Piping 100 years ago: April 1924



On 2nd April at Winchburgh a concert was held in aid of the Highland and Islands Distress Fund. Piper Brown, the war remnant of Dr Kelso’s Lothian Pipers opened the concert with bagpipe selections which were splendidly executed.

Young pipers praised at the Cowal School of Bagpipes examinations

The Oban Times reported: “The students of the Cowal School of Bagpipes were examined on Wednesday evening 2nd April by PM Hutcheon, late of Govan Police Pipe Band. Owing to the death of Dr Charles Bannatyne who had been selected as adjudicator, the examinations were three weeks later than the time appointed. There are in all over 60 pupils divided into 12 elementary, intermediate and advanced classes which are held at Paterson, Sons and Co, music sellers, Buchanan Street and at 62 Renfield Street, Glasgow, in rooms generously granted for the purpose. Pipe Majors Reid and MacDougall are the teachers.

“After hearing the performances of the boys in the various classes, the examiner expressed himself as being surprised at the general excellence displayed. He strongly advised the boys to make the most of the privileges provided for them.  It was only by practice in early life that flexibility of fingers could be acquired. Clean piping was impossible without technique and if acquired when the finger joints were pliable it would be a lifelong possession. Personally that had been his failing as a piper accounted for entirely by not taking up the study early in life. The Pipe Major was especially impressed with the pibroch playing in the advanced class and was of opinion that some of the old players would be surprised at what the boys could do in this connection. Some people held the opinion that only pipers of advanced years could perform pibroch. This he believed was a myth. What he had heard that night was as good as what he often listened to from adults in competition. It was evident that the teachers were putting their hearts into the work and the scholars were doing likewise. This was evidently going to be a great year among young pipers and from what he had heard the first pupils were to be a credit to the Cowal School of Bagpipes.”

The examiner was Alexander or Alastair Hutcheon, born in 1862 at Ellon in Aberdeenshire.  He had piping tuition from Donald MacKay piper to Edward Prince of Wales. Hutcheon served with the Scots Guards in the Egyptian campaign in 1882 and won the Khedive’s medal for Bravery. Afterwards he joined the Aberdeen Police then transferred to the Govan Police. It was said of him by his pupil Willie Gray that he was a good piper and tutor and his enthusiasm for piping infected everyone connected with him. In his obituary Hutcheon was described as a reedmaker, a teacher and a formative influence on young pipers. The Govan Burgh Police Pipe Band was founded in 1883. In 1898 Alexander Hutcheon became the Pipe Major of the band. He died in 1929. In 1912 when Govan was joined to Glasgow the band became Glasgow Police.

•Pipe Major Willie Ross

The report continued: “Mr H S Strafford, secretary of the school, said the progress made in all classes was gratifying to a degree beyond expectation. Pipe Major Ross of Edinburgh Castle would make a final examination of all pupils. Gold, silver and bronze medals would be given to the most successful and certificates of merit awarded to those deserving. At Cowal Highland Gathering this year special competitions would be included for boy pipers, including juvenile pibrochs, in which a handsome challenge trophy would be the principal prize. It would be a great honour to the boy whose names was the first to be inscribed on the trophy which would doubtless be handed down to posterity. On May 13th a number of the boys would be called upon to give a performance from the broadcasting station in Glasgow. They would remember their playing would be heard throughout the British Isles and possibly beyond the seas.”  

Henry Stewart (Harry) Strafford had become Secretary of The Cowal Gathering in about 1896 and would continue in the role for over 30 years. He died in Dunoon in 1933 aged 73.

On the afternoon of 3rd April a party of boys from Dr Barnardo’s Homes gave a charming entertainment in the Channing Hall, Sheffield: “The varied programme comprised selections on handbell, sleigh bells, xylophones, dulcimers, mandolins, bagpipes, chimes, fairy bells etc, but of all the performers the Scottish band of pipers received perhaps the most applause.” Several other papers over the following days mentioned similar concerts by Dr Barnardo’s Musical Boys.

