The Pipes and Drums of the Royal Highlanders of Canada (Black Watch) leading Canadians through Mons Belgium to celebrate the Armistice Nov 11, 1918 (RHC Archives- wiki)

Canadians to recreate Armistice parade in Mons, Belgium, 100 years later


In November 1918 the horrific toll of the First World War was coming to an end. The Armistice to end hostilities was being negotiated.

On the morning of the 11th, official word came to the Canadians to hold their place and cease hostilities. Later that morning, the Pipes and Drums of the Royal Highlanders of Canada (RHC) would lead Canadian troops through the streets of Mons, a city they had just liberated, to celebrate the end of the war.

Now 100 years later, the Royal Highlanders of Canada − now known as the Black Watch-Royal Highland Regiment of Canada − will once again lead a parade through the streets of Mons to mark and commemorate that historic moment.

Capt (ret.) Andrew Kerr will portray the then Pipe Major of the 42Bn RHC, Thomas Johnston.  I reached Andrew Kerr by mobile phone in Ypres Belgium today.


The order to take back Mons, was highly controversial as it would put soldiers lives at great risk even as they knew the war would end. However, as has often been the case ever since, the idea was to capture as much ground as possible before hostilities ceased.

Capt. (ret.) Andrew Kerr, Ypres Belgium, Nov 7.2018

Nevertheless, the Canadians took the city as they had every other battle since 1917. The Germans had come to fear the Canadians as their toughest opponents, and the highland regiments with their kilts, allegedly came to be called “the ladies from Hell” (Hollenweibe) by Germans.

The actual flag carried by the “Royal Highlanders of Canada” in 1918. A replica will be carried by the contingent this week. (supplied)

At 07.45 word came via telephone line to the hastily organised Canadian headquarters in the city hall, to cease all hostilities.  The information was jotted down on a piece of notepaper which has been preserved by the Black Watch at their Montreal armoury.

“Hostilities will cease at 1100 Nov. 11th – Troops will stand fast on line reached at that hour which will be reported to Bde [Brigade] HQ – Defensive precautions will be maintained – There will be no intercourse of any description with the enemy – Further instructions follow.”

An impromptu celebratory parade was held as word got around, and then later, a more organised one to march through the main street at 11a.m.  It would be led by the rousing skirl and rhythmic beat of the Pipes and Drums of the 42nd Battalion.

Another view of the parade led by the RHC pipe band through the Canadian liberated city of Mons, shortly after 11 AM, Nov 11,1918 (Canadian War Museum)

Right now a contingent of some 30 Canadians, pipers and drummers from across Canada and elsewhere will make up the band and lead a group of about 100 re-enactors, descendants of First World War soldiers, and former and current personnel of the RHRC as they recreate that amazing marching scene on November 11.

Three volunteers dressed in period uniforms at an event in Canada prior to leaving for Europe. Brad Hampson is the piper, , Gladys Hunter represents Canadian nursing sisters.Terry Hunter is infantry re-enactor Sergeant holding Lewis machine gun. (supplied)

The band and contingent will also take part in a number of other ceremonies and events prior to that in locations around France and Belgium, such as at the Vimy Ridge memorial, and the recently completed Hill 70 memorial and park.

Kerr says the trip has been two years in the planning and organisation and the excitement among the group is palpable.

He says for everyone it is definitely a once in a lifetime event.

Black Watch Pipes and Drums circa 1919 Montreal.  Pipe Major Thomas Johnston is at front left of photo. Capt. (ret) Andrew Kerr will portray him as Pipe Major 100 years later in Mons ( RHRC archives)

The group will travel to Mons later this week to participate in the centennial event. Dressed in authentic period uniforms and webbing, Kerr says the heady emotions, already high, will make it difficult to play.

YouTube: History of Black Watch of Canada

Additional information

Categories: International, Politics, Society
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1.’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3.’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.


One comment on “Canadians to recreate Armistice parade in Mons, Belgium, 100 years later
  1. Avatar Dawn says:

    Will CBC be broadcasting the Mons parade? Or, will there be a live webcast? Trying do find our how to watch it live on November 11. Thanks.