returned to Canada once the War was over and were disbanded in 1919. In WW2 was stood up again in September 1939 as an active service formation made up of the following units: les Fusiliers Mont-Royal, the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada, the Régiment de Maisonneuve and the Calgary Highlanders (formerly Fusiliers Mont-Royal). In 1940 it trained in preparation for the raid on Dieppe. During 1944 it took part in various battles in the regions of Caen and Falaise shortly after the Normandy landing and in the liberation of the Channel ports. The Brigade was disbanded in 1945 and its units resumed their role within the Canadian Reserves. Since then there have been several name changes until 1992 when 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group was decided on. It is part of Land Forces Quebec Area of the Canadian army based in CFB Valcartier and responsible for the majority of francophone units of the regular army. The group uses this march as a quick-step that was arranged by Major Jean Pierret and is an illustration of good orchestration.

Allsports March

British Broadcasting Corporation / Canadian Broadcasting Corporation / Physical Education Branch

During WW2 Canadian musician-composer Captain Robert Farnon was a Musical Director for the Army Show in England. There he conducted the Canadian Band of the Allied Expeditionary Forces that was heard regularly over BBC throughout the war. The march, introduced in Britain, became an exercise march for factory workers. Later the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation used it as introduction music to the National News.

            Prior to their disbandment the Physical Education Branch of the Canadian forces played an important role by ensuring the fitness of the Canadian Forces was maintained. In today’s world with ever rapid international and nation events, a healthy and physically fit military force capable of responding quickly is vital.  The arrangement was done by Lieutenant Colonel G.W. Klaassen (Supervisor of Music for the Canadian Forces 1994). The main theme, introduced several times through the course of the march exposition, is the most well known. The musical use of a form that gives the impression of ‘Stop-Go’ is a characteristic of music used for sports activities.

And Shall Trelawney Die

Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry / King’s Own Royal Border Regiment / Somerset and Cornwall Light Infantry

Cornish born Jonathan Trelawny was one of the seven bishops imprisoned in the Tower of London by James II in 1688. He was ordained in 1676 and appointed Bishop of Bristol in 1685. England was mostly Protestant England however there was a fear of the Catholics so Catholic James II reversed the pragmatic policy of his predecessor, Charles II and appointed Catholics to high office. Then he challenged the authority of the Church of England by setting out a Declaration of Indulgence and later instituted a second Declaration demanding it be read in every church. Seven bishops, including Trelawny, presented the king with a petition against the reading that was met with imprisonment of all the bishops in the Tower. They were transported by river to Traitors’ Gate in the royal barge and when news reached Cornwall it was greeted with anger and dismay. “And shall Trelawny die?” asked the Cornish. In June 1688 the bishops were charged with seditious libel and brought before the King’s Bench in Westminster Hall only to be acquitted. This became an important milestone in English history. Soon afterwards, William of Orange took the throne and James II fled never to return. Trelawny went on to become Bishop of Exeter, and then Bishop of Winchester.

            The slow march was used by The King’s Own Royal Border Regiment and it predecessors were recruited from the West County. For twenty-two years the regiment was commanded by members of the Trelawney family. In 1959 the King’s Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster) and the Border Regiment were amalgamated to form The King’s Own Royal Border Regiment.

            Robert Stephen Hawker (1804–1875) wrote the words however the source of the tune is unknown but it did appear in the early 19th century and may have been adopted by bands of the volunteer regiments of Cornwall. Prior to 1933 the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry played the march along with One and All for their regimental march. Then they received notification that the march was not to be used but a year later a new arrangement was composed and permission was given. In the 1959 formation of the Somerset and Cornwall Light Infantry an arrangement of Trelawny and Prince Albert adopted.

Annie Laurie

2nd/10th Dragoons

The legend is based on the 1705 romance of William Douglas and Annie Laurie, members of two rival Scottish Clans. The poem is believed to have first appeared in an Edinburgh newspaper although none has been found. The first known printing of the poem appeared in the 1832 Ballad Book by Charles Kirkpatrick. The music by Lady Jane Scott was composed in 1835 and in the 1835 3rd Edition of Vocal Melodies of Scotland. The Scottish folk song was written by William Douglas as at tribute to Annie’s beauty and an expression of his devotion to her. Annie Laurie was the descendant of Sir Robert Laurie, the first baronet of Maxwellton. She married another and died in 1864 being buried in Glencairn Churchyard, Nithsdale, Dumfries close to the area of Maxwellion of which the poem speaks. In 1850 James Grant wrote his novel The Scottish Cavalier and included both figures. Later during the Crimean War it song became very popular with the British troops.

            In Canada the 2nd/10th Dragoons used the tune until they became the 57th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment RCA (2nd/10th Dragoons) when standard artillery marches were adopted.

Ap Shenkin

(Son of Jenkin)

Royal Regiment of Wales (24th/41st Foot) / Welch Regiment

Ap Shenkin is based on a Welsh marching song written by John Parry in 1803 with an English translation of Son of Jenkin. The composer was known as Wale’s Master of Song and for a time Bandmaster of the Denbigh Militia. Colonel Fieldings Regiment of Invalids in 1719 became the 41st in 1751 and in 1756 the 2nd Battalion of the 24th Foot. The word ‘Welsh’ being added in 1831 followed in 1881 with a title change to the Welsh Regiment and later The Welch Regiment. The march was not retained when the regiment amalgamated with the South Wales Borderers to form the Royal Regiment of Wales (24th/41st Foot) adopting Men of Harlech.

Apprendre a server

(Learn to Serve)

Canadian Forces Recruit School

The Canadian Forces Recruit School was located in Cornwallis, Nova Scotia. Initially a Naval training centre, it was converted into a tri-service basic training base for non-commissioned members. Translated as ‘Learn to Serve,’ the quick march composed by Captain O. Leblanc, amplifies the training and discipline each member received and would use throughout their military careers and civilian life.

Argyle Is My Name

The Connaught Rangers

The ballad is attributed to John Campbell, Duke of Argyle and Greenwich. It was printed as The Bannocks O’ Barley Meal in Herd’s Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs (1776) and distributed on several broadsides including one in London between 1813 and 1838. The air, believed to Gaelic in origin and dated prior to Campbell’s time. Should the Maggie be correct then she is more than likely the first Marquis of Argyle, Lady Margaret Douglas.

            The Connaught Rangers were raised in Connaught as the 88th Regiment of Foot in 1793 and its record of service was outstanding. In 1823 the 94th Regiment of Foot was raised and would become the 2nd Battalion The Connaught Rangers. After the 1881 the 2nd Bn adopted the combined marches of Blue Bonnets and Argle is My Name. It is interesting that a mostly Irish regiment would adopt two Scottish marches. Sadly when the Republic of Ireland was established this hard fighting and well respected regiment, in April 1922, was disbanded.

Assualt to Arms

52nd Brome Regiment

Little is known about the march however it was used by the 52nd Brome Regiment of Knowlton, Quebec. Created in 1900 its life span was until 1903 when several of its companies were transferred to the newly created 79th Shefford Regiment and the march was not retained.


Canadian Women’s Army Corps

Athena is goddesses in Greek mythology and in Roman mythology became identified with the goddess Minerva. She sprang full-grown and armoured from the forehead of the god Zeus and was became his favourite child. He entrusted her with his shield, adorned with the hideous head of Medusa the Gorgon, his buckler, and his principal weapon, the thunderbolt. A virgin goddess, she was called Parthenos, “the maiden.” Her major temple, the Parthenon, was in Athens, which, according to legend, became hers as a result of her gift of the olive tree to the Athenian people. She is the primarily the goddess of the Greek cities, of industry and the arts, wisdom and also the goddess of war. Athena was the strongest supporter, among the gods, of the Greek side in the Trojan War. After the fall of Troy, however, the Greeks failed to respect the sanctity of an altar to Athena at which the Trojan prophet Cassandra sought shelter. As punishment, storms sent by the god of the sea, Poseidon, at Athena’s request destroyed most of the Greek ships returning from Troy. Athena was also a patron of the agricultural arts and of the crafts of women, especially spinning and weaving. Among her gifts to man were the inventions of the plow and the flute and the arts of taming animals, building ships, and making shoes. She was often associated with birds, especially the owl.

            The march, composed by E.R. Hinchey, was used by the Canadian Women’s Army Corps before its disbandment. The Corps also used Early One Morning and Lass of Richmond Hill (Quick), Greensleeves (Slow), and The Nut Brown Maiden (Pipe Air).

