Regular Bagpipe.News reader, Philip Henderson has been on to tell us that he enjoyed reading Joe Wilson’s memories on Calum Campbell that we posted a wee while ago as part of our ‘Famous Pipers’ series.

In particular, Joe’s mention of the tragedy of HMY Iolaire, that sank just off Stornoway in the early hours of January 1, 1919, reminded Philip of his old pipe box which had a brass inscription on the lid that read: “This box was made from the Captain’s cabin by an Islay joiner made from Californian mahogany for the troop ship Otranto wrecked off Islay on the 5th October, 1918, with great loss of life of American Soldiers, buried on Islay.” 

The box itself contained silver/ivory Henderson pipes belonging to Captain Ian C. Cameron, a well known piper, composer and piping judge of the pre-WWII era.

Philip says, “I bought the pipes from my pal George Lumsden, who got them from the late Capt. Ian C. Cameron …  I got chatting to him at a local games and he asked me where I lived and said his son went to school not far from me. We then chatted about piping and the Army – as I was an officer in the army, too. I bought the pipes as I had a young lad in mind that was after a good set. He was in the pipe band of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. The pipe box I kept as he already had one.

“The Otranto was used during the First World War as an American troop ship. It sank off Islay with a great loss of life on October 6, 1918, just a month before the Armistice that would end the war. More than 400 lives were lost.” In the spring of 2018, BBC Alba broadcast a programme about the incident. It can be watched here (The Otranto incident is featured after around 30 minutes in).

Philip began his piping with the 57th RAMC General Hospital Pipe Band based at Harrow in Greater London. As a youngster he received lessons from J. B. Robertson [see below]. His travels would see him play with Annan Ex-Servicemen’s Pipe Band, Pontefract & District Pipe Band, Kellingly Colliery Pipe Band and Mount Carmel. His son, Ewan is Pipe Major of Glasgow Police Pipe Band.

Great story, thanks Philip!

More correspondence, this time from quite a few readers who have been in touch after reading our post last Friday on the Lochaber Gathering. All wished to point out more famous names who featured in the photograph showing the 1934 March to the Games.

All correspondents pointed out that J. B. Robertson is in the photo, wearing the uniform of a Scots Guards Lance Sergeant. J. B. is behind John Macdonald.

Also, the Black Watch Pipe Major to Robert Reid’s left is Charlie Smith [who won the Gold Medal in 1933 we think; can readers confirm? – Editor].

Thanks to all who wrote in.

Ian K. MacDonald of Ontario, Canada, was the overall winner at the tenth online Piping & Drumming Championships held recently.

Ian K. MacDonald pictured in 2016 at Oban after winning the Gold Medal.

The competition, organised by Jori Chisholm of, had more than 200 entries.


Solo Piping
Ceòl Mòr
– 1. Ian K. MacDonald (Lament for MacLeod of Colbecks); 2. John Dew (The Rout of the Lowland Captain); 3. Dr. Brendon Eade (Too Long In This Condition); 4. James MacHattie (The Old Men of the Shells, No. 1); 5. Ryan Murray (The Park Piobaireachd, No. 2); 6. Gordon Barclay (Lament for MacSwan of Roaig).
Judge: Chris Armstrong.

MSR – 1. Calum Brown; 2. Jack Williamson; 3. James MacHattie; 4. Dr. Brendon Eade; 5. John Dew; 6. Fraser Allison.
Judge: Callum Beaumont.

Hornpipe & Jig – 1. Ian K. MacDonald; 2. Jack Williamson; 3. James MacHattie; 4. John Dew; 5. Calum Brown; 6. Brendon Eade.
Judge: Greg Wilson.

Pipe Major Alasdair Gillies Memorial Challenge 2/4 March (Age 21 and over) – 1. Gord Wallace; 2. Raquel MacFarlane; 3. Scott Phillips; 4. Alistair MacKay; 5. Lindsay Hunter; 6. Evan MacK.

Pipe Major Alasdair Gillies Memorial Challenge 2/4 March (Age 18-20 years) – 1. Aaron Gray; 2. Margaret Hill; 3. Jack Lang; 4. Parker Brooke; 5. Friedrich Christiansen; 6. Jürgen Christiansen.
Judge: Matt Wilson.

Pipe Major Alasdair Gillies Memorial Challenge 2/4 March (15 to 17 years)
– 1. Bobby Allen; 2. Mackenzie Loudon; 3. Seumas Eade; 4. Reece Doherty; 5. George Panagiotou; 6. Calum Dunbar.
Judge: David Hilder

• The full results can be found here.