Also on 3rd April an entertainment for the patients of Barnhill convalescent home organised by Broughty Ferry Friendly Society included piping from PM A Low.

Dundee Police Pipe Band

The Dundee Police Force was inspected on 7th April by Colonel A J Ferguson, HM Inspector of Constabulary for Scotland who said Dundee has an A1 police force. He was photographed accompanied by Lord Provost High and Chief Constable Carmichael, passing through the ranks of the Police Pipe Band. 

•Inspection of Dundee Police Pipe Band

The pipe band of the Dundee police force was founded in 1905 and was the third police pipe band in Scotland. The first pipe major was Thomas Mitchell and the band wore Hunting Menzies tartan.

On 4th April the Ellon Boys’ Brigade concert opened with a selection by four boy pipers who received a warm ovation on their first public appearance. Captain Dunnett acknowledged the gift of a set of bagpipes from Mr J G MacDonald, of the Consolidated Goldfields of South Africa which he said laid the foundation of the pipe band.

A concert in aid of St Dunstan’s Home for Blinded Soldiers was held in Newmains on 4th April. The programme included dances given by Master A Hall and bagpipe selections by Mr G Hall.

In Glasgow also on 4th April the Clan MacIntyre Association held a concert in aid of the Highland Distress Fund. The concert was opened by the clan piper J MacLellan MacIntyre playing MacKay’s Banner.

On the same evening a Masquerade Dance was held in the Co-operative Hall, Bathgate. “An interesting novelty which delighted and surprised the dancers was the playing of the bagpipes in combination with the orchestra for all the eightsome reels.” The piper or pipers were not named in the report.

The pipe band of the Charing Cross Church Company BB made its first public appearance at the beginning of April 1924 under the leadership of Pipe Major Burns.

There was sad news from Pitlochry with a report of a funeral on 7th April. Master Charles Adrian Butter the ten year old son and heir of Colonel Butter, was laid to rest at the family burial ground within the Fascally policies. The cortege was joined at the Middle Lodge by the assembled mourners and preceded by Pipe Major Pirnie and Piper A Gordon playing the lament The Flowers of the Forest the coffin was borne by relays of tenants and estate employees to the burial ground.

Army Piping examinations

The Army Piping examinations were carried out on 8th April and all six candidates passed, two with distinction. They were L/Cpl Nicolson, Royal Scots Fusiliers; L/Cpl M McLeod, 2nd Camerons; Cpl Ross, Gordons, Sgt Logie, Seaforth; L/Cpl Sinclair, Argyll and Sutherlands; Piper C Turnbull, Gordons. In the view of the examiners the playing of the candidates reflected high credit on their instructor Pipe Major Ross, who carried through a six month course, during which time the men had to learn no fewer than 28 piobaireachds, in addition to more numerous marches and other tunes. The arrangements for instruction were made by the Piobaireachd Society. The examination board include Mr Somerled Macdonald (president), Major Leckie Ewing, Mr Seton Gordon and Dr Colin Caird.

