Piping 100 years ago: June 1924

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By JEANNIE CAMPBELL MBE • PART 6 • JUNE

1st June

The unveiling of Montrose war memorial took place. The Rev John S Robertson offered up a prayer of dedication, after which the pipe band under Pipe Major Fyfe played The Flowers of the Forest followed by Last Post and Reveille sounded by Bugler W Duncan. The official wreath, a replica of the Black Watch crest in Japanese moss, with delicate colouring and the regimental colours in tartan ribbons at either side, was laid at the base of the memorial on behalf of the local Black Watch Association by Sergeant Major John Marnie DCM and Sergeant A Forrest MSM.

The Paisley and District St Vincent Boys’ Guilds had their annual parade. About 2,000 boys, accompanied by brass and pipe bands marched through the principal streets to St Mary’s Church where a service was held.

In the evening in Aberdeen the opening band performance for the season was given by the band of the 4th Bt Gordon Highlanders and the British Legion pipe band.

2nd June

The Annual Sports under the auspices of the Thurso Ex-Servicemen’s Club took place in Sir George’s Park. The judge for piping was Mr Wm Murray, Borlum. The result was Marches: 1. J Sutherland, Thurso; 2. J MacDonald, Achnavast; 3. W Henderson, Bower. Reels and Strathspeys: 1. J Sutherland, Thurso; 2. W Henderson, Bower; 3. J MacDonald.

It was Founder’s Day at George Heriot’s School, Edinburgh. Celebrations were held in the school quadrangle and wreaths were laid at the statue of George Heriot. The boys having assembled in the quadrangle, the school contingent of the Officers’ Training Corps marched into the precincts led by their pipe band. Parents and friends were there in large numbers and the gathering was under the chairmanship Lord Provost W L Sleigh. A number of the governors of the Heriot’s Trust were also present.

The Royal Caledonian Ball was held in London. After the arrival of the Prince of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of York there was a short selection of pipe music played by the combined pipe bands of the 1st and 2nd Battalions Scots Guards. The ball was in aid of the funds of the Royal Caledonian Schools and the Royal Scottish Corporation. Just before 10pm the boy pipers from ther Royal Caledonian School entered playing a spirited march. The procession of the dancers followed. Headed by the pipers of the Scots Guards they marched round the circle led by the Duke of Atholl. One reporter noted that at the ball: “Lady Maud Carnegie wore white crepe de chine embroidered with bugles. But only, I am certain, because bagpipes are somewhat cumbersome as embroidery.”

3rd June

For the changing of the Castle Guard the 1st Bt King’s Own Scottish Borderers with band and pipers marched from Redford Barracks through the city to Edinburgh Castle.

The Glasgow Agricultural Society 62nd Summer Show was held at Scotstoun Grounds and featured the Glasgow Police Pipe Band.

Lumphanan annual games were reported. Kelty and Blairadam Brass Band and Glencraig Pipe Band were in attendance. The judge for piping was Pipe Major Wilson, Crieff. Results were – Marches: 1. J Herd, Bowhill; 2. Piper Bremner, Lochawe; 3. Piper Bremner, Glencraig. Strathspey and Reel: 1. J Bremner. Lochawe, 2. J Herd; 3. J Japp.

The Oban Times reported that in the evening: “The Oban Pipe Band opened its season with a programme of stirring selections on the Cocked Hat, Corran Esplanade. The appearance of the band attracted a large audience of townspeople and visitors. Under the control of PM Angus Lawrie the band has made great progress since its institution last year. The secretarial work in connection with the band is in the capable hands of Piper James Stewart.”

4th June

A fete and sale of work in aid of the Convalescent Home, Barnhill, Dundee, was held. During the afternoon selections were given by the RNVR band and a piper.

The Changing of the Guard at Edinburgh Castle was witnessed by a large number of spectators. To mark the King’s birthday there was a full parade of the 1st Bt KOSB. Pipe Major MacKenzie and six of his men who were on parade had only arrived from London the previous day as they had taken part in the massed pipe bands performance at Wembley.

The opening performances of Music in the Parks began in Edinburgh. The band of the 1st Bt KOSB and the Tramways Pipe Band under PM Donald Sutherland gave performances in West Princes Street Gardens at 3pm. The band of the British Legion Federation of ex-Servicemen played in Saughtonhall Park at 7.15pm. The band of the British Legion Comrades of the Great War and the Fort of Leith pipe band under PM James Tait played on Leith Links from 7pm to 9pm.

In the afternoon, in beautiful weather on Musselburgh Links, the annual archery contest for the Musselburgh Silver Arrow, a trophy over three centuries old, was engaged in by the Royal Company of Archers, the King’s Bodyguard in Scotland. In full uniform and headed by their pipe band, the Archers marched from the Town Hall to the butts on the Links. A dozen archers took part in the shooting. According to ancient custom, the town council of Musselburgh provided a riddle of claret in which to pledge the health of the winner, which ceremony took place at the dinner in the Archers’ Hall, Edinburgh, after the contest.

5th June

A Military Tattoo arranged by the Herne Bay and District Chamber of Commerce took place in the Cricket Ground, William Street. “The principal event was the military tattoo by a large detachment of the Buffs from Canterbury, under Regimental Sergeant Major P Dare but prior to this there was a concert by the band of the Buffs Depot under the conductorship of Mr C W Collier. The Pipers of the Gordon Boys’ Home, Dover, smart little lads, bonneted and plumed and kilted, under Mr Bridges, and led by a sturdy little pipe major, were also present and treated us to national airs, reels and Highland Flings, and gave selections on the hand bells. All this was greatly enjoyed, and helped to pass the time of waiting, there being frequent bursts of applause.”

The Gordon’s Boys’ Home was founded in 1885 as the National Memorial to the war hero and philanthropist Major-General Charles George Gordon (1833-1885), better known as Gordon of Khartoum. It began as a home ‘for necessitous boys’. Queen Victoria, the first of an unbroken line of sovereign patrons, took the lead in demanding a fitting National Memorial be created in Gordon’s honour. The curriculum was on military lines and the uniform consisted of: tartan trousers, a dark blue jersey embroidered with G.B.H. and a Glengarry cap with plaid band and Gordon badge. The objective of the Home was to teach necessitous boys aged between 13-17 a variety of practical trades including carpentry, shoemaking, tailoring, gardening, engineering, cooking and blacksmithing, all with an aim to set each boy up for a ‘life of usefulness’ either within civil employment or in any branch of the armed forces.

The Strathallan School sports were held in the school grounds. The pipe band of the Queen Victoria School rendered a programme of music.

It was reported that in Galashiels the Ex-Service Club Pipe Band were giving programmes of music in each of the five wards of the town, at which collections would be taken to provide the band with new uniforms.

Advertisements announced the news that Dalkeith Agricultural Society’s annual show would be on the last Saturday of June and the services of the newly formed Lasswade Pipe Band had been secured for the occasion.

6th June

It was reported that the villagers of Long Horsley in Northumberland had carried out the old custom of beating the bounds. Headed by three pipers from the Morpeth Highland Pipe Band under Mr George Dagg, a procession formed, consisting of about a score of mounted men and a number of villagers on foot, and set off on the perambulation of the boundaries.

The Postal Military Band under Band Master W R Reilly and the Postal Pipe Band under Pipe Major F J Walker gave a performance in the evening in West Meadows, Edinburgh.

A concert under the auspices of An Comunn Gaidhealach Ceannloch was held in the Territorial Hall, Tayinloan. Piping selections were given by Mr R McCallum.

The Newtongrange and District Gala held a fancy dress parade which included two Silver bands and the Arniston Pipe Band.

The pupils of the Piobaireachd class of the Cowal School of Piping took part in an examination in the Orpheus Choir Studio, North Albion Street, Glasgow. Provost Ferguson of Dunoon, President of the Cowal Gathering presided over a representative company. The competition was restricted to eleven of the best players in the class. Pipe Major W Ross, Edinburgh was the adjudicator. Provost Ferguson said many boys competed at the Cowal Gathering and it was found that only a few of them knew anything about the theory of music. This institution was for their better training. There were 78 boys’ pipe bands in Glasgow connected with the Boys’ Brigade alone, while throughout Argyllshire and the Isles there were hundreds of boys wanting to learn the pipes, but, with the exception of the facilities provided by the Piobaireachd Society, no means were available for tuition.