Atholl Highlanders

1st Battalion The Nova Scotia Highlanders / Black Watch (RHR) / Cumberland Highlanders / Gordon Highlanders / North Nova Scotia Highlanders / Nova Scotia Highlanders / Scots Guards


The Atholl Highlanders were raised in 1778 and disbanded in 1783 but their history is interesting. The Duke of Atholl applied to the government to grant him permission to raise a regiment of 1,000 men for service. The command of the regiment was given to Colonel James Murray, son of Lord George Murray (uncle to the Duke of Atholl). Embodied at Perth and having marched to Portpatrick and embarked for Ireland arriving in 1778. The 77th were quartered in Ireland during the whole war and their service was excellent one. When the war ended the men of the regiment were expected to be disbanded but instead the regiment was moved to Portsmouth for embarkation to the East Indies. Realized what was about to happen, the men started a major disorder and the Government realized rethought their plan by sending the regiment beck to Berwick and disbanded in April 1783. The regiment was the first to set the military fashion of regimental pipers wearing green doublets.

            The march is used by ‘A’ Company the Black Watch, the former Gordon Highlanders and the Scots Guards for mail call. It is interesting to note that an abridged version of all company marches for the Black Watch dates back to Aberfeldy when six independent companies first mustered to form the Black watch in 1740.

            The Nova Scotia Highlanders have served the Canadian Forces in a province deep in Scottish heritage. The Cumberland Highlanders pasted on the march in a 1936 amalgamation to the North Nova Scotia Highlanders. In 1954 the regiment became the 1st Battalion, The Nova Scotia Highlanders that adopted the march and combined it with the old Scottish favourite, the Piobaireachd of Donald Dhu. The regiment under went realignment in 1955 and the medley was retained for the 1st Battalion.

ATS March Past

Auxiliary Territorial Service

The Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) was formed shortly before the Second World War. It was their excellent service that a regular corps was formed in 1949 titled The Women’s Royal Army Corps. The Queen Mother selected this march composed by Bandmaster E. G. Spooner of the Manchester Regiment.

The Attack

30th Regiment of Foot / Queen’s Lancashire Regiment

This French tune was adopted from L’Attaqu and used by the 30th Regiment of Foot (East Lancashire Regiment). There are two accounts of how the regiment came to use the music; the Colonel of the 30th heard the air being played by a neighboring French band of Zoaves during the Crimea War and asked for permission to use it; the other story dates it from slightly later when the Regiment was in China, posted alongside a French unit. The march was retained when the East and South Lancashire Regiments were joined to form the Lancashire Regiment.

            In 1970 The Queen’s Lancashire Regiment was formed from the Lancashire Regiment’s and Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire). The arrangement used by the regiment was a combination starting with the first 36 bars of The Attack followed by 32 bars of The Red, Red Rose.

Auld Lang Syne

Royal Military Academy Band, Sandhurst

Robert Burns was born in 1759 and was raised on a Scottish farm where he spent many days reading and writing Scottish poetry. In 1786 he though of immigrating to Jamaica and began selling poems written in the Scottish Dialect. When these became popular he gave up the idea of emigration and remained in Scotland and continued to write hundreds of songs. He is generally considered the composer of the poem although it is generally agreed he did not write the words of the first verse and may have altered the words but it remains the one people know so well. “In 1793 he sent a copy to George Thomson, his publisher, stating “The following song – the old song of the olden times, and which has never been in print not even in manuscript until I took it down from an old man’s singing – is enough to recommend any air.” Thomson adopted another, if similar, tune from the Scots Musical Museum (vol. IV no. 394) “I fee’d a man at martinmas” for his 1799 collection of Scottish airs. It is sung today in different languages all around the world.

The earliest version of the words with the title Old Long Syne and the opening line Should all Acquaintances be forgot is in Scots Poems by James Watson published in Edinburgh in 1711. There were other printings of the words including a version in 1787 in James Johnson’s The Scots Musical Museum where it accompanied a melody that is not similar to the present melody. The first printing of Burn’s – the present – words is in volume five of this work in 1796-1797 to a still different melody that also bears no resemblance to the present melody. In a letter to Mrs. Dunlap on December 17, 1788 he wrote “Apropos, is not the Scotch phrase, auld lang syne, exceedingly expressive? There is an old song and tune which has oftern thrilled my soul. You known I am an enthusiast of old Scotch songs. I shall give you the verse on the other sheet. Light be the turf on the breast of the Heaven-inspired poet who composed this glorious fragment! There I more of the fire of native geniusin it than in half a dozen of modern English Bacchanalians.”

The tune was also known as Roger’s Farewell that was played on various occasions by the Royal Artillery Band and probably for playing troops out of garrison along with Brighton Camp. Although this was not a frequent occurrence but troops were played to the railway station with this tune as a finale.

            The melody can be found under the title The Duke of Bucclugh’s Tune in Playfords Apollo’s Banquet published in London in 1687. The melody developed under several other titles such as The Miller’s Wedding (Scots Reels 1765),  The Lasses of the Ferry, The Miller’s Daughter, Sir Alexr Don’s Strathspey, Roger’s Farewell and the Overture to William Shield’s Rosina (London 1783). The melody later came to be known as I Fee’d a Man at Martinmas, these words by Burns appearing in volume IV of the Scots Musical Museum published in Edinburgh 1792-1793, under the title O Can Ye Labor Lea, Young Man and is substantially the presently known melody. The present words and present melody first appear together in George Thomson’s A Select Collection of Original Scottish Airs (London 1798).

            During its life The Royal Military Academy Band Sandhurst was unique – it was considered a Corps. It started when the Royal Military College moved from Marlow in 1813 to Sandhurst and a band was authorized with a Bandmaster and fourteen members. Over the years the band increased in size and role covered various areas of supporting military and non-military functions.

            The most celebrated parade is that of the Sovereign’s Parade. At the end of the ceremony this Scottish song is played. The parade at this point is almost complete when the cadets slow-march off the parade ground and enter the academy by the grand entrance followed by the Adjutant mounted on his charger. For over 171 years the bands of the Academy have played many soldiers into the Army. In 1984, the Band was disbanded.

Regiments that had fought together in the French Wars often renewed acquaintanceship in India, and special ties were formed. When the 16th Lancers and the 49th Regiment returned from the Gwalior campaign in 1843, the 40th NCO’s gave a ball at Meerut for which someone wrote a special song to the tune of Auld Lang Syne.


Auld Robin Gray

99th Regiment of Foot / Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment / Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment / Wiltshire Regiment

Robin Gray was an old servant of the family of Lady Anne Lindsay (later Lady Barnard) who wrote the words to the song. In 1772 the words were set to music by Reverend William Leeves, once a Lieutenant in the Guards, poet and skillful musician. The words may have been sent to him by Lady Anne through the Honourable Mrs. Byron. Its popularity led to the composition of other verses in which Auld Robin Gray appeared in the title.

            This was the original slow march of the 99th Regiment of Foot and passed to The Wiltshire Regiment during the 1881 amalgamation with the 62nd Foot. The Wiltshire Regiment passed on this march to The Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment as a slow march that carried over in the 1994 amalgamation when the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment were formed.

Aupres de ma blonde

See REME Corps March Past



1st King’s Regiment Dragoon Guards

This quick march, composed by Austrian Bandmaster Johann Nowotny, was taken into repertoire of the British Army at the turn of the century. It was regularly played at the conclusion of the programme of music on Officers Dinner Nights in the 1st King’s Dragoon Guards in honour of the Colonel-in Chief of the regiment-the Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria. The march has the final phrase of Haydn’s famous Emperor’s Hymn – the national anthem of Austria from 1797 to 1918. The regiment was raised in 1685 as the 2nd Regiment of Horse at the time of the Monmouth Rebellion. In 1714 there was no Queen Consort to George I so their title was changed to The King’s Own Regiment of Horse. Thirty-five years later (1746) they converted to dragoons with the title of 1st or King’s Regiment of Dragoons Guards.

Away to the Mountain’s Brow

Reconnaissance Corps

This early 19th century song was written by Alexander Lee and was adopted after a competition among British Army bandmasters to find a march for the Reconnaissance Corps. The arrangement chosen, based on this tune, was done by Bandmaster Douglas A. Pope. The Corps was formed in 1941 and was granted cavalry status and became part of the Royal Armoured Corps. The regiment’s role was to find enemy positions, determine strengths and watch movement. It is interesting that this role was the similar to the 10th and 15th Hussars during the Peninsular War. These two units helped Sir John Moore to monitor Napoleon’s forces. During WW2 just about every division in the British Army had a reconnaissance regiment leading the way. The Corps was raised for service during WW2 and disbanded in August 1946.


