16th Battalion Badges -Getting it right –

When Authenticity Matters

The vast majority of the audience might never see the difference. Many wouldn’t know if anything was a miss, but there are those that would. Perhaps most importantly, I would. I would know if it was not right. How could I live with that?

Documenting history on film is always a challenge. It generally requires years of research, a stable of historians, and a talented team of craftsmen to recreate artifacts and bring the past to life, even if only on a production set. To get it right you have to immerse yourself in the period. You have to become an expert in the subject matter. When a filmmaker looses himself in the story and that story becomes a part of his life, it becomes a passion that can be translated onto film.  For those filmmakers it is not about a paycheck, not about rushing a mediocre product out the door.

I first learned about Piper Richardson when I was 11 years old. I was learning to play the bagpipes from a wise old Pipe Major. During our lessons he would take a moment to tell me about the history of the pipes and the brave men who used them as a weapon of war. I was inspired by the accounts of heroism and thrilled by the sounds I was beginning to make. That was more than 20 years ago. Today I still pipe, it became a lifelong passion, and telling the stories of the hero pipers on film became my passion project; or rather something of my life’s purpose.

I share that insight into my background because for me there is no compromise. We have to get it right, even down to the minutest detail.  I say ‘we’, because when it comes to passion for this project I am not alone. Since beginning production on Jimmy’s story in 2006, I have had the opportunity to meet many individuals who have spent decades immersed in the subject matter. They have proven to be invaluable to the development of this film. Bringing their lifetimes of experience in history, tactics, and technical aspects of the Great War, these experts are helping translate the reality of the trenches onto film. I will have occasion to acknowledge them individually in various posts on this blog. Today I reverently bow my head in appreciation of Pipe Major Roger McGuire of the 16th Battalion Canadian Scottish and MCpl. Dale M Drysdale, piper, and member of the 16th Battalion Pipe Band.

MCpl. Drysdale is the premier historian of the 16th Battalion Pipe Band. The History of the 16th Battalion Pipe Band, which he wrote, can be found among the links on the Unparalleled Valour ‘extras page’ on this website. His knowledge of the band and its insignia is unrivaled. To our great fortune Dale is also a collector. Below appear a few of the authentic WWI issued 16th Battalion badges in Dale’s collection. In an effort to ensure the authenticity of this film in every aspect, Dale has graciously lent these originals to the production from which exact copies will be struck. Pipe Major McGuire has also been generous in lending an original Lennox tartan bag cover and ribbons from that period.

I wish to publicly thank them both here.

For these men, whose lives have been lived honoring the proud traditions of the 16th Battalion, there is no compromise. They understand the need to ‘get it right.’

16th Battalion ‘Canadian Scottish’ Shoulder Badge

General Issue C over 16 Battalion Collar Badge

Smaller “Officer’s Issue” C over 16 Battalion Collar Badge

16th Battalion Cap Badge

16th Battalion Officer’s Collar Badge

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.


5 Responses to “16th Battalion Badges -Getting it right –”

  1. I am trying to locate a pair of 16th Battalion Cdn Scottish lapel badges.
    I prefer the officers type. Any assistance you could provide would
    be greatly appreciated.

    Bill Reith, 2330 Southborough Drive, Nanaimo, C. C. V9X 1X1 (250) 722-2945

  2. @William Reith

    Those particular badges are near impossible to find as originals. I have only ever held one and that I was fortunate enough to secure loan of in order to have a production designer create a mold for re-strikes. Those re-struck badges are identical in every way to the original, save for the history and are what our actors are wearing in various scenes. However, James Richardson’s costume bears the originals from that era.

    We are currently considering items of interest to include for sale upon the mass release of this film. Some badges might just find their way on to the market.
    If we refrain from creating a marketable copy of those particular collar tiles, I will see if I can set aside a pair and contact you after filming is complete.

    Best regards,


  3. Very helpful post Looking forward for further content on your site

  4. Bill Reith says:

    Thank you for your consideration of my search for 16 Btln. Cdn Scottish
    lapel badges. I should let you know that I would wear them on my
    Nanaimo Pipes and Drums uniform tunic as a tribute to my Uncle, Private
    George Bury, Canadian Scottish who died in action, Tuesday, May 16, 1916,
    aged 24 years.
    I look forward to the release of your movie production.

    William V. Reith

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