Trench Art Practice Chanter, circa WW1
During the Great War, soldiers mired down in the trenches or in POW camps were known to fashion works of art out of materials at hand. This stamped Lawrie practice chanter appears to be exactly such a piece of history.
The wood is ebony, the ferrule is made from an indeterminate material, and the sole is either ivory or celluloid, but likely ivory. The barrel of the chanter has the following lines inscribed on it:
SOUVENIR OF THE
GREAT WAR 1914-15
NEUVE CHAPPELLE . YPRES
FESTUBERT . HILL 60
FLEUBAIX . LA-BASSEE
Fleurbaix is misspelled as “Fleubaix.”
Most though not all of the battles carved into the chanter are in the Royal Scots’ battle honours list. Hill 60, for example, is often considered part of the first Battle of Ypres. Fleurbaix (which is misspelled as “Fleubaix”) actually occurred in 1916, later than the years “1914-15” carved into the chanter.
There is no guarantee that thi chanter was actually present in the trenches during these battles, but the fact that it is labelled as a “Souvenir,” of the war, the condition of the crudely mended mouthpiece and the inclusion of a limited number of battles certainly suggest that it was.
The chanter plays very nicely with a John Walsh practice chanter reed, though the D needs a piece of tape.
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