Scottish Pipers’ Society Competitions

The Scottish Pipers’ Society held their piping and dancing competitions on 9th April at the Drill Hall, Gilmore Street, Edinburgh. The main event of the evening was the piobaireachd which lasted from 5pm to 7.30pm. A report appeared afterwards in the Oban Times. ‘The standard of playing was fully up to average and the playing of Lieut Angus Davidson and Dr Colin Caird was so close that the judge had considerable difficulty in awarding the cup. In the end it was decided that each of them should play again the urlar of his piobaireachd to decide what to all intents and purposes was a tie. The third place was given to Mr Seton Gordon, who played his piobaireachd correctly, but was in trouble with his chanter reed which did not last out his tune. The playing of Rev Neil Ross, minister of Laggan and a well known Highlander, was of unusual charm, for the player in his Lament for Patrick Og MacCrimmon seemed to have recaptured the spirit of the piping of the MacCrimmons of far off times. But like Mr Seton Gordon, Mr Neil Ross had trouble with his pipe before the close of his tune, perhaps because of the warmth and dryness of the room contrasted with the cold and wet conditions outside. Major Leckie Ewing, winner of the cup two years ago, was not heard at his best. Mr Somerled MacDonald, winner of the cup in 1923, did not compete owing to indisposition, and instead gave the judges the advantage of his great share of piping knowledge. Lieutenant Angus Davidson is to be congratulated on a fine performance which has borne out the expectations raised by his piobaireachd playing at his first appearance at the Society’s competition last year. The judges were, for piping Mr Somerled MacDonald, Mr W L Calderwood, Pipe Major Reid, Shettleston and Pipe Major MacKenzie, KOSB. For Dancing, Major Stirling, Major F B MacKinlay and Mr J A Gordon.

The results were: Piobaireachd, 8 competitors: 1. Dr J Colin Caird, The Prince’s Salute; 2. Lt Angus J Davidson, RSF, MacGregor’s Salute; 3. Mr Seton Gordon, MacLeod of Raasay’s Salute. March, Strathspey and Reel: Colonel J D Boswell. Marches, open to all members, 8 competitors: 1. Dr J Colin Caird; 2. Mr Francis M Caird; 3. Lt Davidson. Strathspey and Reel, open to all members, 5 competitors: 1. Mr Ian Campbell; 2. Lt Davidson. Marches, open to those who had not previously won a prize: Mr A H Seton. Dancing Highland Fling: 1. Major W D Allan; 2. Mr K Nigel MacKenzie. Reel: 1. Major W D Allan; 2. Mr K Nigel MacKenzie. (Mr MacKenzie is the winner, Major Allan being prizeman for the Highland Fling).

•Somerled MacDonald, born in 1868, was a great-grandson of Captain Niel MacLeod of Gesto who, in 1828, had published a collection of MacCrimmon piobaireachd in canntaireachd.

•James Colin Caird was born in Edinburgh in 1900. He was taught by PM James Sutherland 1912-18, PM W Ross c1919-1923/4, and J MacDougall Gillies for six months c1923. He was a Private in the Royal Scots in 1919 then later served with the Lovat Scouts until transferred to the RAM in 1939, becoming Lt Colonel in 1945. He was an amateur piper and judge, a member of the Scottish Pipers’ Society and Hon President of the Piobaireachd Society. He died in 1990 in Killin. Francis Mitchel Caird was born in Edinburgh in 1904 and was a younger brother of J Colin Caird. He too was an amateur piper and judge. He died in Inveresk in 1991.

•Major William Leckie Ewing HLI was a member of the Scottish Pipers Society and a frequent prize winner at their competitions. He lived at Cameron Cottage, Arden, Loch Lomond and was mentioned frequently in newspaper reports of salmon and trout fishing. He judged at the Argyllshire Gathering, Northern Meeting and many other events.

•Rev. Neil MacLeod Ross

•Seton Gordon was born in Aberdeen in 1886. He learned piping firstly in Aberdeen then at Oxford then on his return to Scotland he became a pupil of John MacDonald, Inverness. In addition to be being an amateur piper and judge he was a naturalist and the author of 26 books on Scottish Zoology and Natural History. He died in 1977.

•Rev Neil MacLeod Ross was born in Skye in 1871 and was an amateur piper and enthusiast. He was awarded the CBE in 1933. He died in 1943. His son Dr Roderick Sutherland Ross 1921- 2016 published the Binneas is Boreraig series of piobaireachd books.

Thief caught pawning stolen bagpipes

On 10th April a thief scaled the high wall of the Oakbank Industrial School in Aberdeen during the dinner hour and breaking open a lockfast cupboard stole three sets of bagpipes. One set belonging to the instructor PM Reid was valued at £32. The other two sets were boys’ pipes. The thief walked into town with the pipes partially hidden under an overcoat and was caught attempting to pawn them.