‘B’ Trot

9th Queen’s Royal Lancers

The 9th Lancers were raised in 1715 as Wynne’s Dragoons to fight in the Jacobite Rebellion. The ‘9th’ was added in 1742 and converted in 1783. The London Gazette reported in October 1816 that the regiment was to be armed and armed as Lancers but this would not take place until mid 1830. In 1920 the title 9th Queen’s Royal Lancers was finally adopted however this march was lost to them when amalgamated with the 12th Lancers to form the 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Princes of Wales’s).



Le Regiment de Montmagny

The regiment used the march until their 1954 amalgamation with the Fusiliers du St. Laurent to form the Les Fusiliers du St. Laurent. At the same time they became the 5th Battalion of the Royal 22e Regiment until 1969 when they separated and became independent regiment. Little is known of the march or its composer.

Back o’ Bennachie

48th Highlanders of Canada / Gordon Highlanders / Scots Guards

The Gordon Highlanders used this march for their ‘C’ Company prior to amalgamation and formation of The Highlanders. In 2006 The Highlanders amalgamated with the other Scottish infantry regiments into the single large Royal Regiment of Scotland and the march was not retained by the new regiment. It was also used by the Scots Guards (1st Battalion) and the 48th Highlanders for their ‘C’ Companies tunes.


13th Hussars / 13th/18th Royal Hussars / The Light Dragoons

The Regimental march of the 13th/18th Royal Hussars (Queen Mary’s Own) is a tune that became very popular with the British Army after the Crimean War. The 13th Hussars were raised in 1715 as Munden’s Dragoons but in 1861 changed to the 13th Hussars. They retained the march that is also a battle honour won during the famous Charge of the Light Brigade. It is based on a popular cavalry barrack room ballad that appeared after the Crimean War.

            The first eight bars of A Life on the Ocean Wave were authorized to preface the march on regimental occasions. This was done to commemorate the Normandy Landings when the 13th/18th headed the assault in amphibian tanks. In December 1992 the regiment amalgamated with the 15th/19th The King’s Royal Hussars to form The Light Dragoons. The quick march was retained in honour of the 13th’s role in the Crimean War.


Banks of Newfoundland

The Royal Newfoundland Regiment

This tune is one of Newfoundland’s most well known folk songs composed by Chief Justice Francis Forbes in 1820. It is still heard throughout the province’s musical circles and is one of the earliest Newfoundland compositions set down in music notation. It has been been associated with the Royal St. John’s Regatta since its early days. As a Regatta song it is more popularly known as “Up The Pond”, and is traditionally played as the crews pass the bandstand on their return to the stakes. It was later made the official song of the Regatta. Although there are six versions, the most popularly one is an Irish ballad that reflects the trails of sailors in the North Atlantic during the earlier days of sailing. The arranger’s name is unknown but the composition was transformed into a martial air and used by The Royal Newfoundland Regiment. The Regiment was formed as a unit of the British Imperial Forces on August 21, 1914, and was taken on strength with the Canadian Forces in 1949.


Bannocks of Barley Meal

7th Queen’s Own Hussars / 28th Regiment of Foot / Royal Gloucestershire, Bershire and Wiltshire Regiment

This Irish jig’s origin is unknown however ‘Bannocks’ is a Scots word for a type of oatcake and is describd as a “…long kail and pottage, bannocks of barley meal, good salt herring, a cup of good ale, onions, radishes, pease – boiled and raw, abundance of mouthfuls of skate, sheep’s head broth, fresh ox feet, crabs, winkles, speldies [dried fish], haddocks, and broth with barley to sup till ye’re fou.”

The Duke of Argyll (1678-1743) is credited with composing the words. It was used by the old 28th Regiment of Foot, later the Gloucestershire Regiment under the title the ‘Kynegad Slashers’. The nickname came to the regiment in 1775 for their work at the crossing of the River Bronx in North America. The title of ‘Slashers’ was given to the 28th in 1777 after their service in Montreal, Canada. The regiment was also stationed in Ireland that may have been the time the march was adopted and became specially associated with the 28th as a quickstep. Later, it was officially recognized as the regimental march. In 1994 it became part of the Royal Gloucestershire, Bershire and Wiltshire Regiment followed later in 2005 when the regiment became light infantry. The march was lost at this time in preference of the march The Sphinx and the Dragon with a slow march of Scipio. The regiment would again be amalgamated in 2007 with the 1 DDLI to form the 1st Battalion The Rifles. 



87th Regiment / The Royal Irish Fusiliers


The regimental march of takes its name from the 1811 Battle of Barossa. Here the British forces were attempting a seaborne attack against the rear of the French army besieging Cadiz. Although it was a British strategic victory it failed to break the siege of Cadiz but caused the French to commit more troops to the area. During this action the 87th Foot distinguished itself as stated in General Graham’s dispatch “The animated charges of the 87th Regiment were most conspicuous.” They took the first eagle captured during the Peninsular War that belonged to the 87th French Regiment of Light Infantry. A French officer commented saying “the most terrible bayonet fight I had ever seen.” The march would be adopted and combined with St. Patrick’s Day during 1881 when the Royal Irish Fusiliers were formed. In 1968 the regiment merged with two other regiments to form the Royal Irish Rangers however the march was not adopted in favour of Killaloe.

            Although it has an unknown origin there are several theories. Many believe it is a Spanish air while others an Irish medley but it did appear during the Peninsular War. The Royal Irish Fusiliers have a set of handwritten verses that appear to date from early Victorian times. The first version of the melody is in Sergeant Newman’s book, where it is called Barosa Plains. The march is played and sung in the Officer’s Mess each March on Barroso Day that celebrates the capture of the Eagle Standard.

Barren Rocks of Aden

Royal Scots

Aden, near the entrance to the Red Sea, was noted for its barren and desolate volcanic rocks, and was annexed to British India in 1839. In 1967, after violence between nationalists and British forces, it became what is now the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen. The Barren Rocks of Aden was being published in fiddle collections by the 1870s, but has been around longer in the bagpipe repertoire. Bayard (1981) says the tune is well known among bagpipers and fifers in modern times, but that the piece is not particularly old; he traces it to a possible source from a Highland regiment, which version was published in McDonald’s Gesto Collection in 1895. Hunter (1988) attributes the tune to one A. MacKellar of the 78th Seaforth Highlanders Regiment of the British Army. David Murray noted in his volume Music of the Scottish Regiments (Edinburgh, 1994), dates the tune to the mid 19th century when the 78th was stationed in Bombay. A detachment was provided from the regiment to garrison Aden, and it was there that Piper James Mauchline composed the march, which has become one of the most familiar of Scottish martial airs. “The first two measures went well on the flute,” writes Murray, “so the march was taken up by many corps of drums, eventually becoming a standby, played frequently by the drums of English regiments which had no idea of its provenance and who would accuse the pipers of stealing their tune. ‘The Barren Rocks’ has been played and whistled wherever Scots soldiers have been stationed.” The Royal Scots use the tune for the ‘A’ Company march.

Battalion Song

King’s Royal Rifle Corps

The regiment began in 1755 as the 62nd (Royal American) Regiment of Foot in America mainly manned by colonists. It served with distinction in several actions such as the Taking of Quebec and the French Indian War in North America. The 62nd became the King’s Royal Rifle Corps who adopted the march along with The Huntsmen’sChorus until 1966 when they became the 2nd Battalion Green Jackets. The march was not retained as a new march was arranged from the Huntsman’s Chorus and The Italian Song.


The Battle of Waterloo

The Queen’s Own Highlanders

The Battle of Waterloo was one of the major turning points in history. The battle took place on June 18, 1815 just 30 miles south of Brussels, Belgium. Just two days before Napoleon had attacked the Prussians at Ligny and the British at Quatre Bras with the Prussians taking the heavier attack. The Allies fell back and made their famous stand at Waterloo. The British Army withstood the French repeated attacks until the badly beaten Prussians came to support them in the late afternoon. This effectively ended Napoleon’s attempts to regain control of Europe again.

The 92nd Regiment of Foot were present at Waterloo and made the famous charge by holding the stirrups of the Royal Scots Greys. Beginning in 1794 as the 100th Regiment of Foot the title changed four years later to the 92nd Foot and again in 1881 the 2nd Battalion, The Gordon Highlanders who adopted it for their Waterloo Compnay. The 75th Foot became the 1st Battalion and in September 1994 the regiment merged with the Queen’s Own Highlanders to form The Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons and Camerons).

Be Fit

Army Physical Training Corps

This march was composed in 1944 when Bandmaster W. T. Atkins (British Army) arranged music from Richard Kiplings ‘Land and Sea Tales.’ The tune is also known as Even Hearts and was adopted by the Army Physical Training Corps of the British Army. The Corps began as the Army Gymnastic Staff in 1860 and retained the title until 1918. The tile changed several times until 1940 when the present day title of The Army School of Physical Training was adopted.


