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Last Updated:  Thursday, 10 April, 2003, 14:42 GMT 15:42 UK
War pipers to miss Tattoo
The Edinburgh Military Tattoo
The tattoo is in its 53rd year
Pipers from some of Scotland's best-known regiments will not be performing in this year's Edinburgh Military Tattoo because of the war in Iraq.

Event organisers admitted that about 50 band members from the Black Watch and the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards will be absent from the show.

But marketing manager Alan Smith said that this year's Tattoo would feature a tribute to absent troops taking part in the coalition campaign to oust Saddam Hussein.

"Currently, it does appear that they are unlikely to be available during the summer," he said.

"Even if they are released from activities in the Gulf soonish, they shall probably require some time to relax and spend time with their families.

"But we have a number of options for replacing them and we will release the details of the complete line-up nearer the show."

'Particularly stirring'

The pipers are thought to be acting as administrators and medical orderlies in Iraq rather than performing.

Mr Smith predicted that this year's tattoo, which runs for 25 performances between August 1 and 23, would be particularly stirring because of the war.

He added: "I think there is no question that it will mark in some way the Gulf war, but I think it would be unwise to give anything else away at this stage."

Seats for the event are still available but Mr Smith said 10% more tickets have already been sold than at the same time last year.

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