In recognition of Remembrance Day (Nov. 11), the Comox Valley Scottish Country Dancing Society will dance The Reel of the 51st Highland, and invites participants to a free lesson on Nov. 7.
The Comox Valley Scottish Country Dancing Society is pleased to celebrate the Valley’s long-standing Scottish heritage by offering a third free open house to visitors interested in re-connecting with this important part of the Canadian Scottish heritage.
As we approach Remembrance Day it is fitting that we pay tribute to the sacrifice of the 10,000 soldiers of the Scottish 51st who were ordered to cover the evacuation of 300,000 allied troops at Dunkirk, which included the Canadian Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment. The 51st was ordered to “either be killed, wounded or made a prisoner of war.” Lacking heavy artillery, on June 12, 1940, they were overrun at the Battle of Valery by Rommel’s tanks.
The Reel of the 51st, also known as The St. Valery Reel, was composed by Lt. Jimmy Atkinson on the 1,100-mile forced starvation march to Laufen Castle near Salzburg. It was first performed by survivors of the march on Halloween night 1941. German military intelligence immediately suspected that the dance contained a secret code and expended about a year of vital resources to crack its secrets. Thanks to the 51st’s resourcefulness, by November 1942 both Princess’ Elizabeth and Anne were dancing The St. Valery reel.
And now so should you!
The Comox Valley Scottish Country Dancing Society preserves the traditions of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, which has enjoyed royal patronage since 1923. The Comox Valley is blessed to have two of Canada’s best instructors, Evelyn Nixon and Heather Flint, certified Royal Society instructors.
Come and enjoy well-known Scottish hospitality in Comox. This is the last free introductory lesson until September, 2017. It is in a public open house format, Monday, Nov. 7, 7:30-9:30 p.m. at the Comox United Church Hall (corner of Comox Avenue and Beach Drive). Teenagers between 13 and 16 should be accompanied by an adult. For more information, phone Heather at 250-897-2670.