The Enemy Journal

The following is an excerpt from the diary of a German soldier in WWI, on display at Stirling Castle next to William Lawrie’s bagpipes:


My heart is racing as I peer over the top. I see a piper climb out of his trench and start to pipe his war music. His music is a thing of beauty in such a place of tragedy and death, that acts like a psychological torture for us, since it signals an impending charge, death, blood and carnage. It seems rather odd for a man in a kilt to play his bagpipes so casually as if he was in his homeland.

We do not know much about these wild men from another land, but we do know that they are the most fierce, courageous group of men that we will ever encounter. They are good down to earth men, who we respect. I feel bad at what I must do next.

I pick up a rifle and as I pull the trigger I whisper to the piper who cannot hear me “sorry brother.” I hear the pipes fall silent like a wounded animal as the piper falls backwards, tears fill my eyes as the pipes become silent. I feel as if I destroyed the only thing of beauty at the front and I feel that his family will no longer hear his music. I want to cover myself up with mud and hide myself from judgment. I see them advancing and I forget about my moment of weakness and continue with my job…

Lt. Karl Emil Schaefer, German Army, c1914-1918

WWI German Diary


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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