By Jeannie Campbell MBE

The Second World War ended on September 2, 1945. It had lasted six years and one day. The military pipers started to return home and in 1946 the regular piping competitions were being restarted. On May 25, 1946, the Oban Times carried a notice for the resumption of the Argyllshire Gathering. The competitions were to be held in the Argyllshire Gathering Hall on September 11 and 12. Among the competitors were many newcomers who had been juveniles eight years previously before the outbreak of the war. The Gathering did not return to normal immediately but was held in a reduced form with no Games and no Balls. The piping competitions were held indoors.

In the Open Piobaireachd, pipers had to submit three tunes from six: Lament for MacSwan of Roaig, In Praise of Morag, Lament for the Viscount of Dundee, The Unjust Incarceration, Lament for Donald Bàn MacCrimmon and Donald Gruamach’s March.

The judges were to be Sir Douglas Ramsay of Banff, Col. J. P. Grant of Rothiemurchus, C. D. MacTaggart, James Campbell of Kilberry, Archie G. Kenneth of Stronachullin and Dugald Graham-Campbell of Shirvan.

James Campbell and Archie Kenneth pictured in 1962 at the Argyllshire Gathering.

James Campbell was born in 1916 in Simla, India and died in Oban in 2003. He was a son of Archibald Campbell, Kilberry. James served during the Second World War with the 8th Bt. Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (1942-45) and was Pipe President. By profession he was a barrister and then Director of studies in law at Pembroke College, Cambridge from 1952-83. He published Sidelights on the Kilberry Book in 1984, followed by Further Sidelights in 1986. He was an accomplished amateur piper, an authority on piobaireachd and a well-respected judge of piping.

Archie G. Kenneth was born at Shirvan, Argyll in 1915, a month before his father was killed at Gallipoli. Archie’s mother was the sister of John Graham-Campbell so Archie was brought up with his grandparents, firstly at Shirvan then, when his uncle John was recovered sufficiently to take over the Shirvan estate Archie and his grandparents moved to Stronachullin nearby. Archie lived at Stronachullin for the rest of his life, apart from his time at boarding school, and later his army service with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders during the Second World War. Archie was taught piping by his Uncle John and also by Pipe Major Willie Ross. He was on the Music Committee of the Piobaireachd Society for 40 years and was editor of the Society’s collections from 1963 for 25 years. He published five collections of music of his own. He died in 1989 at Stronachullin.

Dugald Graham-Campbell was born in 1921, son of John Graham-Campbell of Shirvan. During the Second World War he served as a Major with the 8th Bt. Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in N. Africa, was in captured 1942, escaped in Italy in 1943 then served in Palestine. From 1946 he worked for the Forestry commission. He published A Guide to Judging. He died at Shirvan in 1967.

The results of the competitions were. Day 1:

Pipe Major Peter Bain.

Gold Medal (15 entrants) – 1. Pipe Major Peter Bain (Battle of Auldearn); 2. John Garraway, Glasgow Police (Prince’s Salute); 3. Pipe Major John A. MacLellan (MacKenzies’ Gathering); 4. Pipe Major W. MacLeod, 1st Seaforths (Lament for the Viscount of Dundee).

March (15 entrants) – 1. Pipe Major William MacLeod (Highland Wedding and Bonnie Anne); 2. Pipe Major John A. MacLellan (John MacFadyen of Melfort and Abercairney Highlanders); 3. Pipe Major P. C. MacCallum, Campbeltown (Arthur Bignold of Lochrosque); 4. Thomas Pearston, Glasgow (Ross-shire Highlanders); 5. Pipe Major Nicol MacCallum, Glasgow (Argyllshire Gathering).

The procession went from the British Linen Bank Buildings along George Street to the Argyllshire Gathering Hall, under the command of Pipe Major John A. MacLellan of the Scottish Command School of Piping, playing The Campbells are Coming and Glendaruel Highlanders.

The second day began with the same procession as on the first day. There was an update on the result given previously from the first day. In the March competition there was a tie between John MacLellan and W. MacLeod so each played again. This was the reason why in the first day results reported the previous week there are two tunes listed for the first and second prizewinners and only one for the others. The second day results were:

Open Piobaireachd – 1. Pipe Major J. B. Robertson, Scots Guards, London (In Praise of Morag), 2. Pipe Major Robert Reid, Glasgow (Lament for Donald Ban MacCrimmon), 3. Pipe Major John MacDonald, Glasgow Police (Donald Gruamach’s March), 4. Pipe Major William MacLeod, 1st Seaforths (Lament for MacSwan of Roaig).