Begone, Dull Care

1st Canadian Division Headquarters and Signals Regiment/ Royal Canadian Corps of Signals / Royal Corps of Signals

The popularity of this tune may date back as far as 1687 and enjoyed a revival in the ballet William Tell around 1793. It may have been derived from The Queen’s Jigg that was included in the Dancing Master, then reprinted in the National English Airs around 1701. One popular version comes from the reign of Elizabeth and James I while another appeared in 1687 in Playford’s Pleasant Musical Companion, Part II, known as The Buck’s Delight. The verse in this collection is:

“Begone, old care, and I prithee be gone from me,

For in’ faith, old Care, thee and I shall never agree;

“Tis long thou hast liv’d with me, and fain thou wouldst me kill,

But in’ faith, old Care, thou never shalt have thy will.”

This old tune makes up The Royal Signals March along with Newcastle. In pre-war days, communications was one of the duties of the Royal Engineers and later a special corps was formed to deal with the signals, later to become the Royal Corps of Signals. The Royal Warrant for their creation was signed by the Secretary of State for War, Winston Churchill on 28 June, 1920. Six weeks later, King George V conferred the title Royal Corps of Signals. It was given precedence immediately after the Royal Engineers.

            In Canada, beginning with the title Signaling Corps, The Royal Canadian Corps of Signals have seen a long and distinguished service. It is interesting to note that the corps assisted in the opening of many areas of the northern regions of Canada with its North West Territories and Yukon Radio System. The corps saw serve in both world wars and provided a company for the Siberian Expeditionary Force of 1918-1919. During the 1960s many old Canadian Corps were disbanded and the RCCS was one however the 1st Canadian Division Headquarters and Signals Regiment retained this march as a direct link to the old corps. The Canadian version was arranged by Captain Charles Adams with the title Corps March of the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals. It should be noted that there are two other marches related to the communication field in the Canadian Forces. Communications Command use the march Communications while the Communications and Electronics Branch adopted The Mercury March.


Berkeley’s Dragoons

The 4th Queen’s Own Hussars / The Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars / The Queen’s Royal Hussars

Cavalry regiments did not have a quick march for many years. Shortly after WW2 Bandmaster C. H. Jaeger (4th Queen’s Own Hussars) was asked by his Commanding Officer to write one for the Regiment. The title was named after The Hon. John Berkeley who was the first Colonel of the Regiment in 1685 and was first published in 1952. In 1958 the regiment became The Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars which continued use of the tune combined with St. Patrick’s Day and A Galloping 8th Hussars. The regiment was amalgamated with The Queen’s Own Hussars on in 1993 to form The Queen’s Royal Hussars (The Queen’s Own and Royal Irish). Under the title The Regimental Quick March of the Queen’s Royal Hussars the march was retain along with the other marches of the two amalgamated regiments.


Berliner Luft

14th/20th King’s Hussars / Royal Air Force Gatow

The Berlin Luft (Spirit of Berlin), composed by Carl Emil and Paul Lincke, is a marching song from the operetta Frau Luna and became popular after it was produced in 1899. At the end of WW2 the British established Royal Air Force Gatow, an air terminal in Berlin and adopted this march. It was also adopted by two other units stationed in Berlin, The Independence Squadron (1952 – 1957) were raised specifically to garrison Berlin and the 14th/20th King’s Hussars ‘B’ Squadron prior to the 1992 amalgamation that formed the King’s Own Hussars.


The Black Bear

Gordon Highlanders / Royal Gurkha Rifles / Royal Scots / Royal Scots Dragoon Guards / Scots Guards

The origins of this march are not well known or documented however it is considered a Highland Tune of Glory. Today it can be heard just about everywhere there is a bagpipe playing. Several regiments have used the march such as Royal Scots Dragoon Guards in combination with Scotland the Brave; the Royal Scots for a ‘C’ Company march; the Scots Guards for their 1st Bn Headquarter Company; prior to amalgamation Gordon Highlanders for ‘D’ Company march and the Royal Gurkha Rifles as a regimental march past.


Blaydon Races

Royal Northumberland Fusiliers

The tune, originally composed in 1862 for a pantomine and could pre date 1862, is known as the national anthem of Tyneside. Located on the river is the city of Newcastle and just five miles from there is the village of Blaydon. The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers adopted the tune in combination with The British Grenadiers in 1959 as a quick step. The march did not survive when the regiment was amalgamated in 1968 amalgamation to form The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

Blow Away the Morning Dew

(The Cobbler’s Lad amd The Baffled Knight )

Royal Military School of Music

This march is one of the traditional English songs that became popular in America with different versions in the lyrics. It has had two other titles – The Cobbler’s Lad and The Baffled Knight. The march is combined with Near London Town that was adopted by the Royal Military School of Music in 1950. Prior to its adoption, the School had been playing Rule Britannia before the National Anthem during their concerts. The Corps of Army Music was formed in 1994 and is based at Kneller Hall near Twickenham. It is responsible for the professional efficiency and future development of the Corps of Army Music, which includes the recruitment of musicians, the manning and deployment of bands and the career management and appointment of Corps personnel.


Blue Bonnets are over the Border

(All the Blue Bonnets are over the Border / Leven’s March / General Leslie’s March to Longmarston Moor)


4th Canadian Pioneer Battalion CEF / 82nd Battalion CEF (Calgary Light Infantry) / 16th Battalion CEF / 67th Battalion CEF / 185th Cape Breton Highlanders Battalion CEF / Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) / Calgary Highlanders / Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary’s) / Highland Light Infantry (City of Glasgow) / King’s Own Scottish Borderers / Royal Canadian Regiment / Royal Highland Fusiliers / Scots Guards / Seaforth Highlanders of Canada / Toronto Scottish Regiment / Wiltshire Regiment (Duke of Edinburgh’s)

Blue Bonnets refers to a blue woolen cap worn in 17th century Scotland. The poem reflects the continuous border battles waged by England and Scotland during this time. One such group of Lowland Scots marauders, Moss Troopers, used this tune as a rallying call. These Scottish warriors would attack across the border that had been was contested for centuries.

The title can also be known as All the Blue Bonnets are over the Border, with Leven’s March being the shorten version which was used by the Earl of Leven’s Regiment in 1689. Its origin is unknown but the lyrics were added by Sir Walter Scott in his poem Border Ballad. It would appear that the words were written to fit the music with the line All the Blue Bonnets are over the Border’ appearing at the end of each verse. The march was at one time also known as General Leslie’s March to Longmarston Moor which would date the tune around 1644 but it could be older.

            The old 25th Regiment of Foot adopted the tune when garrisoned on the border at Berwick-on-Tweed in Scotland. They later they became the King’s Own Scottish Borderers retaining it as a quick march for both the pipe and drums and military bands.

            The 74th Regiment of Foot was raised in 1787 later becoming in 1881 the 2nd Bn The Highland Light Infantry (City of Glasgow). The march was adopted during the 1950 amalgamation with the Royal Scots Fusiliers forming the Royal Highland Fusiliers. The 2nd Bn Wiltshire Regiment (99th Foot) used the tune but did not survived the 1959 amalgamation when the Duke of Edinburgh Royal Regiment were formed.

            Other regiments include the Black Watch for their bands quick march; 7th Duke of Edinburgh’s Own Gurkha Rifles for their bands prior to amalgamation; the Scots Guards as a half-hour to Commanding Officer’s Parade call; Canadian regiments include the Toronto Scottish Regiment, the Canadian Scottish Regiment and their WW1 CEF battalion the 16th  67th and the 4th Canadian Pioneer, the Calgary Highlanders (combine with The Highland Laddie), the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada (combined with The Piobaireachd of Donald Dhu) and the Royal Canadian Regiment as their Commanding Officers Call; and the 185th Cape Breton Highlanders Battalion CEF for the pipe band as did the 82nd Battalion CEF (Calgary Light Infantry).


Blue Canadian Rockies

Rocky Mountain Rangers

This march was once used by the Rocky Mountain Rangers before adopting Meeting of the Waters. The regiment was raised at Nelson, British Columbia in 1908 when three existing independent infantry companies were amalgamated to form the 102nd Regiment. When the regiment moved to Kamloops the title was changed to the 102nd Regiment “Rocky Mountain Rangers” followed by today’s title in 1920 and continues to serve in the Canadian Forces Reserves.


Blue Flash

4th Royal Tank Regiment

In May 1916 ‘D’ Company, Heavy Section, Machine Gun Corps were raised at the Motor Machine Gun Service Depot at Bisley, Surrey. A year later the name changed to the ‘D’ Battalion Tank Corps with ‘Royal’ being added in 1923 followed by another name change at the end of WW2 to the 4th Royal Tank Regiment.  The 4th RTR adopted the march composed by Major Bill Lemon with the title derived from the blue braid worn the epaulettes of the service uniform.


