Iain Bell’s tunes selected for the RCMP 150th collection


Piper, composer and Donald Drone cartoonist Iain Bell, from Dumfriesshire, has had four tunes published in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police 150th collection tune book. It all came about by happy coincidence, which demonstrates the fellowship and common bond between pipers and drummers worldwide.

Former RCMP C/Supt. and piper Rod Booth, from Vancouver Island BC, was one of those tasked with bringing the RCMP book to fruition and had a copy of Iains’ own book, From Scots Borderer to Ulster Scot. Two tunes within it related well to the RCMP theme and were offered to the RCMP for inclusion. The tunes were Constable John Davidson (The Rider-less Horse) and Pte. Richard Maybin.

John Davidson was a Canadian police officer who actually came from the Scottish Borders, near to Iain’s home. Davidson was gunned down trying to protect the public in a shopping mall from an armed criminal. The second tune is for Pte. Richard Maybin, who was a WW1 piper with the Canadian Mounted Rifles and originally from Co. Antrim in Ulster. Pte. Maybin fell in the lead up to the Somme. Many ‘Mounties’ joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force in WW1.

Rod Booth RCMP is an excellent cartoonist himself and contacted Iain about the Donald Drone piping cartoons, after seeing one of Iain’s cartoons depicting a RCMP lady Mountie. Iain and Rod became pen pals and a request then came for another tune or two if possible to complete their new music book. Commissioner Bev’ Busson was the first ever lady to hold top rank in the RCMP, and so Iain wrote her a lively 6/8 march to reflect her drive and character.

Finally, Iain felt that after all of Rod Booth’s hard team work, a four part 2/4 march in Rod’s name would be very appropriate in recognition of his contribution to the RCMP collection. The RCMP music committee accepted.

Iain said: “It’s been quite a humbling experience to be a tiny wee part of the 150th RCMP collection and indeed a privilege too. The Mounties have a wonderful Scots and Irish piping heritage.  They are as keen as mustard with their eight RCMP divisional pipe bands, very professional and as smart as shiny new pins!”

The full story of the RCMP Pipe Music Collection can be found on their website here. The initial short print run of 250 books as already sold out, but a downloadable version will be available later this year.