Sheet Music: The Battle of the Somme

TitleThe Battle of the Somme
ComposerWilliam Lawrie (1881–1916)
InstrumentationFlute solo
KeyD major
Time signature9/8
Tempo80 BPM
Performance time1:15
Difficulty leveleasy
Download printable scorePDF Sheet Music (48 kB) (preview)
Download audio tracksMIDI (change tempo/key) MP3 (594 kB)
Date added2019-02-13
Last updated2019-02-13
Download popularity index☆☆☆☆☆ 0.00 (no recent downloads)
Marches, Military music


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Wednesday 13 February 2019

Tune of the Day: The Battle of the Somme

Scottish retreat march

This pipe tune, a 9/8-time retreat march composed by Pipe Major William Lawrie (also spelled “Laurie”), commemorates one of the greatest and most terrible battles of World War I, which was fought for 140 days between July and November 1916. Lawrie fought in this horrendous battle as Pipe Major of the 8th Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders. He died shortly afterwards from illness and injuries sustained in the trenches, but lived just long enough to see his tune meet immediate success.

In spite of its name, the retreat march is not necessarily a tune which would be marched to; often times it would be played as part of the evening ritual in military camps as day duties give way to night ones. It is not linked to the military maneuver of retreating from a battle, but rather to the idea of refuge and safety in the camp.

Thanks to Phil for suggesting this tune!