•Oakbank was an industrial school. These boarding schools were for neglected or disorderly children and the courts could order that a child was detained for a certain number of years. There was a mix of work and education. Girls were trained for domestic work and often boys went into the army. Many industrial schools had bands and the pipe band at Oakbank had been founded in 1894. Following the War Pipe Major John Reid, 1885-1949,  took over as Pipe Major at Oakbank. He had served with the Black Watch from 1906 as a piper then as Pipe Major from 1914 but was discharged in 1915 due to sickness. He was the piping instructor and janitor at Oakbank for over 30 years.

In Campbeltown on 11th April the YMCA annual social included piping selections from Mr Peter MacCallum.

The MacKenzie Pipe Band

On 12th April an exhibition of dancing was given in the Foresters’ Hall, Dundee by the pupils of Miss Alice Fox. Music was supplied by the MacKenzie Pipe Band under Pipe Major J MacKenzie, while Miss P Lyon presided at the piano.

•The MacKenzie pipe band was founded in 1918 by PM James MacKenzie after his return from war service with the Canadian Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. The band wore MacKenzie tartan. In 1958 the MacKenzie pipe band amalgamated with another Dundee band, the Caledonian pipe band, to form MacKenzie Caledonian.

•MacKenzie Pipe Band from Dundee in 1918

Bonnie Prince Charlie screened at the Alhambra in Perth

The film Bonnie Prince Charlie was screened at the Alhambra in Perth for a week and was reported in the local paper on 12th April. The makers of the film had spent five months in Inverness and the surrounding area making the film which starred Gladys Cooper and Ivor Novello as Flora MacDonald and the Prince. The manager had added to the enjoyment of the film with some performances by singers and musicians. Pipe Majors Kennedy and McPhee delighted the house with their rendering of Over the Water to Charlie, Mrs Mackenzie of Kilcoy and John Wilson’s Reel. PM McPhee also showed his skill as a dancer with the Highland Fling. During the evening a number of Jacobite ballads were sung.

Wallacestone Pipe Band

The Wallacestone pipe band held a special evening in the Co-operative hall in Redding on 12th April 1924, to make a presentation to Mr John Ure Wardlaw who was leaving the band after 28 years as a drummer. Another presentation was made to Pipe Major John Sharp, of the Walter Scott Challenge Trophy which the band had won outright at the Cowal Gathering the year before.

•The Wallacestone band was founded in 1887 when a committee was formed to raise the necessary finance. The original band was made up of miners. The village of Wallacestone is on high ground 3 miles south of Falkirk and takes its name from a commemorative stone erected in 1810 to mark the spot from which Sir William Wallace commanded his troops at the battle of Falkirk on 22nd July 1898. The stone has the inscription in Latin ‘Here he Stood’. John Sharp was the Pipe Major from 1914 to 1952.

Clan MacRae Society win Championship of Glasgow on ‘The Green’

On Saturday 12th April band contests were held in the Winter Gardens, Glasgow Green when the Clan MacRae Society pipe band won the Championship of Glasgow and the 102nd Coy Boys’ Brigade won the juvenile championship. The full results were, Adults: 1. Clan MacRae Society, 2. 5th HLI, 3. Corporation Tramways, 4. Hillhead and Partick British Legion. Juveniles: 102nd BB, 2. 174th BB, 3. 139th BB. There were 12 adult and 7 juvenile bands. The judge was PM Taylor from the Queen Victoria School, Dunblane.

The War Memorial in Ayr was unveiled on 13th April with the band and pipers of the Royal Scots Fusiliers taking part.

Football supporters with bagpipes invade London

On Monday 14th April several papers reported on the invasion of London by the Scots for a football international at Wembley. Bagpipes and Scottish voices could be heard in the streets all over the city. The match was a draw.