Results of the examination were: 1. Gold Medal. Lachie Barron, 166 Parliamentary Road, Glasgow; 2. Silver Medal. Alistair Fletcher, 50 Balfour Street, Glasgow; 3. Bronze Medal. J Kinnear, 50 Balfour Street, Glasgow. Certificates of Merit: John Murray, 136 Main Street, Chapelhall, by Airdrie; Dugald Macleod, 124 Earlston Avenue, Glasgow; Sydney Rose, 18 Edmiston Street, Glasgow.

7th June

The Perthshire Advertiser had a picture of the BB pipe band leading the Sunday school children to the station en route to their annual picnic at Bankfoot.

At Culter Highland Games the judges for piping and dancing were The Rev R Robertson and Messrs J Gilbert and A C Bremner. Results were – Marches: 1. Cpl G Cruickshank, Aberdeen; 2. PM McLennan, Fort George; 3. PM Cruickshank. Strathspeys and Reels: 1. PM McLennan; 2. Cpl Cruickshank; 3. PM Murdo McKenzie, Glen Tanar.

Over one hundred inmates of the Scottish National Institution for Blinded Sailors and Soldiers, Newington House, Edinburgh were taken on a motor drive through the borders. The company were entertained to luncheon at Galashiels and tea at Peebles where a programme of music was given by the pipe band of the local ex-servicemen.

Ramsay MacDonald accompanied by his son and daughter visited his home at Lossiemouth for the first time since becoming Prime Minister. He was greeted at the station by a large crowd and replied to an address of welcome from the Provost and town council. Ropes were attached to his car which, preceded by the Elgin ex-servicemen’s pipe band under Pipe Major Rose, playing I Lo’e Nae a Laddie but Ain, was drawn through the streets to his house in the fishing quarter of the town.

The Sidlaw Sanatorium, Aucherhouse, 4th annual Pound Day included selections from the Dundee Battalion Boys’ Brigade Pipe Band under the direction of Mr K E McGregor and a gymnastic display by the boys of the 12th company.

The tenth annual contest for bands on the march, promoted by the North of Ireland Bands’ Association was held at Windsor Park, Belfast. There was an increased entry compared with the previous year. The event was most unfortunate with the weather. The first two events were carried out under a steady downpour, which made matters most uncomfortable alike for competitors and judges. The fact that the men bravely faced the elements says much for their enthusiasm. The remaining contests took place in the boxing ring at the grandstand. The judges were Mr James Barr, Blackpool and Pipe Major J Chisholm HLI and for marching, style and general appearance Mr J Nutt, late RSM, East Lancs. There were competitions for junior flute bands, senior flute bands, junior brass bands, senior brass bands and one event for pipe bands for the Hawke’s Shield. The test piece was The Glasgow Police Pipe Band (by Gray). 1. Earl of Beaconsfield, conductor James Steenson; 2. Sir H Wilson Memorial, conductor J Horn; 3. Duke of York, Conductor William Anderson. Challenge Shield for Marching, Style and General Appearance: 1. Nelson Temperance Flute Band, 2. East Belfast Pipe Band, 3. Lebanon Street Pipe Band. Six bands competed.

The annual Remembrance Day garden fete in connection with the Black Watch Memorial Home at Dunalistair took place in the grounds.  During the afternoon musical programmes were submitted by the brass and pipe bands on the 4/5th Bt Black Watch.

It was announced that on Friday and Saturday of the following week there would be a variety programme at the Falkirk Grand Theatre, featuring the Polmont Boys’ War Memorial Pipe Band in popular melodies, including the selection which won them the cup at Alloa the previous month. Also featured were a comedian and a singer.

In Newcastle the Women’s Labour Day Procession made its way through the streets, accompanied by two brass bands and headed by the City of Newcastle pipe band and dancers under PM J Alistair Irving.

At Kintore Sports the piping results were, Marches: 1. R A Hendry, 2. R J Christie, 3. Pipe Major Robertson. Strathspey and Reel: 1. PM Robertson, 2. R A Hendry; 3. R J Christie. Local Piping for cup: R G Moir. Competition for Kintore Band Cup: l Henderson. Judges for piping and dancing were Messrs Charles Ewen, PM Mann and Ritchie.

At the Linlithgowshire Scouts Rally a feature of the afternoon was the appearance of the pipe band of the Fauldhouse troop, in full uniform. Piper Strathearn, Bathgate, provided music for several dances given by Linlithgow and Uphall Scouts, who intended to perform in the stadium at Wembley at the forthcoming Jamboree.

The members of Clydesdale Welfare Scheme Club participated in a most enjoyable outing to Rothesay. The party was accompanied by Newharthill Pipe Band.

The Philpstoun Gala Day parade was headed by the Philpstoun and District IOR Victoria Pipe Band and Kinneil Reed Band. Both bands discoursed music during the afternoon.

The Carron Co-operative Society held their children’s gala day. Headed by the Kinnaird and District Silver Band and Carron Pipe Band the children marched in procession from the school to the Dawson Recreation Park. During the afternoon there was a display of Highland dancing to the music of PM D Sharp and J Wardlaw. Selections of music were played at intervals by both bands.

The band of the 7th (Queen’s Own) Hussars and the pipe band of the 4/5 Royal Scots, under PM J Robertson, gave a performance in Princes Street Gardens at 7pm.

•Pipe Major Edwin Macpherson

Death of a Well Known Piper

The Oban Times reported: “The Gaels of Glasgow last week learned with the deepest regret of the sudden demise of Pipe Major Edwin Macpherson. Deceased for the last quarter of a century was probably the best known piper in the city as he appeared in a professional capacity at most of the principal Highland Gatherings. Of a gentlemanly disposition, he was esteemed by a wide circle of friends. He was pipe major of the 3rd Lanarks and was mobilised at the outbreak of the War and served with distinction till the close of hostilities. Although a native of Arisaig, the Pipe Major was closely identified with the Oban and Lorn Association and was one of their pipers. He was accorded a military funeral to Cathcart Cemetery. To Mrs MacPherson and family is extended the sympathy of Glasgow Gaeldom in their sad bereavement.”

During the following days several other papers had similar reports: “Much regret will be felt in Highland circles in Glasgow in the death of Pipe Major Edwin J MacPherson, whose services have for long been greatly in demand, and much appreciated, at Highland gatherings in the city. He was an accomplished piper, and his services were also in demand as a master of ceremonies at the dance assemblies following the gatherings. In both spheres he will be much missed. His lamented death makes a big blank among Highlanders in Glasgow.”

Edwin John MacPherson was born in Arisaig in 1867, son of Donald MacPherson, a farmer. By 1901 he was living in Glasgow and was employed as a works manager. He was pipe major of the 3rd Lanarkshire Volunteers and in 1907 at Cowal led the band to win the World Championship.  During the War he was Pipe Major of the 7th Cameronians and served in the Balkans. He composed several tunes including Armadale Castle, Dougavie Lodge, Kenny McGruer’s Caman, Tribute to Kenneth MacDonald, 156th Brigade at the Battle of Romani or 7th Cameronians at the Battle of Romanie and 7th Cameronians in Palestine.

8th June

In Edinburgh the annual church parade of the OTC’s of the University and the city schools was held at St Giles’ Cathedral. After the service the cadets with their pipe bands marched down North Bridge and Princes Street.

9th June

Whitley Bay Carnival opened and included performances by the Northumberland Pipe Band and Newcastle Pipe Band.

The annual outing to Rothbury of the Comrades League, former members of the Northumberland Fusiliers, took place. The party which numbered 120 were met at the station by the Rothbury Kilted Pipe Band under Pipe Major Murray. A wreath was laid at the war memorial and the ex-servicemen marched past to the music of the pipe band. Lunch was served at the Station Hotel and was followed by an afternoon of sports for prizes provided by the tradespeople of Rothbury. Shortly after 8pm the visitors steamed out of the station to the playing of the pipe band and the cheering of the assembled townspeople.

10th June

Several papers reported: “William Caine (20), of no settled home, pleaded guilty at Salford yesterday to stealing as bailee a bagpipe, the property of the St Patrick’s Pipe Band, of which he was a member, and he was remanded with a view to being sent to a Borstal institution.”

Inverness Pipe Major honoured

Papers reported: “Pipe Major Andrew Macintosh, 2nd Scots Guards, had the honour of being commanded to attend in person at Buckingham Palace, and having done so was presented by his Majesty with the Royal Victorian Order in recognition of his services in connection with his Majesty’s Court. Pipe Major Macintosh, who belongs to Inverness, has an excellent record in the army. He has been with the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards for fourteen years, and went through the whole of the Great War, going on active service in August 1914, and returning with his battalion from Germany in 1919. He was mentioned twice in despatches. His friends in the army and at home are very pleased to know that he has been honoured by the King. Pipe Major Macintosh’s father and mother reside at 63 Innes Street.”

