The Heroism of Piper A. McDonald

The Heroism of Private A. McDonald (Royal Highlanders).

During and immediately after the Great War there were many popular publications designed to keep the home front informed. In retrospect many might not consider them fair and balanced in their reporting, and that would be true.  The purpose of these publications was to boost national morale and highlight the valour of its men on the front lines. Often artists were commissioned to illustrate an action for which no photographs could be found. In an age where combat photography was in its infancy, artists were steadily employed. In this image, John F. Campbell captures the gallant action of two pipers leading their company into the fray.  Piper McDonald was awarded the D.C.M. for “conspicuous gallantry”  leading the men across two lines of enemy trenches. At the third line his companion piper was shot and killed.  That moment depicted by the artist captures the life and death actions of warrior pipers in battle. These images have a worth beyond that of a still archival photograph. They capture the glory and emotion in a way that a stark black and white grainy image from that era never could.

About The Author

Ian is an acclaimed writer, producer, and director of documentary films and multimedia events. He is also a competitive bagpiper and has produced large scale multimedia concerts and pipe band recordings. It is his combined passion for film and piping that endow him with a unique and personal perspective for the Pipes of War project.


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