Glasgow Corporation Tramways Band on the radio

On the evening of April 14th the Glasgow radio station had the Glasgow Corporation Tramways band from 8.15 to 8.25pm playing Road to the Isles, The Lea Rig, Blue Bells of Scotland, Lord Blantyre, Sandy Duff. The band played again at 9.45 to 9.57pm with Bonnets of Bonnie Dundee, Scotland the Brave, My Love She’d But a Lassie Yet, Stumpie, High Road to Linton.

During the week the Scots Guards Pipers and Dancers were performing at a Trades Exhibition in Birmingham.

From 16th April onwards several papers reported on plans for the Empire Exhibition at Wembley which would be opened by the King on 23rd. The opening ceremony was to include the pipe bands of the Scots and Irish Guards.

Battle of Culloden commemorated

16th April was the 178th anniversary of the battle of Culloden and in weather similar to that on the day of the battle Highlanders gathered at the memorial cairn where wreaths from many Jacobites were laid in memory of the fallen Highlanders. Pipe Major Campbell, formerly piper to Queen Victoria and King Edward played MacCrimmon’s Lament.

The Dundee Courier on 17th April included a report of the inquest on Private William Ferguson aged 19 of the 2nd Battalion Black Watch, who had been found hanging in a disused building at Bordon Camp. A letter found on his bed included this statement: “I wish no drums to be at the funeral, only pipes, as it was through being in drums that made me do this.” A verdict of suicide whilst of unsound mind was returned.

Tyneside Scottish Pipe Band

On April 18th it was reported that Atholl men were taking a prominent part in the formation of the Northumberland and Durham Caledonian Society, with headquarters in Sunderland, and the Duke of Atholl had been appointed first Hon President. At the initial ‘At Home’ held by the President Neil Cameron there were Highland dances as part of a truly Scottish programme. The society was keenly supported and bagpipe enthusiasts had united themselves as the Tyneside Scottish Pipe Band.

City of Glasgow Pipe Band amalgamate with Clan MacRae Society

The Oban Times on April 19th reported that the City Of Glasgow Pipe Band led by PM William Fergusson was to become affiliated to the Clan MacRae Society and in future would be known as the Clan MacRae Society Pipe Band. The founder of the band the late PM Farquhar MacRae had been a distinguished member of the Clan MacRae Society and since its inception the band had worn the Hunting MacRae tartan.

•City of Glasgow later Clan MacRae in 1921, 22 or 23 with the Argyll Shield

Edinburgh’s Lord Provost Sleigh was given the freedom of Lauder, his home town, on 19th April. The band and pipers of the 1st Battalion KOSB under Band Master T K Jarvis and Pipe Major W MacKenzie took part in the ceremony.

Islay Pipe Band

Pipe Major Kalandar Din was pictured in the Daily News on 19th April. In the same week the closing ceilidh of the Kinloch Rannoch branch of An Comunn Gaidhealach was reported in the Oban Times. There were piping selections from Miss May Cameron, Craignevis and Cpl McMaster. At Strachur a concert, followed by a dance included Piper Currie among the performers for both. Also included in the same paper was this report from Bowmore: “It is now twelve months since the Islay Pipe Band was formed and during that time their strains have frequently enlivened the streets. It is desired to attract into it all youths who are studying bagpipe music, as they become able to play, and to provide them with uniforms and instruments. To form the nucleus of such as fund, a concert was held in the hall on Friday 11th April, which was well attended. No doubt many were attracted by the chairmanship of Mr Bryce, headmaster, who proved himself an authority on the national instrument, which dated back in our history to the twelfth century. He showed how all mountain countries possessed pipes in some form and how the piob mhor roused the martial spirit as no other instrument. And he did not forget to mention the emotional effect of the piper’s lament, as was witnessed locally on those occasions when the bagpipe wailed over the grave of some ex-service men. The band opened the programme with a popular selection and it was sustained by the best local talent. Special mention must be made of the young violinist, Mr Edwards, for his delightful rendering of high class numbers. The committee are grateful that he should have come from Port Ellen where he is holidaying, to assist the programme. The pipe band is now a recognised institution under the capable charge of Mr John Macdougall.”