The 1st Kirkliston coy of the Boys’ Brigade, under Captain Drummond, were on parade on Tuesday evening. “Their pipe band headed them in a short march out in the Winchburgh direction. Before returning they received some instruction and practice in ‘falling in’ by the drum, and to all appearances it won’t be long until they have become quite efficient.”

Infirmary week at Duns was reported. It included a fancy dress parade led by the British Legion Pipe Band.

Local Volume of Bagpipe Music

Lt MacLennan’s book was reviewed in detail in the Aberdeen Journal under the heading ‘Local Volume of Bagpipe Music’. “The Piobaireachd, as performed in the Highlands for age, till about the year 1808 is a publication that will rejoice the heart of many, and probably puzzle the minds of some pipers. It is nevertheless a valuable contribution to pipe notation literature. The author is the late Ian McLennan, an authority on bagpipe music, who died while the work was passing through the press. The publication, after being 12 months in the printers’ hands, has now been issued. The contents include 8 pibrochs, 2 slow marches, and 2 reels – 6 marches in all.

“Beginning with the pibrochs we have: The Glen is Mine, Captain MacDougall’s Lament, The MacRae’s March, I’ll Never Return, MacKay’s Banner, The Son’s Salute to his Father, The Earl of Seaforth’s Salute and Chisholm’s Salute. Then come the marches of Pipe Major Geo S McLennan (son of the author), now retired from the Gordon Highlanders, which read: Captain E B B Towse VC, King George V’s Army, Delgaty Castle, The Unknown Warrior, The Battle of Harlaw (1411), Major John MacLennan (Gordon Highlanders), The Lochaber Gathering,  The Piper of Dunnyveg, The Brown Haired Maid”, (parts 1 and 2 are the original), the other 6 are by Mr McLennan, and Alick Cameron.

“The chief attraction of the work is attached to the pibrochs. This is on account of the author’s introduction of a new system of recording what may be termed the ‘minim standard pulse’. This of course tends to revolutionise the whole plan of reading bagpipe music, and to the less skilful exponent to imaginary obstacles in the way. These obstacles are, however, succinctly cleared to a large extent by the exhaustive Glossary of the Terminology of Bagpipe Music given in the work. This forms a complete guide to the would-be performer with a knowledge of his instrument.

“Not only is the publication to be welcomed from an educative standpoint, it is also of distinctive value as a corrector of false and crude notions of the treatment meted out to the ‘Piobaireachd’ by our forebears of the long and dim past. The ‘Piobaireachd’ is published at 2s 6d, postage extra, and may be had of Mr Geo S McLennan, 2 Bath Street, Aberdeen.”

11th June

The Dundee Courier reported: “Brechin Town Council has granted the Co-Operative Society the use of the park for their gala day on 5th July, but declined a request from a Dundee pipe band to give a concert in July. It was stated that numerous requests of this kind were being received, and while they could not prevent bands coming if they desired, the Council thought the thing was being overdone.”

The Yorkshire Post probably thought this was funny: “A contemporary is asking its readers what they think of the bagpipe. If it imagined that we are capable of using language like that it is greatly mistaken.”

In Devon the results of the Taunton Hospital fund raising carnival were reported and included: “Mr A J Vickery, The Highland Scot, with his bagpipes, did exceedingly well with the assistance of several collectors. £13 11s 10¾d was collected.”

The Northern Ensign reported: “Wednesday was a benefit night in the La Scala for the Wick Pipe Band, whose stirring music on Saturday evenings is a source of enjoyment to large numbers who congregate in the vicinity of the Market Place. Notwithstanding the favourable weather and the consequent attractions of summer pastimes, there was a large audience. The revue, ‘Port Lights’, which is sustained entirely by local children under the leadership of Miss Dixie, maintained its popularity and evoked hearty applause. In addition, an excellent picture programme, including The Dweller of the Desert was screened. The Pipe Band are under a debt of gratitude to Miss Dixie for her generosity, and desire their thanks to be recorded to her.’

The Leicester Mail had this report: “Despite the masterly fashion in which the Seaforth Highlanders render the most classical and intricate pieces of music one finds it somewhat difficult to dissociate them from the skirl of the bagpipes. The reason for this unquestionably is because of their national dress. The swing of a kilt goes well with the martial notes of the pipes. The grand musical fete being given this week by the above band at the De Montfort Hall Gardens is proving a capital draw. There is a double pleasure, that of the ear and that of the eye. With their kilts, coloured stockings, bare knees, and the tartan flowing over their left shoulders, they present a tableau that is a joy to watch. That seems to be the opinion of large numbers of Leicester people, for once again last night the hall was crowded.”

Randalstown British Legion pipe band played at the Killead Orange Bazaar.

In the Music in the Parks series in Edinburgh, performances included the Tramways pipe band, PM Donald Sutherland in Princes St Gardens and Abbeyhill pipe band, PM J MacGregor in Leith Links.

The Caledonian Pipe Band gave a concert in Baxter Park, Dundee at 7.15pm.

12th June

In the muster room of the Inverness Burgh Police Office a marble tablet was unveiled to the memory of two constables of the force, Duncan Campbell and Kenneth Mackenzie, killed in the Great War. A piper played The Flowers of the Forest and a bugler sounded the Last Post.

13th June

In Linlithgow the old ceremony of Crying The Marches, a preliminary to the Common Riding, was performed. The town herald made the proclamation summoning the burgesses, craftmen, and whole inhabitants to join the Provost, Baillies and Council in riding the marches on Tuesday escorted by halberdiers, pipers and drummers.

In the evening in Edinburgh the Royal Scots Pipe Band under PM Peden played in the West Meadows and Gorgie District pipe band under PM E Alexander played in Victoria Park, Leith.

According to a London paper, reporting on a lecture about Dr Samuel Johnson, ‘Dr Johnson was fond of the music of the bagpipes, but when told that a certain piece was difficult said, “I wish it was impossible.”’

The Wishaw Press and Advertiser announced ‘Tonight, Friday at 6.30 Dalziel Highland Pipe Band will submit a programme in Belhaven Park and tomorrow, Saturday, at 6.30 the Plymouth Marines should prove a big attraction. The latter band will again visit Wishaw on Wednesday evening.’

In Edinburgh the band of the British Legion Comrades of the Great War under Bandmaster J Dought and the 7th/9th Royal Scots Pipe Band under Pipe Major J Peden, played in the West Meadows from 7pm to 9pm. The Postal Military Band under Bandmaster W R Reilly, and the Gorgie District Pipe Band, under Pipe Major E Alexander, played in Victoria Park, Leith from 7.15pm.

Papers reported: “Alexander McKechnie 33, hawker, who in Glasgow Sheriff Court, yesterday, was sentenced to 18 months’ hard labour for theft by housebreaking, had, it was stated, stolen, among other things, a set of bagpipes from a house in Cardonald. A girl in one of the houses visited by the accused saw him coming in through a window. She ordered him out, and he went. As she was shutting the window, McKechnie told her not to bother doing so, because, if he wished to get in, he could do so. Information was given to the police, and some time later McKechnie was arrested, after he had broken into another house. A friend of the occupant recognised the bagpipes which the accused then had in his possession.”

14th June

The Daily Record and Mail had this: “Commenting on the recent case of the theft of a set of bagpipes, a Sassenach acquaintance says that, of course, the burglar’s mental state should be looked into.”

There was an historic pageant and procession in Bathgate to celebrate the founding of Bathgate Academy. The Scottish Society Pipe Band, Torphichen Pipe Band, Bathgate Public Band and Whitburn Public Band all took part.

The annual gathering of Foresters at Peebles included a performance by the ex-servicemen’s pipe band.

The Oban Times reported on a parade of the 13th Highland Pack Brigade RA TA Oban Section. The Section marched to the drill hall via Corran Parks, Esplanade and George Street led by a detachment of pipers from the Oban pipe band, which met the returning Section at Dunollie Porter Lodge.

This letter was published in the same paper: “Johannesburg, South Africa, 25th April 1924. Sir, It has been claimed that there existed in Skye over 300 years ago a complete system of notation for pipe tunes made up of combinations and permutations of the English vowels to represent each of the nine notes of the chanter, and of consonants to represent the gracenotes. It is not known how the Skyemen got their knowledge of the English alphabet, or to what other use it was put.

“Though the vowels were short of the number of the main notes of the chanter, and had to be manipulated, the consonants were ample for the gracenotes; but when the gracenotes became complex (sometimes as many as seven following in succession), it was an entirely different matter.

