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‘Light from the darkness’ - Norfolk man leads international armistice tribute

PUBLISHED: 06:50 08 October 2018 | UPDATED: 08:30 08 October 2018

Pageantmaster and Battle's Over organiser Bruno Peek, 67, planning the Battles Over tribute to the World War One fallen, at his home in Gorleston-on-Sea. Picture Joe Giddens/PA Wire.

Pageantmaster and Battle's Over organiser Bruno Peek, 67, planning the Battles Over tribute to the World War One fallen, at his home in Gorleston-on-Sea. Picture Joe Giddens/PA Wire.

A pageant master from Norfolk has co-ordinated an international tribute to the First World War fallen, 100 years after the bloody conflict ended.

Pageantmaster and Battle's Over organiser Bruno Peek, 67, planning the Battles Over tribute to the World War One fallen, at his home in Gorleston-on-Sea. Picture Joe Giddens/PA Wire.Pageantmaster and Battle's Over organiser Bruno Peek, 67, planning the Battles Over tribute to the World War One fallen, at his home in Gorleston-on-Sea. Picture Joe Giddens/PA Wire.

Bruno Peek, 67, said he worked with town and parish councils and organisations across the world, sending emails from his home in Gorleston near Great Yarmouth, to bring his vision for the tribute to life.

The international event, named ‘Battles over’ after the tune played by Scottish regiments at the end of a battle, will see pipers playing, beacons lit and church bells ringing in all corners of the world.

Mr Peek, a former welder, said the tribute had taken four years to plan and would include hundreds of local events to mark the centenary of the Armistice on November 11.

The Gorleston-pageant master said: “(Battles over) is going to pay tribute to the millions who either died or returned home dreadfully wounded during or after the war finished on November 11 1918.

Pageantmaster and Battle's Over organiser Bruno Peek, 67, planning the Battles Over tribute to the World War One fallen, at his home in Gorleston-on-Sea. Picture Joe Giddens/PA Wire.Pageantmaster and Battle's Over organiser Bruno Peek, 67, planning the Battles Over tribute to the World War One fallen, at his home in Gorleston-on-Sea. Picture Joe Giddens/PA Wire.

“I wanted to put together an international project that was led by the people of the world, not by governments or organisations but real community-based commemorations, because as we know so many soldiers that died came from local communities, small towns and parishes, not just in the UK but other countries around the world.”

More than 1,300 pipers around the globe will play at 6am local time, from village greens and in high streets, to a lone piper in front of the Tomb Of The Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey in London.

Mr Peek said it would create a “swathe of sound across the world”.

Events later in the day will include more than 1,000 buglers playing “The Last Post” and hundreds of town criers across performing “A Cry For Peace.”

Pageantmaster and Battle's Over organiser Bruno Peek, 67, planning the Battles Over tribute to the World War One fallen, at his home in Gorleston-on-Sea. Picture Joe Giddens/PA Wire.Pageantmaster and Battle's Over organiser Bruno Peek, 67, planning the Battles Over tribute to the World War One fallen, at his home in Gorleston-on-Sea. Picture Joe Giddens/PA Wire.

Mr Peek has been in charge of organising major royal celebrations and international events for more than 36.

He said: “It’s been a long process, a lot of administration, but I feel so privileged to be working with so many people who want to pay tribute to those who gave so much so that we enjoy the freedom of speech and movement we have today.”

Sound of bagpipes to kick off day’s events

Battle’s Over, a series of hundreds of local events to mark the centenary of the Armistice, will take place on November 11.

The timings will be as follows:

6am - The sound of bagpipes will fill the air as more than 1,300 pipers play the tune When The Battle’s Over, also known as Battle’s O’er.

6.55pm - Buglers will play The Last Post at more than 1,000 First World War beacon sites. This is in association with the Air Training Corps, Army Cadet Force, Sea Cadet Force, Boys’ Brigade and the Light Infantry Buglers Association.

7pm - More than 1,000 beacons will be lit, starting with one at London’s Westminster Abbey.

7.05pm - Bells will ring out for peace at more than 1,000 churches and cathedrals. More than 140 town criers, led by a Chelsea Pensioner from the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, will undertake A Cry For Peace Around The World.

History of tune behind First World War centenary events

Battle’s Over, described as a nation’s tribute, is a series of hundreds of local events commemorating the centenary of the end of the First World War on November 11 2018.

It takes its name from a tune that was traditionally played by the pipers of Scottish regiments at the end of a battle, called When The Battle’s Over.

The retreat march told a soldier to return to his company to answer to his name at roll call.

It was composed by Pipe Major William Robb (1863-1909) of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and quickly established itself in the pipers’ repertoire between the Boer War and Great War.

Stuart Letford, manager of the College of Piping in Glasgow, wrote that it remains a popular tune with pipers and described it as a “fitting” selection for a tribute.

Andy Stewart, the Scottish singer, put lyrics to the tune in 1961 with the chorus: “March no more my soldier laddie; There is peace where there once was war. Sleep in peace my soldier laddie; Sleep in peace, now the battle’s over.”

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