At the Dundee Battalion BB annual competition on 19th April 1924 the winning band was the 24th (St Mary’s Parish Church) company. In the individual piping there were ten entries. The result was: 1. L/Cpl George Payne, 24th Coy; 2. Piper George Brymer, 24th Coy; 3. Piper Alex Robertson, 6th Coy. The judges were PM D A McLeod, PM James Bain and DM J Flynn. On the same day the Dyce company held their annual inspection and display which included selections from Piper Riddell, while in Comrie a successful Highland concert organised by Pipe Major Wilson, took place in the Public Hall.

PM Willie Gray pipes for An Comunn Gaidhealach

In Tobermory the closing concert of the local branch of An Comunn Gaidhealach was held on 23rd April. “The concert opened with bagpipe selections from Pipe Major Gray who also contributed at intervals during the programme. His reputation as one of the premier pipers of the world was well known and the audience appreciated to the full the excellence of the musical treat with which they were regaled”. A dance followed, again with pipe music provided by PM Gray. This was William Gray, pipe major of the Glasgow Police. His mother came from Mull and Willie often stayed with relatives on the island.

In Easdale a concert in aid of Oban cottage hospital included selections from pipers MacGilvray and MacDougall who played again during the dance which followed. The closing concert and dance of An Comunn Gaidhealach in Kilninver included piping from Mr Donald MacDougall.

Scots and Irish Guards Pipers open the Empire Exhibition

The Empire Exhibition was opened by the King on 23rd April. Prior to the arrival of the royal party and the speeches the festivities began with the pipers of the Scots and Irish guards followed by the massed bands of the guards. Those not present were able to listen to a wireless broadcast.

The annual inspection of the St Andrews BB took place on 24th April. The report stated that the pipe band under PM Kirk had continued to make steady progress and was now a real strength and credit to the company. They had in PM Kirk a bandmaster second to none and were proud of the state to which he had brought the band in three sessions. He was heartily thanked for his past successes and wished continued success. The badge for two sessions of regular attendance, good conduct and efficiency was awarded to band members Sgt Piper Robert A Gall, Piper Tom Alexander and Drummer W Johnstone. PM Kirk had gifted a cup and two medals for band members showing the greatest proficiency, with regular attendance at practices, and good conduct throughout the session, the cup to be held for one year. The cup and medal were awarded to Sgt Piper Robert A Gall and the runner up medal to Piper Andrew W Cross.

‘Novel Innovation. To the strains of bagpipes and drums.’

On 26th April the Warwickshire Advertiser had this: “Southam was surprised to hear varied selections of Irish airs etc on Monday from a strange band which visited the town, the players being dressed in full national costume. The event was the occasion of the annual outing of the Father Sherlock branch of the Irish Foresters Benefit Society from Birmingham. Tea for 78 was provided at the Black Horse Inn. The Rev Father Hogan and other priests from Birmingham were present.’

Tributes paid on the passing of Pipe Major MacFarlane, Shotts

The Midlothian Advertiser on 25th April reported the death of Pipe Major MacFarlane, Shotts: “We regret to record the death, after a short illness, of Pipe Major Dugald MacFarlane, at his residence in Gray Street. The Pipe Major was enthusiastic in his love for pipe music, and he was widely known in that connection. A capable and painstaking teacher, he was recognised as a good pipe major. His services were often in request at special functions and in piping circles his loss will be felt. He was laid to rest in Stane Cemetery on Thursday 17th inst, the cortege being attended by a band of pipers with muffled drums. He leaves a widow and a young family to mourn his loss and a wide circle of friends extend their sympathies to the bereaved in their time of sorrow. Pipe Major MacFarlane tutored the members of the West Calder Pipe Band for some time when it was inaugurated.”