“This system, like others, has more exceptions than examples; and so it is not surprising that the illustrations quoted by your recent correspondent is in this plight. The illustration is the ground of Kilchrist:

Hindo hodro, hindo, hodro,

Hindo hodro, hindo, hodra,

Hindo hodro, hindo hindrie,

Hindo hodro, hindo hindrin.

“In the sixteen beats given “hin” occurs four times for note G, four times for A, and once for something else, probably B or an EA gracenote jump to the high G (hindrie). The H is G grace, I is both main G and main A and the n is nothing. Hodro has only five letters, but represents six notes g b a d g b. The last note quoted (rin) is curious from the point of view of the role that consonants represent gracenotes. Here is a gracenote (n) finishing the piece – a physical and musical impossibility. The explanation is that the art of playing a gracenote without its subsequent note (the note graced) died with the MacCrimmons.

“It may be thought strange that the great discovery should have been made by people other than Skyemen, especially seeing that there are still in Skye piper descendants of the MacCrimmons and of McLeod of Gesto, as well as many other pipers, and that the traditions of the pipers are perfectly complete so far as the methods of teaching are concerned. The answer is that familiarity breeds contempt, that prophets have no honour in their own country, and that distance gives a broader view, as well as safety.

“A more serious objection is that on the view taken by pipers. Gesto’s work is perfectly complete. It makes no claim to be, and it is not, a complete system of notation. Canntaireachd is simply pipers’ chanting, with the additional assistance that the vocables are onomatopoeic, that is, that each word roughly represents in its sound, the sound produced on the chanter by the note represented. Thus, roughly, the low notes are represented by broad vowels and the high by small. A, B, C, E, A (doh, ray, me, soh, doh) are nm, o, ah, aye, ee. The consonants represent, though very roughly and inadequately, the gracenotes, which divide and embellish the main notes. In teaching Donald Doo for instance, the teacher would first show the fingering, and then he would sing:

Hay habbra hahmbum

Hay habbrahoihmbum

“This without the living voice, is of course unintelligible to those who do not know the tune and are not pipers; but pipers might make something of it even as it is, without the showing of pitch or time. I remember the way Calum MacPherson chanted Raasay’s Salute:

Humbayo hahbrabun

Tahhayaho brobbun

“I also remember that one of his last pupils had frequent difficulty as regards gracenotes, though he remembered the chant. There was no rigid uniformity; that was not necessary. But the discoverers of the complex system of pipe notation meet all these facts by the simple method of denial, and the repetition of the theory. I am etc, Malcolm MacInnes.”

•Malcolm MacInnes (1871-1951) was from Drumfearn, Skye. He was educated at Edinburgh University then later went to South Africa where he was employed in the civil service. He published several books including 120 Bagpipe Tunes Gleanings and Styles in 1939.

The Oban Times also reported on the Clan MacRae Society Summer outing, a cruise on the SS Gypsy Queen, to Craigendarroch along the Forth and Clyde canal, which had taken place on 31st May. Music on board was provided by Mr Donald MacRae, piper and Mr David Grant LRAM pianist.

Also reported was this: “Castlereagh Pipe Band attended an entertainment given by Mr Thomas Russell, and friends of the Buffalo Order in the Oakley Hotel, Ravenhill Road.”

Arbroath Highland Pipe Band headed the procession for the Arbroath Parish Church Sunday School picnic.

The Co-Operative Society gala day took place at Wemysshill Farm. The procession included Springburn Reed Band and Bothwell Park Pipe Band. On arrival at the field a plentiful supply of buns and milk were served. An attractive [programme of sports and games was carried through and both bands provided programmes of music during the afternoon. The Falkirk Iron Works Welfare Club held their Garden Fete in Kersehill Grounds on June 14th, with Falkirk Trades Band and Parkhead Cadets’ Pipe Band playing during the afternoon. On the same day in Edinburgh the Postal Military Band, Bandmaster W R Reilly and City Police Pipe Band, PM J Hendry, played in West Princes Street Gardens from 7pm to 9pm.

Scout week in Montrose started with a scout camp on Saturday followed by a Camp service on Sunday then on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 7pm to 9pm at the camp there were various displays and pipe band performances.

An English newspaper report stated: “The Air Force stationed at Manston has a very excellent bagpipe band, but how many Ramsgatonians are aware of it? Whatever may be the average Southron’s opinion of the Scottish national ‘musical’ instrument, it is one of the most inspiring things to march to, and if the Commanding Officer would order a route march in this district occasionally it would certainly be appreciated. The boys in gry-blue are popular in the town when they are off duty, and the townspeople would make them feel equally at home if they paid them a visit now and then headed by the pipes.”

For Scout Week the Pumpherston and Uphall Troupes paraded in Pumpherston led by Pumpherston pipe band. On the same day the Dalzell Pipe Band played at a fete to raise money for the Glasgow Samaritan Hospital.

Dundee Pipe Band and the Balmoral Troupe of Dancers paid a visit to Kirriemuir and provided excellent entertainment on the High Street in the afternoon in the Den in the evening. This combination of pipers is one of the best that visits Kirriemuir, and their playing of stirring marches and airs, with fine drum effects, was greatly appreciated. The clever dancing of the Balmoral troupe also delighted the large audiences which assembled for the entertainments.

In Edinburgh the City Police Pipe Band under PM J Hendry played in West Princes Street Gardens from 7 to 9pm on Saturday evening 14th June.

Greenock Highland Games were in Cappielow Park, with Highland dancing and piping competitions, for senior and juvenile bands. The results were, Senior Bands: 1. Millhall, PM George McDonald; 2. Clan MacRae, PM Wm Fergusson; 3. 6th HLI, PM T Baillie. Confined to Renfrewshire: Anchor Mills, Paisley. Junior Bands: 1. 139th Boys’ Brigade, Glasgow; 2. 5th Troop, (WKO) Boy Scouts, Greenock… One paper reported: “Perhaps the feature of Greenock Highland Games was not the athletics, but the piping, by juveniles. The 139th Boys’ Brigade from Glasgow landed the Caird Challenge Trophy, Millhall won the McLean Gold Cup and £5, the reward for the conquerors in the senior pipe band contest.”

The Bothwell Farmers’ Society annual show was on 14th June with the Eddlewood District Juvenile Pipe Band playing during the day. In addition to the usual classes there would be competitions for Highland Dancing and Bagpipe playing.

Kirkintilloch and Lenzie pipe band played at the Campsie, Strathblane and Baldernock Agricultural Show.

Events during Scout Week in Peterhead, 14th to 21st June, included performances by the Oakbank band and Peterhead Pipe Band.

Scout Week in Buchan included performances by the Oakbank Industrial School Band and Peterhead Pipe Band.

The Bridge of Earn scout troop held a sale of work. During the afternoon there was an exhibition of the Lochaber sword dance by Masters R Fraser, S Cook, E Day and D Stewart to the bagpipe music of Sgt Robert H Duff.

In Aberdeen the outing arranged by the employees of Esslemont and Macintosh Ltd for 1,000 children took place. The children assembled in the grounds of Robert Gordon’s College and marched to the station led by the pipe band from Oakbank School. They would travel by special train.

Pipe Major Kirk’s band from St Andrews supplied the music at the Anstruther School sports Day.

In Aberdeen the annual inspection of the Aberdeen police took place with the pipe band playing for the march past.

At Dyce Games the piping results were, Marches: Cpl G Cruickshank, 2. Wm Cruickshank, 3. R G Moir. Strathspey and Reel: 1. G Cruickshank, 2. Wm Grant, 3. W Cruickshank. Jig: 1. PM Ewing, 2. Wm Grant, 3. W Cruickshank. The judges for piping and dancing were PM Ewing, and Messrs Mann and Slorach.

The Queensferry, Dalmeny and District pipe band played at the Dalmeny Women’s Guild Garden Party and afterwards visited the Hawes Pier where they entertained visitors for two hours, after which they played through the High Street to the Bell Stane where a one hour’s programme was provided. The band hoped to be able to give longer programmes at an early date. On Saturday 14th the Arbroath Highland Pipe Band played selections throughout the afternoon at the Arbroath Parish Church Sunday School outing to the park in the grounds of Letham Grange.

The Bothwell Cattle Show included piping and dancing competitions. The piping results were: Marches (open to amateurs) 1. Wm Alston, 2. Alex Brownlie, 3. Thomas McGowan. Strathspey and Reel (open to amateurs) 1. John Murray, 2. Wm Brownlie, 3. John Unsworth. Marches (15 years and under) Wm Alston.

A garden fete at St Vigeans included piping selections from PM Crowe.

