The Battle Of The Somme (July - November 1916) is one of the bloodiest battles in history. The British Army has been deeply affected and a painful remembrance still remains in collective memory.
Pipe Major William Lawrie (1881-1916) was himself engaged in this trench warfare and died on November, 28th of 1916. He left about twenty bagpipe tunes including this one composed in memory of this bloody battle.
For the record, the score published in the Scots Guards vol.1 embodies a mistake in the second bar of part 2 : I've corrected the second beat by replacing the 16th note by an embellishment that fits to this 9/8 tune.
Regarding these Retreat Airs, we must keep in mind that they are not supposed to be played in the middle of a battle : they are part of military rituals in camp, e.g. for marking the end of the day duties and the beginning of the night ones.
The Battle Of The Somme is rather an air of remembrance (almost closed to a Slow Air) than a march.
I've chosen to play it at 82 BPM, a bit slower than my other retreat tunes.
The Battle Of The Somme