Blue Plume

Irish Guards

An Army Order in April 1900 stated “Her Majesty the Queen having deemed it desirable to commemorate the bravery shown by the Irish Regiments during the operations in South Africa in the years 1899-1900 has been graciously pleased that an Irish Regiment of Foot Guards be formed, to be designated the ‘Irish Guards.” When the order was issued the War office issued a letter stating that the new regiment would be incorporated into the Brigade of Guards. Recruiting began in Ireland and Scotland and Irishmen serving in other regiments of the British Army were offered a bounty to transfer to the new regiment.

            This march was specifically composed for the Irish Guards by Lieutenant Colonel C. H. Jaeger and refers to colour of the plume worn in their bearskins hat. The bear skin is adorned with a light blue plume worn on the right side. In 1916 soldiers were being issued the new Brodie pattern helmet to replace the soft cloth caps worn in combat to that time. Regimental identification took many forms not all official. Records state that a blue plume was painted on the right side of the helmet to remind the men of the blue plume on their ceremonial bearskins left at home. 


Bold King’s Hussars

15th The King’s Hussars / 15th-19th The King’s Royal Hussars

Before the 1922 amalgamation with the 19th Hussars the march was used by the 15th The King’s Hussars. When the 15th /19th The King’s Royal Hussars were formed the tune was retained as part of the quick march which is a combination of The Bold King’s Hussars (includes Logie O’Bruchan) / The Sahagun Song / Haste to the Wedding as arranged by Bandmaster Fox and revised by his successor Bandmaster Leonard Cox. The regiment was amalgamated in 1992 with the 13th/18th Royal Hussars (Queen Mary’s Own) to form The Light Dragoons at which time the march was not adopted in favour of Balaclva.

Bonnets of Blue

2nd Battalion Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment

The 2nd Battalion, Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment used this Scottish tune as a quick march and is sometimes confused with the more popular Blue Bonnets Over The Border. In 1961 amalgamation forming the Queen’s Own Buffs, The Royal Kent Regiment the march was not adopted in favour of the combination of The Buffs and A Hundred Pipers.

            This ballad begins: ‘Noo I’ll sing ye a sang in praise o’ that land, / Where the snaw melts on the mountains so grand’. This song was published by the Poet’s Box of Dundee. This ballad sings the praises of the Royal Highland Regiment, better known as the Black Watch, who wore small round blue bonnets. It concerns an incident during the Crimean War, 1854-6, when Queen Victoria sent her ‘lads wi’ the Bonnets o’ Blue’ ‘up the Alma’s grim heights for tae conquror or die’. Such spelling errors are common in broadsides, where accuracy was often compromised in the rush to get the material to press.

            The Dundee Poets’ Box was in operation from about 1880 to 1945, though it is possible that some material was printed as early as the 1850s. In 1885 the proprietor J.G. Scott (182 Overgate) had published a catalogue of 2,000 titles consisting of included humorous recitations, dialogues, temperance songs, medleys, parodies, love songs, Jacobite songs. Another proprietor in the 1880s was William Shepherd, but little is known about him. Poets’ Box was particularly busy on market days and feeing days when country folk were in town in large numbers. Macartney specialized in local songs and ballads. Many Irish songs were published by the Poets’ Box – many Irishmen worked seasonally harvesting potatoes and also in the jute mills. In 1906 John Lowden Macartney took over as proprietor of the Poet’s Box, initially working from 181 Overgate and later from no.203 and 207.

            It is not clear what the connection between the different Poet’s Boxes were. They almost certainly sold each other’s sheets. It is known that John Sanderson in Edinburgh often wrote to the Leitches in Glasgow for songs and that later his brother Charles obtained copies of songs from the Dundee Poet’s Box. There was also a Poet’s Box in Belfast from 1846 to 1856 at the address of the printer James Moore, and one at Paisley in the early 1850s, owned by William Anderson.

            Early ballads were dramatic or humorous narrative songs derived from folk culture that predated printing. Originally perpetuated by word of mouth, many ballads survive because they were recorded on broadsides. Musical notation was rarely printed, as tunes were usually established favourites. The term ‘ballad’ eventually applied more broadly to any kind of topical or popular verse.

Bonnet Trimmed in Blue

The Irish Fusiliers of Canada

The 11th Regiment, Irish Fusiliers of Canada was formed in 1913 with the title changed to the Irish Fusiliers of Canada in 1920 adopting this march. In 1936 the regiment amalgamated with the Vancouver Regiment (Scotland the Brave and Colonel Bogey) to form the Irish Fusiliers of Canada (Vancouver Regiment) taking as the regimental march the combination of Garry Owen and St. Patrick’s Day.

Bonnie Dundee

1st Hussars / 2nd Dragoons / 8th Reconnaissance Regiment / 10th Brant Dragoons / 14th Canadian Hussars / 14th Canadian Hussars / 14th Canadian Light Horse / 15th/19th Hussars / 17th/21st Lancers / 19th (Central Ontario) Battalion CEF / 77th Battalion CEF / 173rd Battalion CEF (Canadian Highlanders) / Brockville Rifles / Glengarry Regiment / Gordon Highlanders / Guards Depot / King’s Own Scottish Borderers / Loyal Edmonton Regiment / Manitoba Mounted Rifles / Queen’s Royal Regiment / Queen’s Royal Surrey Regiment / Royal Canadian Horse Artillery / Royal Canadian Hussars (Montreal) / Royal Canadian Regiment / Royal Highland Fusiliers / Royal New Brunswick Regiment / Royal Regiment of Artillery / Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery / Royal Scots Dragoon Guards / Royal Scots Greys / Scots Guards / Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders / Stormont and Glengarry Regiment

Introduced into Canada by Scottish settlers, it represents the spirit of Scottish Clan Chieftains to master their clansmen and rally at their leaders’ call to arms. There are eleven verses in the original song by Sir Walter Scott and the tune was first published in London around 1854. The music refers to the City of Dundee on the east coast of Scotland.

            Bonnie Dundee was one of the original fifty marches chosen as a Cavalry Regimental Galop by the British War Office and was approved for use on April 1st, 1883. This march is 16 bars in its entirety with no real subdominant chord (Ab in the key of Eb), but with a series of four bar phrases. It has the distinction of being usable either with horses, or as a traditional march past and is very effective when performed by a military band and pipes and drums. Captain John Slatter, Director of Music of the 48th Highlanders of Canada for over 50 years, is credited with this arrangement for military band.

            The march had been for many years incorporated in the ceremonial parade music of the Queen’s Royal Regiment. It had been played while the Adjutant collected reports for the Commanding Officer. It may have been introduced via the 2nd Battalion that in its early days was commanded by Colonel Bruce a former officer in the Highland Light Infantry. The march was omitted in the 1958 a list of marches for the Queen’s Royal Surrey Regiment submitted to Major General JY Whitfield, Colonel of the Regiment, for his approval. When asked it was stated that it was highly unlikely an Adjutant would gallop on parade to collect reports again. The Colonel disagreed and insisted that it be included. At Bury St. Edmunds on the first parade of the of the regiment the Adjutant, Captain Mike Pereira, ordered the Band to play this tune and pedaled on parade mounted on a very ancient bicycle and solemnly collected reports from the companies.

            The 15th/19th Hussars at one time used the march as a canter as did the Royal Scots Greys until 1971 when they became the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards; the Gordon Highlanders SP Company (prior to amalgamation) as a quick march; and the Royal Horse Artillery as a gallop.