The Kirkintilloch and Lenzie pipe band played at the Torrance Agricultural Show.

In Kirriemuir the Dundee Highland pipe band under PM Chalmers played in the High Street and in the Den and elicited much favourable comment alike for their smart appearance, the precision of their evolutions and their stirring music.

The first annual meeting of the Michael Colliery Pipe Band took place on Saturday 14th June. Mr Peter Bryce presided. The treasurer’s report, which showed the income to be £281, was considered satisfactory. Liabilities were still £74. 11s 6d. £199 had been paid to the Co-Operative Society for uniforms, while six drums had been purchased. Mr George Brown was appointed Hon President, Mr Arch Sharp, Hon Vice-President; Mr P Bryce, President; Mr Jas Welch, Secretary; Mr Jas Moodie, Treasurer; members of committee, Messrs C Tonar, D Oswald, G Adamson, Jas Munro, C Kennedy, G Burns, M Russell, D Craigie, Jas Adamson, and D Adamson.

An incident occurred during the Rodeo performance at the Wembley Exhibition on Saturday 14th and was reported over the following days in several papers: “One decidedly cruel deed was, however, perpetrated during the afternoon. Just as a wild steer was being released from the stocade, pipers of the Scottish Canadians in the stand immediately behind got busy. That steer had obviously never heard the bagpipes before. The sound made him wilder than he had ever been in his wild life, and with a bellow of justified indignation he broke into the arena and galloped clean out before his would-be rider realised what had happened. Rumours of the issue of warrants for the arrest of the pipers on a charge of cruelty are, however, unfounded.”

Concerning the rodeo at the Empire Exhibition the Daily Record on 17th June had this: “As a contribution to the controversy ‘Is Rodeo Cruel?’ a correspondent mentioned that there is a pipe band in attendance.”

15th June

Children’s Sunday at Byker Parish Church was celebrated by a parade of various juvenile organisations in the east end of the city. The column marched to and from the church headed by the City of Newcastle Pipe Band under Drum Major Powell.

The war memorial at Preston Colliery was unveiled. Three buglers sounded the Last Post and Pipe Majors John and James Wilson of the Veterans’ Association played Lord Lovat’s Lament.

Camelon Pipe Band played in the Public Park during the afternoon and the following day the Boys’ Brigade pipe band were to head a juvenile church parade to the west UF Church.

Cowdenbeath Band Dispute. Men to Withdraw their Resignations.

The Cowdenbeath Band was again in the news, with this report: “The dispute between Cowdenbeath Pipe Band and the Public Band Committee is in all likelihood at an end. The committee called a public meeting for last night, when Mr John Black, chairman of the committee presided over a large gathering in the Co-Operative Hall.

“The Chairman and the secretary, Mr Jas Beattie, explained the actions of the committee in their dealings with the Band during the dispute, and though at times the meeting became of a lively nature, it was ultimately agreed to adopt a resolution moved by Mr John Hood to the effect that the Band and Pipe Major Brown withdraw their resignations, and the committee accept the withdrawal of the resignations.

“Pipe Major Brown, on behalf of the Band, said he would be quite pleased to do this, and the Chairman said he would promise likewise on behalf of the committee if the withdrawals were unconditional.”

The Sunday Pictorial had more so-called humour: “Boys of the Bulldog Breed. Despite the fact that they have been presented with a supply of gramophones, saxophones and bagpipes, the party of explorers about to set out for the Antarctic resolutely refuse to abandon their project.”

In Edinburgh a great crowd of citizens gathered within the historic churchyard of Greyfriars, to participate in the annual Covenanting and memorial service organised by the Young Men’s Guild of the Church of Scotland. At the close of the service Lady Sleigh placed a beautiful wreath at the Covenanters Monument while the pipe band played Lochaber No More and a collection was taken on behalf of the Royal Infirmary.

Children’s Sunday at Byker Parish Church was celebrated by a parade of various juvenile organisations in the east end of the city. The column marched to and from the church headed by the City of Newcastle pipe band under Drum Major Powell.

The war memorial at Preston Colliery was unveiled. Three buglers sounded the Last Post and Pipe Majors John and James Wilson of the Veterans’ Association played Lord Lovat’s Lament.

Scout week in Nairn started when the local troops marched to church led by their pipe band. On the same day the Bonnyrigg Scouts marched to church with their pipe band.

16th June

The Innerleithen British Legion Pipe Band played at the Walkerburn School Sports day.

In the evening the Kirkliston BB headed by their pipe band had a ‘March Out.’ The local paper reported that they were looking smarter than ever and were a credit to Captain Drummond.

Radio programmes on the Glasgow station included at 8.22pm Helensburgh Pipe Band – March The Braemar Highlanders, Strathspey Brig o’ Perth, Reel Loch Tayside. 8.29pm. Lt Col Norman MacLeod on Clan Sentiment. 8. 39pm. Helensburgh Pipe Band – March The Bonawe Highlanders, Strathspey Balmoral Castle, Reel Jock Wilson.

It was reported that Lt Col J Bett was in command of the annual parade and inspection of that smart combination, the Newcastle Division of the Corps of Commissionaires. Headed by the City of Newcastle Highland Pipe Band the Commissionaires marched to service at Newcastle Cathedral.

17th June

The Linlithgow and District Pipe Band played at the Riding the Marches celebrations in Linlithgow.

18th June

The Boys Scouts of Stirlingshire held a rally in Callendar Park Falkirk at 8pm. The famous LMS Railway Rover Pipe Band played selections.

The Perth paper reported: “An interesting and attractive demonstration of the thirty-twosome reel was the feature of last night’s proceedings at Perth in connection with Scout Week. The reel, which was performed by members of the Perth and District Troops, who are to take part in a Jamboree at Wembley Exhibition next month was very neatly executed. Highly creditable exhibitions of the reel were given at Scone, Sharp’s Institution playground, and in front of City Hall, King Edward Street. Large and appreciative crowds witnessed the demonstrations, which were under the direction of Major H S Pullar, Dunbarney, the District Commissioner, assisted by various Scoutmasters and by Pipe Major Duff, who trained the troop of dancers. The Cherrybank Pipe Band, under Pipe Major Peggie, supplied appropriate and lively music for the dance. At the conclusion of the performance at the City Hall, Lord James Stewart Murray, County Commissioner, who was present at the two latter exhibitions, addressed a few encouraging and appreciative remarks to the boys, who gave him three hearty cheers on his departure.”

In Dundee the City Tramways Grand Open  Air Concert was given by Ashton Works Choir, with selections at intervals by the Dundee Police Pipe Band.

Riding the Marches festivities in Peebles began on the 18th and included a parade led by the Ex-servicemen’s Pipe Band.

At York Gala on 18th, 19th and 20th June the Bands were 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars, 2nd Bt the Cheshire Regiment, 1st By Durham Light Infantry and 1st Bt Seaforth Highlanders with pipers and dancers.

Bands booked to play in the Falkirk parks during the summer were Falkirk Trades Band, Camelon Brass Band and Camelon Pipe Band. Each would give 12 performances. The last named would be paid £25 and the other two £35 each.

Music the Edinburgh Parks included the Tramways band under PM Donald Sutherland in West Princes St Gardens in the afternoon and the 4th/5th Royal Scots, PM James Robertson at 7pm at Leith Links.

19th June

In Glasgow Music in the Parks featured:

Rouken Glen Park. Ideals Concert Party 7.30pm.

Queens Park. Dixie Minstrels 7.30pm.

Glasgow Green. Plymouth Marines Band 7.30pm

Kelvingrove Park. Boys Brigade Pipe Band Contest 7.30pm.

Springburn Park. Springburn Reed Band and Tramway Pipers 7.30pm.

Victoria Park. Glasgow Police Pipe Band 7.30pm

Elder Park. Tramway Orchestra 7.30pm

The Barnardo Musical Boys were in Worthing and gave their usual performance at the Connaught Rooms. Five of the boys marched round the hall playing the bagpipes and this proved a most popular item with the audience. In response to an insistent demand for an encore two of the pipers accompanied by their conductor Mr Wigg gave a Highland Fling.

The Stage had this: “The Famous Kilty Lassies. Vocalists, Dancers, Pipers, Drummers, Including Little Alva. Can accept dates in July and Aug. Am., German Tour. Later. Writer open to accept Pantomime. A report from Dublin Telegraph June 17 1924: ‘Queen’s Theatre. The bill of fare presented to the patrons of the Queen’s Theatre this week is most creditable to the management, as it reaches of vaudeville. The Scotch scene, presented by the Kilty Lassies, under the direction of Pipe Major Deans, was a lively and striking show. These artists, who are adept pipers, drummers, vocalists, and dancers, supplied a capital turn, in vivid contrast to the atmosphere created by other contributors, and their work was cordially received.

