Diary: photograph query/ Mòd/Pipeline/Trevor’s funeral

David Niven and pipers on the Queen Mary
J. B. was one of the pipers who piped on the Queen Mary when it was refitted for passenger service following the end of the Second World War. He can be seen clearly on the right, facing the actor David Niven. Andrew Bain is furthest away then David Ross, Rosehall, Unknown, Jock Buchanan.

There are a few items in the bagpipe.news diary this week. First of all, Willie McCallum sent us this wonderful photo of the late debonair English actor, David Niven dancing as six pipers play beside him.

Willie had been watching a television documentary about the Queen Mary, when the photograph appeared on screen and caught his attention. The photograph could have been taken at the launch of the legendary liner in 1934 on the River Clyde. Contemporary newspaper reports stated that 250,000 people turned up to watch the launch, which took place on a rainy September day at John Brown Shipyard in Clydebank. The liner is now retired as a hotel in Long Beach, California and the popular Queen Mary ScotsFestival & International Highland Games takes place there every year.

Niven travelled on the Queen Mary quite a few times and was popular with his fellow passengers as well as crew.

The pipers are not all easily identifiable, and one is obscured somewhat, but the piper at the front appears to be Pipe Major J. B. Robertson. The piper second from the back appears to be Pipe Major Robert Reid. We would welcome any suggestions from readers as to who the other pipers in the photo are. Email us at: news@bagpipe.news


The 2019 National Mòd piping competitions take place this Saturday (12th) at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

The annual festival of Scotland’s Gaelic culture is always an enjoyable event. With it returning to Glasgow for the first time in 29 years a large audience is anticipated. However, for those that can’t make it to Glasgow, the Senior piping competitions will be streamed live from 09:00. Go to tv.fèisean.org

National Mod 2019, piping flyer


Iain MacInnes, producer of BBC Radio Scotland’s excellent Pipeline programme, was at the Captain John A. MacLellan MBE Solo Piping Competition held last Saturday at the Army School of Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming at Inchdrewer House, Edinburgh.

Iain was there to record the B Grade Pìobaireachd competition for future broadcast on the programme. There was a good entry for this and it was won by one of the army’s leading pipers, Pipe Major Ben Duncan of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (SCOTS DG).


Lastly, Trevor Dear’s funeral will be held this Thursday (11th) at 14:00 at the Castle Street Church of Scotland in Dingwall. Mourners are then to proceed to Urray Cemetery which is located a few miles away on the A832 between Marybank and Muir of Ord.