•The origins of the Shotts and Dykehead band began in 1906 under PM Peter MacDougall. In 1910 PM Dugald MacFarlane took over. Within four years the band was able to appear in uniform of MacKenzie tartan. Dugald MacFarlane enlisted in 1914 and served during the war as a piper in the Middlesex regiment. He died in 1924 aged 56.

•The West Calder Pipe Band was first inaugurated by the Star of Midlothian Lodge in about 1909 but later became known as West Calder and District. Their first training was by PM Dugald MacFarlane of the Shotts and Fauldhouse bands. The band was then taken over by PM Murray who led the band for 32 years.

Lament played for Crimean war veteran

John Robertson, late private of the Black Watch and one of the few remaining Crimean war and Indian Mutiny veterans was buried at Invergowrie on 25th April. After a service in the house a detachment of the Black Watch from Perth presented arms at the door as the cortege appeared and then filed in front of the hears. Pipe Major R Knowles played a lament as the cortege made its way to Longforgan. After a short service three volleys were fired and bugler Kerr sounded the last post.

In Edinburgh a Scottish Night in aid of the Edinburgh branch of the Black Watch Association was held. A display of Highland dances was given with Pipe Major Duff, Royal Scots, supplying the music.

On Friday evening 25th April a concert at Trinity Gask in aid of the Nursing Association was opened with a march played on the bagpipes by Mr MacPherson, Auchterarder.

Cowal Highland Gathering introduce ‘test pieces’ as set tunes

There was news from Cowal in the Oban Times on 26th April: “Four additional challenge trophies have been gifted to the Cowal Highland Gathering for competition. These came respectively from London, New York, Cairo and Glasgow. It was decided to further raise the standard of competition by substituting test pieces instead of allowing band and piobaireachd players to choose their own tunes. A book containing all the music to be performed at next Gathering will be published for distribution among competitors. A new feature therein will be music for drums. As a tribute to the memory of the late Dr Charles Bannatyne so long associated with the gathering, his prize tune The Blackbird will be a test piece in all the six band contests. The secretary intimated that the pupils of the Cowal School of Bagpipes would give a performance through Glasgow Broadcasting Station on 22nd May, which would be followed by a talk on the progress and prospect of the school. The following among were added to the list of office bearers, Lord Dewar, Sir Malcolm MacAlpine, Sir Thomas Lipton, and Colonel Walter Scott, New York.”

Tyneside Highland Pipe Band

The same paper had this: “In Sunderland a company of about 120 ladies and gentlemen were entertained to an At Home by Mr Neil Cameron, president of the newly formed Northumberland and Durham Caledonian Society. The entertained included selections by the Tyneside Highland Pipe Band under Pipe Major Thomson.

On Sunday 27th April the Tyneside Highland Pipe Band under PM A Thomson played in Consett Park at 3pm and 7.30pm.

The Comrie and District Piping Association

There was news from Comrie in the Perthshire Advertiser on 26th April: “Arrayed in all their glory. The pipe band visited Crieff on Monday evening and was present at the tie for the victory trophy between Victoria (Auchterarder) and Rovers (Comrie). The band arrayed in all their glory fairly captivated the Crieff inhabitants with their fine appearance and excellent music. Their programme in the park before the game commenced was much appreciated.

‘Piping Association. The Comrie and District Piping Association at a meeting of their management committee, held on Friday evening, fixed the date, Saturday 28th June for their Highland Gathering and pipe band contest. The prize list is an attractive one with a number of athletic events figuring in the prize list and the best in bagpipe music and dancing. No doubt this venture will prove a great success.’

The Oakbank bagpipe thief was a well educated and clever chap

The Oakbank bagpipe thief appeared before Sheriff Laing at Aberdeen Sheriff Court on 26th April. Several papers reported afterwards. “Audacious thefts and fraud led to the appearance at Aberdeen Sheriff Court of an ex-Cameron Highlander. James Innes, from prison, who was described as well educated and clever, admitted a series of offences beginning in January and lasting until the present month, committed at various parts of the country from Ross and Cromarty in the North and Edinburgh and Cadder in the South. He was caught as a result of a mid day burglary at Oakbank Industrial School, Aberdeen. He admitted a previous conviction for forgery and fraud.

