Brightons piper plays lament at Great War memorial in Ypres

Evan Finnegan playing the lament on Armistice Day in Ypres.
Evan Finnegan playing the lament on Armistice Day in Ypres.

A piper from Brightons had the honour of playing the lament to mark Armistice Day at the site of one of the Great War’s bloodiest battles.

Evan Finnegan took part in the service at the Menin Gate to the Missing in Ypres, Belgium, on November 11.

The 35-year-old played the ancient Scottish folk tune ‘Flowers o’ the Forest’, which is traditionally performed by a lone piper at military funerals.

A remembrance service takes place every Armistice Day at the Menin Gate, one of the most famous World War One memorials.

It stands at the eastern exit to the town of Ypres, on the road which hundreds of thousands of British and Commonwealth soldiers marched along as they headed to the battlefields of Ypres Salient. The memorial lists the names of 54,896 Commonwealth troops who were killed there and have no known burial place.

Evan, a former soldier with the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, has been playing the pipes since he was seven.

It is the third time he has played the lament at the Menin Gate.

He said: “The ‘Flowers o’ the Forest is a tune that pipers will only practice in private, as it is only ever played in public at military funerals. There’s a bit of superstition among pipers about it.”

Evan, who now works with Scottish Water, travelled to Belgium for the service with his eldest daughter Samina (14).

“I think it’s really important that the younger generations learn about the sacrifices that were made during the war. Remembrance Day should be always be marked,” he added.