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 East.
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: ( http://www.oocities.org/footsoldier_2000 ) and also one for the Memory of the Kursk at URL: ( http://www.oocities.org/osdawson ).
The Following 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 Cathedral
- Sunday, 12th March, 2006 , Bangalore 1115 Hrs - Lament and Wreath laying at War Memorial, Minsk Square, Raj Bhavan Road, GPO
Please send any queries to Ronnie Johnson, 5/3 King Street, Richmond Town, Bangalore 560025.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org , 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.