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The original Regimental March was ‘What’s A’ the Steer Kimmer?’. There are no surviving records to show why it was chosen or when it was introduced, but it seems fair to assume that it was adopted shortly after the formation of the Band in 1859 and that because either Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Charles Reid CB, or his successor Brevet Major H T Macpherson VC, was commanding the Regiment between 1859 and 1861, a Scottish air was chosen in preference to any other. It is a Jacobite song written by Robert Allan to commemorate the landing of Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745, a Strathspey air which was originally a pipe tune. More information about the march is in Volume 4 of the 2nd Goorkhas Regimental History, Appendix Q.
In August 1937 The 60th Rifles gave permission for their Regimental March ‘Lützow’s Wild Hunt’ (‘Lützows Wilde Jagd’) to be adopted as the 2nd Goorkhas second march. It is a march suitable for band and bugles whereas ‘What’s A’ the Steer Kimmer?’ is suitable only for a band. From then on ‘Lützow’s Wild Hunt’ was always played prior to ‘What’s A’ the Steer Kimmer?’ on marching off parade and in the play-off sequence on mess nights. In Army Order 159/1950 ‘Lützow’s Wild Hunt’ was approved as the Regimental March and ‘What’s A’ the Steer Kimmer?’ became an unofficial second march. The bandsmen always referred to them colloquially as the ‘thulo’ (big) and ‘sano’ (small) marches.
‘Lützow’s Wild Hunt’ originated at Schloss Tonna in Gotha in 1814 when the composer Carl Maria von Weber wrote six stirring national songs to work by the German soldier-poet Theodor Körner. Two of these songs, including ‘Lützow’s Wild Hunt’, became famous. Körner is said to have written the words on the battlefield when he was a member of Lützow’s Volunteer Corps (known as the Black Troop or the Black Band because of their black uniforms). Freiherr (Baron) Adolf von Lützow was a Prussian general of considerable renown and the poem describes and incident in his life and that of his troops. The song takes six stanzas from the poem and the tune, which quickly became a national favourite, was set in many different forms by later arrangers. One history of the 60th Rifles records that ‘Lützow’s Wild Hunt’ ‘….really is an adapted version of Lützow’s with a good deal of von Geirach’s Jagersleben introduced’. Accounts of the Freiherr’s life and the origins of the song are to be found in the Journal of the 2nd Goorkhas Volume XI, No 1 (1985), Volume XI, No 3 (1987) and Volume XII, No 3 (1991).
Being a Rifle Regiment the 2nd Goorkhas never used a slow march on parade, but in the play-off sequence on mess nights and on some other occasions ‘God Bless the Prince of Wales’ was always played after the Regimental March and before the National Anthem.
Regimental Bugle Calls
(To be completed)