            In Canada the Brockville Rifles used the tune as their regimental march along with Greensleeves (unofficial); the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders were formed in 1922 and adopted it from its predecessor Stormont and Glengarry Regiment; the 2nd Dragoons and the 10th Brant Dragoons adopted the march and used it until their amalgamation in 1936 to form the 2nd/10th Dragoons. At this time the march was dropped in favour of Annie Laurie; the 14th Canadian Hussars adopted on its formation in 1940 and used it through the war as the 8th Reconnaissance Regiment (14th Canadian Hussars). The name changed back to the original until its placement on the Supplementary Order of Battle in 1965; the 2nd Battalion, The Royal New Brunswick Regiment adopted it as a slow march; the Loyal Edmonton Regiment (4th Bn PPCLI) adopted it on its formation in 1943 when the Edmonton Regiment was designated with the present title; the 1st Hussars date back to 1856 but when the march was adopted in unknown as is the case of the 14th Canadian Hussars; the Royal Canadian Hussars (Montreal) use it for their ‘A’ Squadron; both the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery and the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery use the march as a canter as do the Royal Regiment of Artillery in UK and the Royal Canadian Regiment play it as their Fist Parade/Return to Duty call; and the Manitoba Mounted Rifles use the march from their beginning in 1920 until their conversion to artillery in 1946. The 77th CEF Battalion (GGFG) used the march during its short duration from formation to its break up in England during WW1 as were the 19th (Central Ontario) Battalion and the 173rd Battalion both of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

Bonnie English Rose

(The Rose of England / Our Bonnie English Rose)

19th Regiment of Foot / The Green Howards

First published in 1858 as the Rose of England with music by Charles Jeffreys and words by Sidney Nelson, it reflects the Yorkshire spirit. In 1868 the song became very popular with the officers of the 19th Foot then in India during the Hazara Expedition. Later that year it was adopted as the quick march with the arrangement by regiment’s bandmaster Mr. Antcliffe. The regiment would later become known as the Green Howards with an interesting note that their badge has the white rose of York which provides a probable association with the piece. It is also said that the adjutant at the time, Lieutenant Moir, was particularly keen on the song and that the Band played it on his urging. The march is still in use today by the present regiment but not as a regimental march. The Green Howards in 2006 became the 2nd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment. The other regiments that were amalgamated were The Prince of Wales’s Own Regt of Yorkshire and The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment. This march did not survive the amalgamation in favour of the quick march Ça Ira and the slow march The Duke of York.

Bonnie Mary of Argyll

91st Regiment of Foot


In 1850 Charles Jeffries and Sydney Nelson composed and wrote the words to this famous folk tune. Mary of Argyll has often been confused with the Mary, serenely statue near the pier at Dunoon in Argyll. The ‘Mary’ referred to is ‘Highland Mary’, beloved of Robert Burns, who died whilst still young. The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders began in 1794 as the 98th (Argyllshire) Regiment of Foot and four years later adopted the title 91st Regiment of Foot. The regiment used the march until it became, in 1921, The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (Princess Louise’s) and at that time was it was discontinued in favour of Alford’s famous march The Thin Red Line.


Bonnie Nell

Royal Army Medical Corps


The tune is that of an old English song which apparently refers to Nell Gwynne an actress during the period of Charles II at which time she was at the height of her career. Chappell states the tune was originally a ballad tune, though the words had been lost by his time. He found a few references to the ballad, one as early as 1622 when it was mentioned in The Anatomie of the English Nunnery at Lisbon and the melody appears in Apollo’s Banquet for the Treble Violin (1670).

            The march was arranged by Bandmaster J. Campbell of the 2nd Battalion The Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. It is interesting to note that the Washington Post March was the first Regimental March of the Royal Army Medical Corps. In 1914 it was replaced by Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still and again in 1923 with Bonnie Nell. In 1948 a competition was held to finalize the march for the Corps. The quick march became an arrangement by Major JA Thornburrow of the 17th century song Here’s A Health Unto His Majesty while the slow march Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still.

The Borderers

The King’s Own Scottish Borderers


Little is known about the music once used by the King’s Own Scottish Borderers that were raised in Edinburgh on March 19, 1689 as the Earl of Leven’s Regiment later the 25th Regiment of Foot. In 1887 the King’s Own Scottish Borderers were formed and remained unamalgamated until 2006 when they were amalgamated with five other famous Scottish Regiments. The march did not survive the transition in favour of Scotland the Brave.


Boys of the Old Brigade

The Royal Hospital Chelsea

The Boys of the Old Brigade is an Irish Republican folk song about the Irish Republican Army of the Irish War of Independence 1919-1921. The song consists of a father, a veteran of the Easter Rising of Irish Republicans, telling his son nostalgically about his old comrades on Easter Sunday. Easter Sunday, the anniversary of the Easter Rising is the Republican day of commemoration for those who died in the service of Republican ideals. The song is sentimental rather than aggressive in tone and each chorus ends with the Irish language phrase a ghra ‘ mo chroi (love in my heart), I long to see, the Boys of the Old Brigade”.

            The Royal Hospital Chelsea is a retirement home and nursing home for British soldiers who are unfit for further duty due to injury or old age, located in the Chelsea region of central London. There are over 300 soldiers resident in the Royal Hospital, referred to as ‘in-pensioners’ or Chelsea pensioners.

            The Royal Hospital was founded by King Charles II, who issued a Royal Warrant authorising the building of the Hospital on 22 December 1681, in order to make provision for old or injured soldiers. Many of these soldiers, who were no longer fit for service, had been kept on regimental rolls so that they could continue to receive payment, because there was an inadequate provision of pensions for them. Sir Christopher Wren was commissioned to design and erect the building. His design was based on the Hôpital des Invalides in Paris. The site for the Hospital was an area of Chelsea which held an incomplete building — “Chelsey College”, a theological college founded by James I in 1610. The area had been donated by Charles II to the Royal Society in 1667, but since the Society had been unable to find a suitable use for the site, it was repurchased by the King in February 1682 to provide the site for the Hospital.

            Construction took place at a rapid pace and by the time of Charles II’s death, in 1685, the main hall and chapel of the Hospital had already been completed. The first patients included those injured at the Battle of Sedgemoor. In 1686, Wren expanded his original design to add two additional quadrangles to the east and west of the central court.

            Work was completed in 1692, and the first in-pensioners were admitted in February 1692. By the end of March that year, the full capacity of 476 former soldiers were in residence. In 1694 a Royal Charter was established for a direct naval equivalent to the Royal Hospital Chelsea. Building began in 1696 on the Greenwich Hospital, and it opened in 1705. Because of its elevation, from 1796 to 1816 the Royal Hospital Chelsea hosted a station in the shutter telegraph chain which connected the Admiralty in London to its naval ships in Portsmouth. In 1809, Sir John Soane designed and constructed a new infirmary building, with space for 80 patients, located to the west of the Hospital building on the site of the current National Army Museum. The infirmary was damaged by bombing in the Second World War and later demolished. In 2002, the Sovereign’s Mace was presented to the Hospital — up until then, the Hospital had had no colours or distinctive device — the Mace is now carried at all the ceremonial events at the Hospital.

Boys of Wexford

Irish Guards / Royal Munster Fusiliers (1st & 2nd Bn)

County Wexford is located in the south-eastern corner of Ireland with a coast line that touches both the Irish and Celtic Seas. The name derives from Waesfjoed, a Norse word meaning estuary of mud flats. It was the first part of Ireland to be invaded by Anglo-Normans in 1169 and was subjugated by Oliver Cromwell in 1649. Wexford was one of the centers of the Irish rebellion of 1798 when insurgent pikemen fought heroically against overwhelming odds.

            This song was composed by Robert Dwyer Joyce and the regimental march version was used by both battalions of the Royal Munster Fusiliers. The regiment began in 1756 as the Bengal European Regiment (Honourable East India Company) adopting the title fusiliers in 1846 and finally the Royal Munster Fusiliers 1st and 2nd Battalions in 1881. When the Irish Free State was formed in 1922 the regiment was disbanded which ended a long a distinguished service.

            The Irish Guards were formed in 1900 by Queen Victoria to commemorate the bravery of many Irish regiments in the South African campaigns. The Regiment is one of five regiments in the Guards Division and came by recognized by the famous St. Patrick’s plume on the right side of their bearskin. The regiment adopted this march their Number Two Company.

Boys Won’t Leave the Girls Alone

East Yorkshire Regiment (The Duke of York’s Own)

Formed in 1685 as the Clifton’s Regiment, The East Yorkshire Regiment (The Duke of York’s Own) used this march until the adoption of The Lincolnshire Poacher and finally the Yorkshire Lass. The East Yorkshires adopted this title in 1881 until 1935 when granted the secondary title The Duke of York’s Own was approved. The march did not survive the 1958 amalgamated forming The Prince of Wales’s Own Regiment of Yorkshire that adopted the new march titled The Prince of Wales’s Own Regiment of Yorkshire by the Bandmaster Pinkney using Ca Ira and The Yorkshire Lass. The 2010 list of marches showed the marches to be The Farmer’s Boy combined with Soldiers of the Queen.


20th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force / Queen’s Rangers / The Queen’s Regiment / Queen’s Royal (West Surrey) Regiment/ Queen’s York Rangers, 1st American Regiment / Royal Navy Naval Gunnery School

In 1903, the Queen’s Royal (West Surrey) Regiment adopted this tune shortly after the Commanding Officer received permission to use it from the Portuguese Embassy. The Regiment had a special connection with Queen Catherine of Braganza (Portugal). Its forerunner, The Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment was the oldest English infantry unit, being raised to garrison Tangier in 1661 under the name of The Queen’s Tangier Regiment. The town, along with Bombay, formed part of the dowry of Catherine of Braganza, the daughter of the King of Portugal, on her marriage to Charles II. It is believed that the march and cap badge apply to Catherine of Braganza, however she had no influence on them.

