In 1815 a Mackay played an important part in the famous battle at Waterloo. Piper Kenneth Mackay of the 79th (Cameron) Battalion courageously stepped outside the safety of the regimental square playing his pipes and inspired his regiment to repel continuous charges of French cavalry.


A poem by Lawrence Owen Creviston

THE SQUARE

In honor of Piper Kenneth MacKay ---- Battle of Waterloo

My eyes are stinging, my ears are ringing, and my uniform is bloodied and tattered. The Highlanders were fiercely mauled today, but their square was never shattered. The orders were to hold our ground. The order, "Form a square!" was given. As we watched the French horsemen approach our square, all our emotion was hidden.

The ground shook, hooves sounded as thunder, and the cavalrymen hollered and yelled. I at attention blew on my pipes and added its tune to this hell. I watched as steel-clad horsemen died. "Front rank- ready...aim...fire!" The horsemen behind would trample their dead, and our lads fired till they were tired.

So many horsemen met our kneeling lads, at the front rank of the square. The horses ran upon their bayonets and the red line began to tear. "Replacements, double-quick! Fill in the holes!" the men began to falter, so I leapt from the square and began to march 'round in my best regimental saunter.

The first time 'round. the lads just stared: "Why's e out there ya think?" The second time 'round they stared and smiled and some even gave a wink. The third time 'round my purpose was clear, and I was met with cheer upon cheer. My task accomplished I marched back to square and continued to play from there.

I stand in my place from earlier today and look at the lads remains, and I shouldered my pipes and played a lament to honor your suffering and pain. So do not believe that your death was for naught, or will be taken as some small token...because even in death you form a perfect square, and prove...........

the Highlanders were never broken!

 

Lawrence Owen Creviston
Pipe Major
The Highland Guards

This poem is presented here with Lawrence Creviston's permission. This poem or any part thereof may not be copied or reproduced in any form without Lawrence Creviston's permission

page created 5th July 1999

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