“For accused it was stated that he was down and out. After seven years’ service with the Cameron Highlanders he was discharged with the rank of pipe major and an excellent character. Since January last year he had been tramping the country.

“The Procurator Fiscal stated that on 12th January last Innes went to Barbara Anderson, the wife of Charles Anderson, farm manager, Pollo Farm, Kilmuir, Easter Ross and Cromarty, and induced her to give him £3, which he falsely pretended was to pay men who were assisting him to bale hay which her husband had sold to the Highland Agricultural Company, Inverness, and that he would repay the money.

“He came to Aberdeen, and on 16th February stole two suits of clothes and a watch and chain from a fellow lodger in a house on Castle Street. He then disappeared, and turned up at Cadder, Lanarkshire. There he went on 3rd March to Woodside Gardens, Muirhead, Chryston, and pretended to Mrs Fyfe, wife of the occupant, that her son Thomas, who had served with him in the army, had sent him for his violincello, as he was to play in Glasgow that night. Mrs Fyfe gave her son’s instrument, which was valued at £25, to accused, who went and pawned it.

“Next he went to Edinburgh Castle, and on the following day pretended to one of the pipers he had been sent by an officer for his bagpipes, as he was to play that night. The piper, however, refused to hand them over, but accused hovered round the castle. The soldier in charge of the instruction room had occasion to go out, and accused entered the room and stole a set of bagpipes valued also at £25, and these he pawned.

“On 10th inst, he was in Aberdeen, and climbed the dyke of Oakbank Industrial School and forced open a locked office door and stole three sets of bagpipes, value £42, and got away with them. The value of everything involved was £104.

“Innes was a well educated and clever chap, and if he were to trouble to work could make a decent living honestly. Sentence of eight months’ imprisonment was passed.”

Tributes paid to founder of East Fife Pipe Band

On 27th April this appeared: ‘Death of Founder of East Fife Pipe Band. The death has occurred of Mr Wm Hennan, Methil, a popular bagpipe player, well known throughout East Fife. He was the originator of East Fife Pipe Band, which has rendered much service for benevolent objects. He was an energetic worker in the Free Gardener Order, and held with success the position of secretary of the Cedar of Lebanon Lodge. He was 40 years of age and leaves a widow and a young family.’

A few days later another paper had more: “The death occurred on Sunday morning at Bayview Crescent of Mr William Hennan, from pneumonia following influenza. Like his late father, he made pipe music a special study, and gave his services freely for any benevolent cause and for the benefit of the community generally. Her was a member of the Volunteer Band before the formation of the Territorial Force and was the moving spirit in starting the East Fife Band, of which he was Pipe Major. Among his other activities was his interest in the Masonic Order and his services as Secretary for eight years of the Cedar of Lebanon Lodge of Free Gardeners, which he took up on the resignation of Mr George Cation, the brethren being delighted in finding such as able and energetic successor. The deceased was 40 years of age, and leaves a widow and three of a family, to whom keen sympathy will be extended in their heavy bereavement. The funeral took place yesterday to Methilmill Cemetery and the large concourse of mourners, including the brethren of Lodge Balfour Melville and Cedar of Lebanon Lodge and members of East Wemyss Pipe Band, testifies to the respect in which the deceased was held in the district. At the graveside a Lament was played by the pipers from East Wemyss.’

Orkney Homecoming Party

The Orkney Herald on 30th April reported on a Welcome Home Party. “An enjoyable evening was spent at the home of Mr and Mrs John Robertson, 1845 Cotton Drive, Vancouver, British Columbia, when a number of friends paid a visit in honour of Mr Robertson’s home-coming. Bagpipe selections by Mr Campbell were given. Mr Hugh Robertson and Master Jim Harvey rendered violin selections and the evening was spent in music and dancing.”