For nearly a century its first battalion had been using The Old Queen’s in which the national anthem God Save the Queen was included. In 1881 when they paraded for Queen Victoria and the Duke of Cambridge the Queen inquired if permission had been given to include it the march. She directed that if it had not been the practice would stop. At this time major changes where taking place in the British Army and one of the changes was directed at the marches and in some cases dealt with quite brutally. It was felt that the use of a National Anthem should not be played as a regimental march. Complying with the order to stop, the Regiment began looking for a new march and this Portuguese tune was chosen with the name Braganza.

            This tune is generally stated to be unknown origins however some research has shown that the initial subject of the march is simply a free adaptation of the air O Patria which was the Portuguese National Anthem of the time. This was composed in 1822 by Don Pedro I of Brazil (formerly King Pedro IV of Portugal) and remained in use as the National Anthem of Portugal until the country became a republic.

            This Portuguese tune lends itself very well to a military march with the opening bars appearing to be a trumpet call similar to the Gloucestershire Regimental Call of 1927. If you listen carefully to this march in the last strain one can clearly hear the Royal Marines A Life on the Ocean Wave. This was inserted because the Royal West Surrey Regiment served as Marines at one time. In 1959 The Queen’s Royal Surrey Regiment was formed from the amalgamation of The Queen’s Royal Regiment (West Surrey), and The East Surrey Regiment then again in 1966 to form the Queen’s Regiment. This lasted until 1992 when again they were amalgamated and this march was not adopted on the formation of the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (Queen’s and Royal Hampshires).

            HMS Excellent inherited the traditions of Queen Charlotte, of Glorious First of June fame, and consequently has always had close association with what was the 1st Queen’s. She later became the Naval Gunnery School at Whale Island, Portsmouth and adopted this march.

            During World War One, the 20th Battalion, CEF, fought alongside the Queen’s Royal Surrey (West Surrey) Regiment. In 1927, the Queen’s Rangers adopted the lanyard, facings and this march of the Queen’s and formed an alliance a year later. In 1936, the amalgamation of The York Rangers and The Queen’s Rangers formed The Queen’s York Rangers, 1st American Regiment and the march was retained.

Brian O’Lynn Breeches

See – Kynegad Slashers


Bravest of the Brave

The Royal Gurkha Rifles

The Royal Gurkha Rifles is a regiment of the British Army that is unique in that it recruits Gurkhas from Nepal, which is a nation independent of the UK and not a member of the Commonwealth. The regiment was formed in 1994 from the amalgamation of the four separate Gurkha regiments in the British Army: 2nd King’s Edward VII’s Own Gurkha Rifles, 6th Queen Elizabeth’s Own Gurkha Rifles, 7th Duke of Edinburgh’s Own Rifles and the 10th Princess Mary’s Own Gurkha Rifles. In December 1995 Lieutenant-Colonel Bijaykumas Rawat became the commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, the first Nepalese to become a battalion commander in the RGR. He oversaw the departure of the battalion from Hong Kong just before its transfer to Chinese control, and the battalion’s relocation to Church Crookham, Hampshire in 1996. Their motto is ‘It’s better to die than to be a coward’. This new march reflects the fighting spirit and fierce reputation of very brace soldiers.

Bravo, Dublin Fusiliers

The Royal Dublin Fusiliers

This was a successful music hall song from the turn of the century composed by G. D. Wheeler in celebration of The Royal Dublin Fusilier’s action at the Battle of Talana. The regiment formed in 1648 as the Madras European Regiment and finally Royal Dublin Fusiliers in 1881 after several name changes spread over 233 years. In 1922 when the Irish Free State was formed the regiment was disbanded ending a long and proud record of service.

Bridesmaid’s Chorus

King’s Royal Rifle Corps

This German march was used by the 3rd Battalion KRRC to march past in quarter column. In 1958 they became the 2nd Green Jackets, The King’s Royal Rifle Corps then in 1966 united with 1st Green Jackets (43rd and 52nd) and 3rd Green Jackets (The Rifle Brigade) to form The Royal Green Jackets. It was at this time the march was not adopted in favour of the combination of Huntsman’s Chorus/Italian Song. Today the regiment is The Rifles using the quick march Mechanised Infantry.

Brigade March of the 56th French Brigade

47th Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force

This march was used by the 47th Battalion CEF which was authorized in July 1915 and went overseas in November being assigned to the 10th Brigade of the 4th Canadian Division. Today the Battalion is perpetuated by The Royal Westminster Regiment.

British Grenadiers

‘C’ Company of the London Regiment / Canadian Grenadier Guards / Grenadier Guards / Honourable Artillery Company / Princess Louise Fusiliers / Royal Artillery / Royal Engineers / Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) / Royal Gibraltar Regiment /  Royal Highland Fusiliers / Royal Marines / Royal Military Academy – Sandhurst / Royal Northumberland Fusiliers / Royal Regiment of Canada / Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery / Royal Regiment of Fusiliers / Royal Scots Fusiliers / Royal Welch Fusiliers / Sherbrooke Fusiliers Regiment CASF / West Toronto Regiment / Winnipeg Grenadiers

William Chappell wrote in 1859, “Next to the National Anthem, there is not any tune of a more spirit-stirring character, nor is any more truly characteristic of English national music.” When Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660 he decided that a regiment be raised for his personal protection that would become over time First Regiment of Foot Guards until 1815 when the present title, The Grenadier Guards, was granted after the Battle of Waterloo. It was during this battle that Guards held their positions even after repeated French attacks. This feat of beating Napoleon’s finest infantry was commemorated by the present title being awarded. It was published in the London Gazette of 29July 1815: “HRH (the Prince Recent) has been pleased to approve of the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards being made a Regiment of Grenadiers, and styled ‘The 1st or Grenadier Regiment of Foot Guards,’ in commemoration of their having defeated the Grenadiers of the French Imperial Guards upon this memorable occasion.” There is no better known regimental march and none that closely applies to a particular regiment as it has become inseparably connected.

            Although the music may have existed around the time of Queen Elizabeth (1558-1603) the British Army did not have Grenadiers until the mid 17th century. The song The British Grenadiers was first performed orally at Covent Garden in 1780 at the time of the victory of Savannah were British forces defeated the American’s during the War of Independence. The earliest version found ended With the noble Duke of Cumberland, And the British Grenadiers different that the version used today.

            The march also had great popularity during the Napoleonic War and was also used in Canada at the same time. In two cases the march was played at the capture of Fort Detroit and Niagara. A Canadian volunteer, Charles Askin, described the American capitulation of Detroit on August 16th, 1812 After the Americans had marched out, the Grenadiers and Light Infantry of the 41st Regt, and Volunteers in that Regt…marched into the Fort, with Drum and fife, to the Tune of British Grandadiers. I usr say that I never felt so proud, as I did just then”.

            On December 18th, 1813 the British took Fort Niagara. The drummers of the 100th Regiment mounted the roof of a building and played this tune as a signal to British troops on the Canadian side of the river that the assault had been successful.

            Just after the beginning of WW1 during the Retreat from Mons, some 400 stragglers from the British Army wandered into St. Quentin where they found Major Bridges. All the men were very exhausted and unable to continue from the continuous marching and fighting. The major tried just about every thing to get them moving even telling them that the enemy was close and they were close to being captured. No effect. He had to get them moving and recalled how the bands had inspirited troops. He noticed a toy shop close by and brought a tin whistle and toy drum. Giving the whistle to his trumpeter and himself on the drum then began playing some well known tunes which included British Grenadiers, Tipperary and other airs. The men could not help but laugh and got up, fell in and marched away singing with the improvised band being accompanied by a couple of mouth organs. All would eventually join their regiments. Sir Henry Newbolt was very taken by the episode he wrote a poem of it called The Toy Band. Later Sir Richard Paget would write the music. The first four lines of the third verse clearly demonstrates just how the simplest music can inspire men: Cheerily goes the dark road, cheerily goes the night / Cheerily goes the blood to keep the beat / Half a thousand dead men marching on to fight / With a little penny whistle to lift their feet.

            Regiments, such as The Royal Artillery, The Royal Engineers, The Grenadier Guards and all Fusiliers regiments of the British Army had the flaming grenade as part of their dress. In 1835, regiments were authorized to play The British Grenadiers before any other regimental march. The Royal Military Academy – Sandhurst adopted the tune but for what reason there appears to be none; ‘C’ Company of the London Regiment adopted it as a company tune; prior to 1881 each Division of the Royal Marines had its own march which changed as new commanders were appointed. This tune was one of the more popular choices along with Dashing White Sergeant and Le Prophet. Today the Royal Engineers combine it with Wings.