“We found the Irish audience great. This Queen’s Theatre Dublin; next, Athenaeum, Limerick. All Scotch. All Scotch. Pipe Major Deans is the originator of the first ladies’ Scotch bagpipe band. Talent, dress, personality. We have no connection with any other troupe. Too many cooks spoil the broth. You can depend on a Scotsman.”

20th June

The Abbeyhill Pipe Band under PM J McGregor, played in Victoria Park, Leith at 7.15pm.

The Armadale Gala Day included Bathgate pipe band and Torphichen pipe band.

Glencraig Pipe Band Players Going Overseas

This was reported on 20th June: “Members, friends, and committee of Glencraig Public Pipe Band met in a social capacity in the local Gothenburg in order to do honour to two of their players and officials – Mr Wilkie, late secretary, and Sergeant Bremner. Mr Wilkie was presented with a wallet of Treasury notes and Sergeant Bremner with a handsome silver mounted chanter. Both are bound for foreign parts. Songs were contributed by Messrs J Holland, M Bailey, T Green, J Smith, W Livingstone, G Brown, Piper Dall, Drummer Burleigh and Pipe Major Jackson.

21st June

The Motherwell BB pipe band played at Fir Park for a YMCA Exhibition of Amateur Athletics and the 3rd Dundee BB pipe band played at the Harris Academy sports day. The 2nd Royal Scots pipe band played at the Chelmsford Hospital Carnival on the same day.

In Glasgow Scout week ended with a rally of 10,000 scouts in Cathkin Park. The march past was led by the massed pipe bands.

Millhall Pipe Band played at a fete and fancy fair at Westerton House in Bridge of Allan and the 4th/5th Royal Scots under PM J Robertson played in West Princes St Gardens at 7pm.

Irish papers advertised a competition for Pipe, Brass, Fife and Drum bands and an Individual competition. The Gaelic League Oireachtas in Cork was advertised. Events were to include a Pipe Band Competition at 7pm on Sunday 22nd June at Fitzgerald Park. 

A gymnastic display was held in the grounds of George Heriot’s school. There was also a display of drill in which all the boys took part, with music provided by the band of the British Legion, Comrades of the Great War. The pipe band of the School Contingent OTC rendered selections during the afternoon. A party of 50 visiting Australian boys were present.

Bathgate Games were advertised for 5th July with a closing date of 25th June for entries.

Edinburgh Corporation announced that they had secured the services of the band and pipers of the 2nd Bt Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders under Bandmaster F J Rickets and Pipe Major R C Ancell. Performances would be given twice daily at 3pm and 7pm in Princes Street Gardens during the coming week. Should the weather be unfavourable the performances would be transferred to the Usher Hall, Lothian Road.

Red Letter Day for Comrie’s Highland Gathering

The Perthshire paper had this: “The Highland Gathering and Pipe Band Contest to be held at Comrie next Saturday promises to be one of the leading Perthshire events, and just requires the weather clerk to continue in his best behaviour to make the venture a huge success. A large entry has been secured, and a programme of much interest will be submitted. The premier Scottish Pipe Bands are to be contestants and a keen tussle for the handsome Dunira Shield, presented by the Chieftain, Mr W Gilchrist MacBeth of Dunira, is sure to result. The Clan McRae, the world champions, Millhall, fresh from their Alloa and Greenock victories, the Glasgow Corporation Tramway, winners of many prizes, and Wallacestone, the ex-British champions are all bent on carrying off the coveted trophy. The management are out for establishing an event equal to Cowal in Perthshire, catering for the bands of the East and North, and the promises of support which have been given justifies their ambition. The entries for the single piping, dancing, and athletic events are numerous, and visitors to Comrie’s Highland Gathering will be sure of spending a pleasant day amid its beautiful surroundings.”

Massacring of our ancient Piobaireachd

This letter was printed in the Oban Times: “11th June 1924. Sir, Mr MacPherson and ‘Hold Fast’ are not alone in their protests against the massacring of our ancient Piobaireachd as handed down to us by the MacCrimmons. The real question is, how is this mutilation to be arrested – so abhorrent to the true ear – if we are to hand down to future generations the cherished melody as it actually should be played. I fear not so long as the Piobaireachd Society remain indifferent to protests by players with undoubted reputation. There are always to be found players who will comply with the Society’s settings for the honour of gaining the valuable prizes they offer and so long as this continues there will be two schools of thought – the old and the modern – consequently when the old school have gone west to join the MacCrimmons there will probably be nothing left but the modern style. How sad to see this canker growing every year while we have eyes to see and ears to hear and a remedy at hand.  I am etc A Lover of Piobaireachd.’

Metagama collision off Cape Race

Several papers on 20th and 21st had the story of the Metagama which had collided with another vessel in a dense fog seven miles off Cape Race. The Metagama had a huge hole in the side and, in a sinking condition was finally beached on a mudbank at St John’s, Newfoundland. Water was pouring in and the pumps could not control it so the situation was critical. Several passing ships reached the Metagama and preparations were made to transfer the 700 passengers, including eighteen Scottish brides who were going to marry Canadians, if the damaged vessel began to founder. Every effort was made to keep up the spirits of those aboard. Impromptu concerts were held, including the ship’s string band but the star turn was one of the seamen, a skilled piper who provided bagpipe music.

The Old Monkland Primary School annual sports day was held at Cliftonhill. Stewart and Lloyds Cadet Pipe Band provided music throughout the day.

Pipe Major Lundie paraded the grounds and provided pipe music at a garden fete in Arbroath.

During a Carnival at Folkstone on  21st The Gordon Boys, with bagpipes, paraded through the streets.

The winner of the bagpipe competition at the Fordyce Annual Highland Gathering on 21st June was W Stuart, Forgie.

In Ireland band news included the information that: “The Holy Cross and Sacred Heart Pipe Band, under Mr Thomas Campbell, pipe major, is making good headway. The first public turnout of the band was a success.”

At Dunecht Games PM J O Duff, P/Cpl G Cruickshank, Aberdeen and D Copeland, Fort George were the leading competitors with P/Cpl Cruickshank carrying off the medal.

Cupar Pipe Band visited Glenlomond Sanatorium and played a fine programme of music; the 3rd Dundee BB pipe band played at the Harris Academy annual sports; in Northern Ireland the Gilnakirk pipe band played at the Dundonald sports; the Newmains and Cambusnethan Co-Operative Society’s annual Gala Day had Coltness Silver Band, Shotts RC Band and Newarthill pipe band in their parade and playing selections at the field later; Wishaw Co-operative Society’s Gala Day had Carluke Silver Band, Cleland Pipe Band and the Boys’ Brigade pipe band; Polmont pipe band, Grange Thistle pipe band and the BB pipe band played at the Children’s Gala Day in Grangemouth; the Phoenix pipe band played at a football match in Glasgow; Bonnyrigg Children’s Day featured music from the Arniston Silver Band and the pipe band of the local scout troop; the Black Watch pipe band played at a garden fete in Blairgowrie; and at Armadale Children’s Gala the bands were the Scottish Society of Bathgate pipe band, Torphichen pipe band, Bathgate Public Band, Armadale Public Band and Coatbridge Brass Band.  Perth and District Scouts ended Scout Week with a rally on Saturday 21st with music provided by the pipe band of the 63rd Errol troop. In the evening a fancy dress parade was planned but was cancelled due to a thunderstorm. On Sunday the scouts attended a church parade.

At the Bogmuchals and Brodiesord Gathering the piping results were, March:  1. PM Ross, Aberdeen; 2. C Smith, Aberdeen Eric Rutherford, Bogmuchals. Strathspey and Reel: 1. J M Ewing, 2. PM Ross; 3. C Smith. Medal for most points PM Ross. Confined to Banffshire. March: 1. Pte E Findlater, Turriff; 2. Wm Stuart; 3. E Rutherford.  Strathspey and Reel: 1. E Findlater, Turriff; 2. W Stuart; 3. E Rutherford. Gold Medal for most points E Findlater.  The piping and dancing judge was Mr A Milne, Aberchirder.

22nd June

At Laurencekirk D Company 5th Gordon Highlanders TF, augmented by a contingent from Stonehaven, marched to the Parish Church led by the Stonehaven pipe band, under PM McDonald.

A concert in Edinburgh in aid of the Children’s shelter featured the Edinburgh City Police pipe band, PM Hendry.

