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79th’s Farewell to Gibraltar (A)

“79th’s Farewell to Gibraltar” was composed by Pipe Major John MacDonald in 1848, and played often at sessions in Edinburgh.  It is sometimes called “the finest pipe march ever written.” He composed it upon the occasion of the regiment’s receiving orders to leave “the rock,” their post in Gibraltar. The 79th Regiment, which is more correctly called the 79th Regiment of Foot, was originally supposed to have gone to the West Indies, infamous for its unhealthy climate and the inordinate number of casualties due to fever. At the last minute the regiment was posted instead to Canada, due to the intervention of the Lord Advocate for Scotland, Andrew Rutherfurd, who just happened to be the commanding officer’s brother and an old 79th officer himself.  The title of this march is probably meant as an inside joke since “the transport lay off Gibraltar for some days, delayed by contrary winds,” and so making the farewell a long, tedious event — from David Murray, Music of the Scottish Regiments (New York: The Pentland Press, 1994), 120.  The 79th Regiment is also known as “the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders,” the only single-battalion regiment in the British army until 1897. It has periodically consisted of Scotsmen and Englishmen, and for a time was stationed in Ireland.

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79th’s Farewell to Gibraltar,

 

79th’s Farewell to Gibraltar,

 

 

 

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