March, Strathspey and Reel – 1. Pipe Major J. B. Robertson (Stirlingshire Militia, Atholl Cummers, Man from Glengarry); 2. Pipe Major Robert Reid, Glasgow (Abercairney Highlanders, Caledonian Society of London, Pretty Marion); 3. Pipe Major John MacDonald, Glasgow Police (South Hall, Delvinside, Cameronian Rant).

Strathspey and Reel – 1.Pipe Major John A. MacLellan, Achnashellach, Ross­shire (Arniston Castle, The Flagon); 2. Donald MacLean (Dora MacLeod, The Grey Bob); 3. John Garraway (Blair Drummond, Rejected Suitor); 4. Thomas Pearston (Arniston Castle, MacAllister’s Dirk); 5. Pipe Major P. C. MacCallum (Highland Harry, The Grey Bob).

Jig – 1. Donald MacLean, Glasgow (The Kitchen Maid), 2. Pipe Major Bain (Finlay MacKenzie), 3. P M W. MacLeod (Minnie Hynd).

John MacLellan
John MacLellan.

John Archibald MacLellan was born in 1921 in Dunfermline. In 1936 he joined the Cameron Highlanders then in 1941 transferred to the Seaforth Highlanders to become Pipe Major then, in 1954, the Regimental Sergeant Major. In 1959 he took over from Willie Ross as the instructor at the Army School of Piping. He was awarded the MBE in 1964 and in 1968 was commissioned Captain. He retired in 1976. At the Argyllshire Gathering John won the Gold Medal in 1957, the Open in 1949, 1958 and 1959, the march in1957, the Strathspey and Reel in 1946 and the Former Winners’ MSR in 1948, 1958, 1963 and 1964. At the Northern Meeting he won the Gold Medal in 1959, the Clasp in 1958 and 1963, the March in 1946, the Strathspey and Reel in 1946 and the Former Winners’ MSR in 1947, 1948, 1949, 1958 and 1963. He published four books of music and the Piper’s Handbook and Notation and Tuning of the Highland Bagpipe. From 1978 to 1981 he published a magazine, The International Piper. John died in Edinburgh in 1991.

William MacLeod was born in 1912. He served firstly with the Gordon Highlanders then from 1945 to 1961 with the Seaforth Highlanders then with the Queen’s Own until 1967. He died in 1986.

John Garroway was born in 1908 at Chelsea Barracks in London, where his father was serving with the Scots Guards. He learned piping from the age of eight at the Caledonian Schools in London. He worked for a time on farms in Peebleshire then in 1932 he joined the Metropolitan Police in London then transferred to the Glasgow Police in 1937, becoming a piper in the band. After retirement he became the full time piping instructor at the College of Piping from June 1969 onwards. He only competed during the years 1946 to 1953 and again in 1968 but won the Argyllshire Gathering March in 1947, the Strathspey and Reel in 1948 and the Northern Meeting March in 1949, the Strathspey and Reel in 1952 and the Former Winners’ MSR in 1968. He had the distinction of being placed second in the Gold Medal six times. He died in Glasgow in 1976.

Pipe Major William MacLeod.

In 1947 the Gathering was advertised in The Scotsman and the Dundee Courier on September 6: “Highland Games. Visit Oban for the Argyllshire Gathering this year. Wednesday 17th September. Piobaireachd Competitions in which the World’s Finest Pipers participate. Admission 2s 6d. Thursday 18th September. Piping (Marches, Strathspeys and Reels), Open Heavy and Light Athletic Competitions; Dancing; all attracting Scotland’s best. Admission Ground 2s 6d. Admission to Covered Stand 4s.”

Forty pipers took part in the opening competitions. On the first day, Robert G. Hardie of Crowhill Road, Bishopbriggs, was awarded first place and the Highland Society of London’s Gold Medal. Second place was awarded to John Garroway and third and fourth places respectively were taken by Pipe Major Angus MacAulay (Lovat Scouts) and Roderick Morrison, Cambuslang.

Pipe Major Robert Reid won the Open Piobaireachd with Donald MacLean, Glasgow second and Pipe Major Nicol MacCallum third. 

The next day, the march to the games field was headed by 40 pipers and the stewards: Brig. Bruce A. Campbell of Arduaine; Capt. Sir George Campbell, Bt. of Succoth and Colonel Ian M. Campbell of Ardchattan.

The results of the piping on the second day were:

Marches – John Garroway; 2. Robert G. Hardie; 3. Pipe Major John A. MacLellan, Seaforth Highlanders.

Strathspeys and Reels – 1. Robert G. Hardie; 2. Tommy Pearston; 3. Donald MacLean, Glasgow. 

March, Strathspey and Reel – 1. Pipe Major J. B. Robertson, Scots Guards; 2. Pipe Major Robert Reid; 3. Pipe Major John A. MacLellan. 

Bob Hardie, left, and John Garroway.