of Bill Jenkins, the Lone Piper
to the Monuments and Cemetries of Bangalore .
A steady trample of footsteps,
synchronized with the wailing of bagpipes and the kettle drums , rumbled
across Europe. It was at the beginning of the second decade of the 20th
Century that the madness broke across the lands of the countries of England,
Germany, Austria, Hungary, Belgium, Serbia, Italy, Russia, France and all
the smaller countries between them. In this madness, men in soldier's uniform,
unprotected (by any body armour vests like we have today) face each other.
The trenches and fields turned red with their blood. There was pride and
honour of not taking shelter, there really wasn't any either, and 'stand
and deliver' or be killed was their motto. Thousands upon thousands of broken
hearted mothers' sons and sometimes their husbands fell side by side to
protect what? a country? a community? a religion? the human race? A senseless
malady of a single obsession, kill and move on leaving in the dust, thousands
of crosses, rifles with their barrels and bayonets deep in the ground,
a helmet perched upon their butts, marking the last resting place of a
soldier, a friend or a foe. Death had no preferences, and at times white
flags were waved between warring camps so that the dead could be buried.
The death toll was the highest during the First World War (WWI), and Monuments
were later erected in the lands where the soldiers had fallen.
Twenty plus years later the Second World War (WWII) left in it's
wake a similar collection of Monuments and Cemeteries, this time spread
ever further East in the Asian Continent, covering the Pacific Islands,
Japan, India, Malaya, Singapore, Burma apart from Europe and the Middle
With this background, reliving memories of the 'Forgotten Soldiers'
became a necessity as those who fought besides them were soon dwindling
in numbers and those left behind were too frail with age and challenges.
Emerging from the mist surrounding the Monuments and Cemeteries
with their rows of white crosses or rectangular obelisks, a lone piper,
marches in dressed in the traditional Scottish kilt and blowing a set of
bagpipes. This figure is none other than
William 'Bill" Jenkins
(today in 2006 he is 71 years old). Bill served with the 42 Commando
Royal Marines in the '50's and later joined the British Constabulary
as a Police Officer. Bill is from Liverpool.
Bill has been going around the world for the last fifteen years,
blowing a 'lament' on his pipers at the graves or monuments of soldiers
who died during the Great Wars. He has been given the honour and permission
to wear the Scottish pipers outfit by the Scottish Regiment. He visited
Greece, where he played his pipes at the 20,000 grave cemetery in Thessoloniki,
a good many of the graves belonged to Indian Soldiers. This encouraged Bill
to visit India and he did so in 1991. He covered many of the Cemeteries
in the North of India, New Delhi Cemeteries, Kirkee War Cemetery ,
and ended his tour at the War Memorial at Chennai.
The year 2006, Bill stung by a bug to travel again, this time it
was to Bangalore. Bill wrote to me that he proposed to come down. There
was only one person who capable of co-ordinating and orchestrating this
Project. The visit was scheduled with the help of none other but the
ever fresh 81 year old Admiral O.D. Dawson, PVSM, AVSM (Retd), Indian
Navy, who meticulously
chalked out a program for Bill and his wife Jean who had accompanied
him for the first time on one of his 'lament' trips. They arrived in Bangalore
from Goa on Thursday, 9th March 2006 evening by Kingfisher Airlines (Yes,
UB Beer has expanded into the airlines business!!) and stayed at the
Naval Detachment Officers Mess with the kind arrangement by the Admiral.
Bill and Jean left back to Goa on Monday, 13th March 2006 taking the Kingfisher
Airlines flight again. So now you know that it's not only The Beatles
who come from Liverpool that can make music worldwide!!
Please follow the Program Links
below to view the photographs and details of the ceremonies.
Admiral O.D. Dawson
is also well know for his work fighting to restore the historic
200 year Agram Cemetery in the ASC Officers Mess, Bangalore, for which
a webpage has been created at URL: (
) and also one for the Memory of the Kursk at URL: (
Program was arranged for Bill Jenkins by Admiral OS Dawson:
Friday, 10th March, 2006
, Bangalore 1500 Hrs - Lament and Wreath laying at Protestant Cemetery
No.2 , War Memorial on Hosur Road
Saturday, 11th March, 2006
, Bangalore 1100 Hrs - Lament
and Wreath laying
at St. John's Cemetery, Kalpully
- Saturday, 11th March,
2006 , Bangalore - Lament at Queen's Own, Sappers and Miners War Memorial
(MEG Parade Ground) (Visit cancelled because
clearance not received from MEG Officers) (
This War Memorial photos
Saturday, 11th march, 2006
, Bangalore 1630 Hrs - Visit to the 200 - year Agram Cemetery, ACS
Officer's Mess premises
Sunday, 12th March, 2006
, Bangalore 0830 Hrs - To play at the Service at St. Mark's
Sunday, 12th March, 2006
, Bangalore 1115 Hrs - Lament
and Wreath laying
at War Memorial, Minsk Square, Raj Bhavan Road, GPO
send any queries to Ronnie Johnson, 5/3 King Street, Richmond Town,
, Phone: 91 80 22240145
Note: This website is prepared and maintained
by Ronnie Johnson, Bangalore , commemorating the visit of Bill Jenkins
to Bangalore during 9th - 13th March 2006. This webpage is personal and
in no way connected with any organization either Civil or Military
Visit Ronnie's Bangalore
"Forgotten Soldier" web page.