Scots Guards Dedicate their Album 'From Helmand to Horse Guards' to Fallen Colleagues in Afghanistan

Share Article

‘From Helmand to Horse Guards’ features renowned folk singers Kate Rusby and Isla St Clair, and the surprise singing talents of Sgt. John Norwood. A percentage of sales from the album is to be donated to the Scots Guards Colonel’s Fund to assist bereaved families and injured Scots Guardsmen who were injured in action.

'From Helmand to Horse Guards', 1st Battalion Scots Guards

We achieved a lot over the course of the six months in stabilizing the Afghan’s way of life, which was the main reason why we were all there, to bring civility back to the nation.

The 1st Battalion Scots Guards release ‘From Helmand to Horse Guards’ through ARC Music on 13th June 2011, in dedication to their colleagues who died on military duty in Afghanistan.

As the album name suggests the Scots Guards are due to appear at Horse Guards Parade, London, on Saturday 11th June to Troop their Colour at Her Majesty The Queen’s Official Birthday Parade. This will round off a prestigious two-week period for the battalion, as they are also due to perform at a State Banquet at Buckingham Palace for HM The Queen and President Obama on May 25th.

Of course, with all the pomp and circumstance of their ceremonial duties it is easy to forget that the Scots Guards, first-and-foremost, are soldiers in the British military. In 2010 the regiment undertook a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan, stationed in Lashkar Gah, Helmand province where they held a groundholding and mentoring role for the Afghan police and national army. “We achieved a lot over the course of the six months in stabilizing the Afghan’s way of life, which was the main reason why we were all there, to bring civility back to the nation,” says Pipe Major Brian Heriot, who leads the Scots Guards on these recordings.

‘From Helmand to Horse Guards’ is dedicated to the memory of those colleagues who died on duty, giving their lives in support of the Afghan nation’s fight against the oppression of the Taliban.

This is perhaps most poignantly illustrated in the song ‘We Will Remember Them’, on which Isla St Clair sings the moving classic Scottish folk song ‘Flowers of the Forest’ while Pipe Major Heriot plays a lament on the bagpipes. “She’s such a great singer, and it’s an honour to have her on the album,” says PMaj. Heriot. “Isla was with us on our America trip in 2009. We would perform this every evening right across the country and the crowds all loved it, and we thought it was a fitting tribute to our fallen comrades to use on the album.”

The album also boasts an appearance from another established folk singer, Kate Rusby, with the song ‘Fare Thee Well’, a track Kate originally wrote for her own album ‘The Girl Who Couldn’t Fly’. In 2005 Kate invited the Scots Guards to add a pipes section to the song for a performance on Jools Holland’s Annual Hootenanny (BBC 2). The result was so moving that both parties agreed to feature that version of the song on this album.

Perhaps the biggest surprise on ‘From Helmand to Horse Guards’ is the singing talents of Platoon Sergeant John Norwood, who features on two tracks, ‘Wild Mountain Thyme’ and a stirring rendition of Frankie Miller’s ‘Caledonia’. Sgt Norwood was until recently a hidden talent in the Scots Guards’ ranks. He was a Mess Caterer serving in the Sergeants’ Mess, and joined in on a busking session one night. “He came from behind the bar and sang Caledonia and blew us away. Everyone was in awe when they heard his voice”, admits PMaj. Heriot. “It was a real surprise. I think he is going to make it to the big time.” He concludes with a laugh, “we’ll just make sure he remembers where he started!”

# # #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Chris Tomsett