In Aberdeen the 2nd Gordon Highlanders attended Church parade led by their brass and pipe bands playing alternately. On their return they were marching along Union Street with the pipe band playing when a horse drawing a mail van became restive and bolted. The driver, recognising the danger to the crowds watching the parade, managed to turn into a side street where the horse collided with a stationary motor car. The horse was unhurt and although the driver was thrown out of the vehicle but too escaped injury.

In Cork proceedings at the Gaelic League Oireachtas opened with a hurling match between Cork sand Limerick with music supplied by the Cork Irish Volunteers’ Pipers Band. The band competitions took place in Fitzgerald Park. In the two drone competition the first prize was awarded to the Cork Irish Volunteers’ Pipers Band, the other competitors being the Lee Pipers and the Brian Boru Pipers. In the three drone competition the James Connolly Pipers’ Band were the only entry. There also events for Fife and Drum bands and Brass and Reed bands.

Scout Week in Wishaw ended with a church parade. All the local Scouts and Guides, in uniform, assembled at Newmains Scout Headquarters and marched to Coltness Church led by the 1st Wishaw pipe band.

24th June

The Band and Pipers of the 2nd Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders under Bandmaster F J Ricketts and Pipe Major R T Ancell gave performances in West Princes Street Gardens at 3pm to 5pm and 7pm to 9pm. The performances were repeated each day,  concluding with Saturday’s performances.  Also on Wednesday the Tramways pipe band, PM D Sutherland and the Postal Military band played at Leith Links 7pm to 9pm. Abbeyhill pipe band, PM J MacGregor and the Grassmarket Silver Prize Band played in Bathgate Park from 7pm to 9pm on Thursday.

The band of the Seaforth Highlanders played in Weston Park Sheffield with performances on  three afternoons and evenings 23rd 24th, 25th and due to the support given by the people of Sheffield  their visit was extended for another day with afternoon and evening performances which were  enhanced by bagpipe and dancing items. 

The New Deer Schools annual picnic took place. Pipe music was provided by Pipe Majors P McGuire and G Robertson.

25th June

A garden Fete was held in the grounds of the Maryton United Free Manse near Montrose during the afternoon. Music was provided by the Rossie Farm School Pipe Band.

The Rossie Reformatory School was founded in 1857 to cater for young offenders. It was later known as the Rossie Farm School, where 100 miscreant boys were put to work on 500 acres of farmland with the aim of providing training in agriculture. The Rossie Pipe Band was mentioned several times in the newspapers from 1905 onwards.

The scholars of Ellon Sunday School assembled at the church and led by the Boys’ Brigade Pipe Band under Piper Barrack marched to the field for their annual picnic. Outdoor games and sports were held and the scholars were supplied with tea and buns.

The Kirkintilloch Pipe Band played in Victoria Park, Kirkintilloch from 7.30pm to 9pm.The Kirkintilloch Silver Band were to play to following Wednesday and the two bands would play on alternate Wednesdays throughout the summer.

In Glasgow the Clan MacRae Society Pipe Band played in Govanhill Park at 7.30pm.

In the evening at Fivemiletown Sports in Ireland the Colebrooke Pipe Band played.

26th June

A Garden Party and Sale of Work was held at Dunollie by Captain and Mrs MacDougall of MacDougal, in aid of the Nursing Association. Rain fell heavily throughout the afternoon and for the most part the proceedings took place indoors. During the afternoon Piper James Stewart of the Oban Pipe Band played in the grounds.

27th June

The 1st Battalion King’s Own Scottish Borderers headed by their pipe and brass bands marched from Redford Barracks to Edinburgh Castle for the changing of the Guard ceremony. A programme of music was given by the bands and the battalion afterwards marched back to the Barracks by a different route.

The children of Dunfermline held their annual fete, the expense as in former years being borne by the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust. Eight thousand children, accompanied by brass and pipe bands marched in processional order from the public park to the Glen where sports took place. As an innovation this year a pageant was held in which historical incidents of note were depicted.

The Annual Gala of the Wishaw Co-operative Society was held in Stewartville Park, with four bands, Motherwell and Wishaw Town Band, Dalziel Thistle Pipe Band, Carluke Silver Band and Wishaw Boys’ Brigade Pipe Band, engaged for the occasion.

28th June

The Campbeltown Courier reported that the Campbeltown Pipe Band had been equipped with a new uniform. The eight pipers and five drummers paraded on Saturday afternoon and again on Wednesday night with a high pitch of efficiency in both piping and drumming. The tartan worn was the Royal Stewart with dark doublets and Balmoral bonnets. 

The brass band and pipe band contests organised by the Fife Coal Company took place at Cowdenbeath. Each of the six brass bands played a selection of National Airs preceded by a march, selection only to be judged.  A brass band began by playing first, followed by a pipe band. The result for pipe bands was 1. Auchterderran, 2. Cowdenbeath, 3. Hill o’ Beath. The other pipe bands were Kelty and Blairadam, and Lochore and Crosshill. Each band played a march, strathspey and reel. The judge for the pipe bands was Mr James Russell, Falkirk.

Auchterderran’s success was reported in their local paper: “The untiring efforts of Auchterderran Pipe Band were rewarded at the contest held at Cowdenbeath on Saturday open to Brass and Pipe Bands connected with the Fife Coal Company’s pits, when they took first place. Five bands were competing in the Pipe Band section. Much credit is due to Pipe Major Jas Herd, who left nothing undone to bring the band up to a high standard of efficiency. The band played through the village on their return, and had a rousing reception.”

•James Herd (1886-1974) was the grandfather and first teacher of Pipe Major Jimmy Banks, Scots Guards.

The Fife Free Press published the judge’s comments for both the brass and pipe bands and those for the pipe bans were as follows:

“No 1. Kelty and Blairadam, PM Barney Hamilton. Attack none too good. Tone could be better. Some chanter too sharp of high A, probably too weak. Time too slow for march. Strathspey and reel better time. Execution of tunes, especially march, was bad, cold weather having something to do with this. Some piper was off the tune (march), coming back from start. Break not so bad; drumming fair; drum rather too loud in pitch, weather again. Deportment could be improved. One piper off step in march.; cut finish more. Give last note its value and no more.

“No 2. Auchterderran, PM Jas Herd. Attack very good. Pipers getting very well away together. Time good. Piper next Pipe Sergt in circle had too easy a reed. Tune good enough for band; easy to play time. March could have been a little faster. Fairly well played all through. Strathspey and reel fine time. Execution of tunes fairly good. Some movements in reel could be improved. Break fairly good; drumming nice and clear, very steady; wants a little working up. Deportment good. Finish – hanging too long on last note; give last note its value, and cut off.

“No 3. Hill of Beath, Pm Robert Hunter. Attack very good. Tone as a band seemed good, although some of the chanters could have been better. Tune – March just heavy enough for a day like this; some movements being a bit thick. Strathspey, I think, was best; Reel, first two bars playing thick. Execution – As remarked above the execution of the march was the worst, due probably to cold. Break – Bass drummer could have helped band by heavy first beat in strathspey and reel; don’t like the drum turning idea. Drumming – side and tenor very steady. Deportment very good. Finish – same fault as the previous band; too long on last note; cut it away.

“No 4. Cowdenbeath, PM John Brown. Attack good. Tune lends itself to that. Tone – good at start, but fell away as the performance went on. Tune and march good enough for band work. Strathspey and reel heavy. Time march just on the slow side; this tune could be played quicker. Strathspey and reel nice time. Execution March fairly well played. Strathspey and reel thick. Had the weather been better this strathspey and reel would have been played much nicer. Break – Bass drummer should give heavier beat to help pipers into strathspey and reel first bar. Drumming – Don’t like the bass drummer; movement anything but tidy. Too much energy expelled. I am paying no attention to cap falling off his head. Deportment fair. After finish, try and get band to keep step until playing formation is reached. Finish best as yet, although it could be cut shorter.

“No 5. Lochore and Crosshill. Attack fair. Tone could be heavier. Kept fair all through. Tune – Easy compared with some played. Time – March just on the slow side. Strathspey – more life could be put into it, likewise the reel. Fingering a bit thick. Drumming – Bass drummer should stop fancy work in contests; side drummer will have to sharpen up. Deportment requires some attention. Finish could be better; cut away the drone after the last beat; room for improvement for this band.”

Coatbridge Pipe Band provided the musical programme, which was much enjoyed by the crowd at the Coatbridge YMCA sports day held at Cliftonhill, the ground of Albion Rovers FC.

The Lasswade Pipe Band played at the Dalkeith Agricultural Show Kirkintilloch Pipe Band played at the Royal Samaritan Hospital Bazaar in the Public Park, Kirkintilloch.

