When Nazi Germany invaded France in 1940, Donald MacLean hurriedly left Britain to rejoin the 2nd Battalion of the Seaforths, by the part of the 51st Highland Division, on the Continent. Following action against German armoured and artillery units, including Rommel’s 25th Panzer Regiment 2&3, the 51st Highland Division was surrounded and plans made for a Dunlirk-style evacuation. These plans failed and two of the Division’s three Brigades were ordered to surrender at St-Valery-en-Caux, a fishing port west of Dieppe.
Donald was captured there on or about 12th June 1940. He and his family were no stranger to such a situation, his father having been ordered into internment with the Royal Naval Division in neutral Holland for most of the First World War.
Donald survived a harrowing forced march from France with little food or shelter. He was later held in Stalag XXIB, and remained a PoW in Poland and Germany for most of the war.
His march ‘The Heroes of St Valery’ commemorates those who fought and fell there, including the piper and drummer who rest in the well cared for military cemetery above the town.
To download the Heroes of St Valery Sheet Music Click Here
To download the Heroes of St Valery MP3 Click Here
In the hope that other musicians can get involved, we have two different versions of the music for the fiddle – one in E flat and the other in D major, one for harp and another for the snare drum. All four are available to download at the bottom of the page.
We would like to thank Margaret Robertson, of the Shetland Fiddler group Hjaltbonhoga and Xenia Horne for transposing the different versions for the fiddle and harp, and a special thank you to Steven McWhirter for arranging a score for the snare drum and for providing a demonstration video.
To download the Heroes of St Valery – Fiddle (E flat) Click Here
To download the Heroes of St Valery – Fiddle (D major) Click Here
To download the Heroes of St Valery – Harp Click Here
To download the Heroes of St Valery – Snare Drum Click Here