History, part III

This is the third part of a three part series on the history of The Seaforth Highlanders

The Netherlands:How we still commemorate

In 1995 Frank Jan de Boone, member of the 48th Highlanders of Holland Pipes and Drums, came up with the idea of founding a bagpipe band in the area near where he lives (Amersfoort and Voorthuizen). The band in which he played was founded to commemorate the liberators of Apeldoorn. He thought it might be possible to do the same for the regiments that freed Amersfoort and the Gelderland Valley.

Amersfoort, where Frank Jan works was liberated by the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa, while Voorthuizen, where he lives, was liberated by the Seaforths.

In the meantime, interested persons and a practice location had to be found. Lots of people were quick to support the idea, the location however proved to be a bigger obstacle. The strict rules surrounding the environment (bagpipes produce quite some sound) made most locations not anoption. Another problem was the lack of a drumming instructor. Frank Jan gave up on the idea in 1996.

Meanwhile a drummer and a piper from the Beatrix Pipeband of Hilversum also had plans on forming a military pipeband. There already was a small detachment of the Beatrix Pipeband that performed at military events. In the spring of 1999 Kees Westerkamp, the drummer, heard of Frank Jan’s idea.

A letter was sent to the commander of the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada in Vancouver with the plan’s details, and the request of using the name and the ’45 uniform of the Seaforths. The recruitment of members was already taking place. Frank Jan gave several interviews in papers and on the radio.

In September 1999 the band consisted of 20 enthusiasts, primarily pipers who just started playing bagpipes. In October the Seaforth’s commander sent a letter stating that he appreciated the idea and would provide help wherever he could. The Canadian Military Attaché heard of the idea too and he too provided help. In September some members of the newborn Seaforth Highlanders of Holland Memorial Pipes and Drums participated in the Airborne Memorial Weekend (for the Battle of Arnhem) in Ede and Oosterberg. More performances followed, and so did new members. The problem with the practicing location was solved in October, when the pipeband were allowed to play in a building belonging to the Donkersgoed family. The pipeband moved to the Bernhardkazerne in January 2000 and in 2002 an old Natres barracks (Soesterberg) was made available for practice by the Dutch army. The wide open space there is perfect for practicing with a pipeband, even now it is beginning to grow a bit short for our growing number of members.