The Royal Artillery, for over a hundred years, has used it as their official march past with Kenneth Alford’s march Voice of the Guns as an unofficial counterpart. Lt. Col. Stan Patch arranged the two tunes into one when Senior Director of Music for the Royal Artillery. It was first publicly performed and adopted at Woolwich on 14 April 1983. In the old Robert Collin’s Fife Books (1806-34) are two totally different marches called British Grenadiers, both of which seems to have been used among other marches in this collection without any special regimental significance. James Lawson stated that the present day version was adopted by the Artillery through a mistake. The story goes that an old Peninsular and Waterloo officer of the Regiment, who was on a visit to Woolwich, asked the Bandmaster why he did not play the Grenadier’s March as the Artillery march past. The Bandmaster replied, thinking that the officer meant British Grenadier, that the latter was not recognized as the regimental march, but only as one of many used by the band. He promised the old officer, however, that he would hear this march the next time he paid a visit to the regiment. From that day this tune became the accepted regimental march, whereas the truth is that the old officer had the early (Train of) Artillery Grenadiers March of the 18th century in mind. That the present British Grenadiers was recognized as the regimental march quite early may be gathered from the fact that Smyth introduced it into his Royal Artillery Galop (ca 1855). The melody of the British Grenadiers is an old one. As a song, to those well known words, it dates from 1799, when it was sung in Charles Dibdin’s Harlequin Everywhere, although it was not published in that score.

The Honourable Artillery Company (HAC) is the oldest surviving regiment in the British Army and the second most senior in the Territorial Army and is not part of the Royal Artillery but a separate regiment.

The Royal Gibraltar Regiment is the home defence unit for the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. It was formed in 1958 from the Gibraltar Defence Force as an infantry unit, with an integrated artillery troop. Initially a reserve force, on the withdrawal of the British Army garrison from the colony in 1991, it was placed on the British Army’s regular establishment attached to British Forces Gibraltar. In 1999 the regiment was granted the Royal title. The regiment also has responsibility for the Ceremony of the Keys in Gibraltar.

            In Canada the march was used several regiments – the Royal Regiment of Canada combine this tune with Here’s to the Maiden. The march was carried over from its predecessor The Royal Regiment of Toronto Grenadiers; the Canadian Grenadier Guards are allied with their English counterparts The Grenadier Guards thus using the same marches; the Princess Louise Fusiliers can trace their roots back to 1749 when Admiral Cornwallis ordered the formation of ten companies. The first authorization of the title Princess Louis Fusiliers was in 1879 with the present title being adopted in 1958. The march is still used today and may have been selected due to its popularity at the time; prior to the 1925 amalgamation the West Toronto Regiment had used the march but it did not survive the amalgamation when they became the Queen’s Rangers and later the Queen’s York Rangers which adopted Braganza;the Sherbrooke Fusiliers Regiment CASF used the march prior their 1946 disbandment; the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery continues to use the march as a dismounted Regimental quick march through their alliance with the Royal Artillery and the Winnipeg Grenadiers until disbandment in 1965.

The Bronze Horse

55th Regiment of Foot

The 55th Regiment of Foot, raised in 1755, saw service in Canada (1757-60) and took part in the campaigning during the American war of Independence. They had used this march, along with The Lass of Gowrie up to 1881 when they amalgamation with the 34th to form The Border Regiment that adopted the march John Peel.

Brose and Butter

(The Peacock Followed/Follows the Hen and Cuddle Me, Cuddy, Yellow Stockings, Mad Moll, Up and Down Again and The Virgin Queen )

Most Highland Regiments / Royal Canadian Regiment

The melody is still used as a mess call in Highland regiments as does the Royal Canadian Regiment for the pipes meal call. The tunes is also known as The Peacock Followed/Follows the Hen and Cuddle Me, Cuddy, Yellow Stockings, Mad Moll, Up and Down Again and The Virgin Queen. According to Ford (Song Histories, 1900, pgs. 189-190) Brose and Butter was a favourite air of Charles II in his exile. Despite the reference to the king which would date it to the 1640’s a printed version does not appear until Robert Bremner’s 1757 collection. Brose is Scottish dish made with a boiling liquid and meal. Origins of the term are unclear, although it is suggested that perhaps it is an alteration of the Scots bruis broth, from Middle English brewes, from Old French broez, nominative singular of broet, diminutive of breu broth (see also note for “Atholl Brose”).

Brothers Three

Scots Guards


This march is believed to have been composed by the Marchioness of Tullibaroine. Today it is used by the Scots Guards for the 2nd Battalion, G Company.


Brown Haired Maiden

Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders / Black Watch / Queen’s Own Highlanders


One of the most popular songs of the Highlands, this was translated from the Gaelic in the late 19th century by the Scottish poet John Stuart Blackie. This march was used by ‘C’ Companies of the Black Watch and the Queen’s Own Highlanders along with ‘A’ Company of the 1st Bn Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.


Brownie’s Quickstep

55th Regiment, Megantic Light Infantry

This march was once used by the 55th Regiment, Megantic Light Infantry (Canadian Militia) until 1912 when they were disbanded.


The Buffs

14th Battalion Volunteer Militia Rifles, Canada / The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment) / King’s Own Rifles of Canada / Princess of Wales’ Own Regiment / Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada / Queen’s Regiment

This march is attributed to George Frideric Handel since the second section resembles a theme in his ‘Acis and Galatea.’ It is suggested that Handel took a liking to The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment) and wrote this tune for them. The music of a slow march entitled Old Buffs March was discovered in the British museum and there is firm evidence that this was indeed written by Handel and probably accounts for the tradition. Originating in company form around 1572, in the City of London, it would be the nucleus of the British force that would fight in Holland. For the next seventy-five years it helped the Dutch to free themselves from the Spanish Army. Some of the troops became the Holland Regiment, on the English Establishment. Due to the buff facings, breeches, and stockings they were to become known as The Buffs. In 1966 they became the 2nd Battalion The Queen’s Regiment and the combined with A Hundred Pipers to form the new regimental march that was passed down through several amalgamations however was not adopted when The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment choosing Soldiers of the Queen.

            The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada were formed in 1882 tracing their origins back to 1860. It began using the march after Colonel Otter requested permission from The Buffs to use this tune. In 1910, Colonel Sir Henry Pellat took the Queen’s Own to maneuvers in Aldershot, England to train with the British Army. Both regiments noticed a common march being used and celebrated with mess dinners being held simultaneously – the Buffs at Fermoy, Ireland and the Queen’s Own at the Royal Canadian Military Institute in Toronto; The Princess of Wales’ Own Regiment was formed in 1863 as the 14th Battalion Volunteer Militia Rifles Canada and may have used the tune since that time;  The King’s Own Rifles of Canada also used the tune since their 1924 formation later converting to armour in 1946 as the 20th (Saskatchewan) Armoured Regiment that later became the Saskatchewan Dragoons. Throughout the changes the march was always retained.


The Bugle Horn

Lake Superior Regiment (Motor)


This bugle tune was used by the former Lake Superior Regiment (Motor) until 1949 when they were reorganized as the Lake Superior Scottish Regiment and the highland tune Heiland Laddie was adopted.


Bundle and Go

33 (Halifax) Service Battalion

The 33 (Halifax) Service Battalion was established in 1965, bringing together four companies and a squadron, each with its own unique role and history. Since then the battalion has played a critical role in training and providing Reserve Army personnel for important military operations both at home and abroad. Operating from “Willow Park” in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada they do so with the motto is Peritia Meremur (Service worthy of merit or praise).

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2 Responses to “Regimental Marches of the Commonwealth A B”

  1. My family always say that I am killing my time here at net, however I
    know I am getting knowledge all the time by reading such pleasant articles or reviews.

  2. James I. Murdoch says:

    Very informative site.

    I would like to clarify a couple of points concerning the old 25th Regiment of Foot, later The King’s Own Scottish Borderers.

    The 25th were formed by David Leslie 3rd Earl of Leven to defend Edinburgh from the Jacobites in March 1689.
    They were called Leven’s or The Edinburgh Regiment and used ‘Leven’s March’ (AKA ‘ Blue Bonnets o’er The Border’) as their rallying tune, it later became their Regimental Quick March. The 25th had Pipers from their inception, one, Musselburgh’s town Piper, was kidnapped by Leven’s Regiment when they were being formed ‘By Beat of Drum’ in the shadows of Edinburgh Castle.

    Despite many name changes during their long history the 25th always thought of themselves as a Scottish regiment, retaining Pipers and Scottish drum beats throughout. Likewise their Slow March ‘The Borderers Slow March’ – its composer lost in the mists of time.

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