Stuartfield Games at Crichie House included a bagpipe competition. The result was 1. David Stuart, New Deer; 2. W Coull, Peterhead; 3. W Strachan. At Ordiquhill Games the results were, March: PM Ross; 2. PSgt Smith; 3. E Findlater. Strathspey and Reel: 1. PM Ross; 2. PM Ewing; 3. PSgt Smith.

The Dalkeith Agricultural Show featured music from the Lasswade Pipe Band.

The Arbroath YMCA and Social Institute held a fund raising Tartan Day. Tartan ribbons were distributed through the town by collectors, the Arbroath Town Band and Arbroath Highland Pipe Band paraded the principal streets and pupils of Miss Chrissie Hall gave dancing displays during the afternoon.

The results from Bathgate Games were, Solo Piping. Marches: 1. Piper McAllister, Shotts; 2. PM Wilson, Grangemouth; 3. Cpl Thomson, Ratho. Strathspey and Reel: 1. PM Wilson; 2. Cpl Thomson; 3. Piper W Graham, Torphichen. Bands: 1. Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia, 2. Dalziel, Motherwell, 3. Gartness. 

Comrie Highland Gathering

Comrie Highland Gathering was marred by bad weather, with rain falling continuously throughout the afternoon. Despite the conditions over two thousand people attended. Twelve bands had entered and eleven played in an open contest which was a new feature of the Gathering. The juvenile pipers include two girls. The judges were, Solo Piping, Captain Willison, Killin, Dancing Mr Hector MacPherson, Edinburgh; Band Contest. Piping, Captain Willison, Messrs John MacColl, Glasgow, and John Sutherland, Edinburgh, Drumming, Messrs Alex West, Edinburgh and Peter Spiers, Perth. Drill, Discipline and Dress, Mr Hector MacPherson. The results were, Bands: 1. Dunira Shield and £16. City of Glasgow Corporation Tramways; 2. £12. Clan MacRae, Glasgow; 3. £8.Millhall, Stirling; 4. £4. Vale of Atholl, Pitlochry. Confined to bands who had never won a prize in any competition: 1. Rose Bowl and £8. Oban; 2. £6. Comrie; 3. £3. Fallin. Special Prize Three Guineas for best group of drummers. Glasgow Tramways and Clan MacRae equal with 15 points, full marks. Special Prize Three Guineas for Drill, Discipline and Dress. Glasgow Tramways and Vale of Atholl equal with ten points, full marks. The other bands which entered were Dundee, Tullybody and Cambus, Caledonian Society, Kirkcaldy and Wallacestone and District.

Solo Piping. March: 1. Piper Lawrie, Oban; 2 and 3 equal. PMs J Duff, Edinburgh and W Reid, Fallin; 4. PM Irvine, Scottish Horse. Strathspeys and Reels: 1. Charles McEachern, Islay; 2 and 3 equal. PMs J Duff, Edinburgh and Rattray, Dundee; 4. PM Irvine. Scottish Horse. Juvenile piping, under 16 March: 1. J Kerr, Fallin; 2. A Sinclair, Perth; 3. A Thomson, Dundee, 4. Lizzie Vipond, Edinburgh.

•Oban Pipe Band pictured in Oban Times and Argyllshire Advertiser 1924

The Oban Times had a report on the success of their local band, accompanied by a photograph of the band: “The Oban Pipe Band under Pipe Major Angus Lawrie proceeded to Comrie on Saturday and entered for the confined and open pipe band contests held under the auspices of the Comrie and District Piping Association.  Of the seven bands taking part in the contest confined to bands which had not previously competed, the Oban Pipe Band was adjudged the first prize winner, and thus gained the silver Association Rose Bowl. Their success was worthily gained, and judging by the hearty cheers the decision greatly pleased the large gathering. The band also gave a good account of itself in the pipe band contest open to the whole of Scotland. Twelve bands entered for this competition, and the Oban band took 5th place, a very creditable performance considering that among the competitors were first class bands of long experience, including the Clan MacRae Pipe Band of Glasgow (formerly the City of Glasgow Pipe Band, winners of the Cowal Shield). The first prize in the open competition went to the Glasgow Corporation’s Pipe Band, the second to the Clan MacRae, the third to Millhall, and the fourth to Vale of Atholl, so that in taking a fifth place the Oban Pipe Band gave a performance of exceptional merit. Piper Kenneth Lawrie, a member of the band and brother of Pipe Major Angus Lawrie, secured the first prize for playing marches in the open piping competition, Pipe Majors Duff, Edinburgh and Reid, Fallin, being second and third (Equal) and Pipe Major Irvine, Scottish Horse, fourth. Piper Lawrie, who is a performer of great promise on the Piob Mhor, has already distinguished himself in the piping world, having at last year’s Argyllshire Gathering secured the first prize for marches in the local piping events. The news of the Oban band’s outstanding success in its first competitive effort was received in Oban with both pleasure and pride, and an enthusiastic crowd awaited the late train on Saturday night with the intention of giving the band a fitting welcome. Unfortunately the Band was delayed at Comrie and did not arrive in Oban until Sunday morning. The silver rose bowl won by the Band is at present on view in the window of Mr McDougall’s Hiring Office at Queen’s Park Place. This handsome trophy, which is to be competed for annually at the Comrie Games, will be in possession of the Oban Pipe Band for the ensuing year.”

Not everyone was happy with the Gathering. A letter, signed Heather, appeared in the Strathearn Herald: “Sir, What otherwise would have been a great success was spoiled, partly by the weather, but mostly by the bad management, and it is in connection with this that I should like to ask a question. Who is it that was responsible? I understand it was more of a one-man show. The Committee was very much camouflaged, as no one seemed to know who they were, and the people who were kept waiting for the bands to play showed their disapproval very markedly by asking who was in charge of the arrangements, and as a great many had to leave by early trains, they were disappointed at not hearing the bands at all. I must say the catering left very much to be desired. If the local Piping Association wishes to retain their fair name some drastic change must be made in the management of what I should like to see an annual event.”

Dalmeny Gala Day was held, with pipe band leading the parade to field and playing selections during the afternoon. West Calder Pipe Band played at Oakbank Gala Day.

At the MacDuff Institute sports day at Tulliemet the piping and dancing was judged by General Sir Frederick Campbell, Pitlochry and Mr Donald MacDougall, Woodburn, Ballinluig.  The piping result was 1. Unwin Seaton, 2. Peter Seaton, 3. John Macgillivray

It was reported that the Duke of Atholl’s pipe band played at a Garden Fete in Callander.

Bands news from Ireland reported that a representative of one of the Flute bands proposed a learners rule that the sum of three guineas be paid for the members’ transfer. He explained the difficulty young bands had to contend with by losing members encouraged away by other bands. After considerable discussion the motion was lost by 14 to 4.

In Liverpool the pipe band of the 10th Scottish The King’s Regiment played in Calderstones Park at 7.45pm. Their programme was: MSRs. Pibroch of Donald Dhu, The Earl of Mansfield, The Braes of Mar, Pretty Marion. The King’s Welcome to Liverpool, I am a Young Man, Braes o’ Tullymet, The Auld Wife Ayont the Fire. March. My Faithful Fair One. Regimental March. Glendaruel Highlanders.

Mr Gardyne, Greendams supplied bagpipe music at the Strachan School picnic.

At Monymusk Games the judges for piping and dancing were C Duncan, Kintore and J McDonald, Midmar. The results were, March: 1. PM W Cruickshank, 2. R B Nicol, 3.R G Christie. Strathspey and Reel: 1. PM W Cruickshank, 2. R Brown, 3. R B Nicol. Jig: 1. PM W Cruickshank, 2. R Brown, 3. R B Nicol. Medal: PM Cruickshank.

At Tarves Games the results were, March: 1. PM Robertson, Aberdeen,; 2. R A Hendry, Tarves; 3. J Hutchison, Newburgh. Strathspey and Reel: 1. R A Hendry, 2. PM Robertson, 3. J Hutchison. The judges for piping and dancing were Mr Robertson, Aberdeen; Mr Reid, Slains; and Mr Morrice, Tarves.

•Pipe Major Robertson, Aberdeen would be James Robertson, Banff, (1886-1961) Pipe Major of the Gordon Highlanders and composer of Farewell to the Creeks and many other tunes.

At Raemoir picnic and games the results were, Marches: 1. J Patterson, 2. D Reid, 3. P Cruickshank. Strathspey and Reel: 1. P Cruickshank, D Reid, 3. J Patterson.

At Bathgate Games the pipe band contest was won by Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia, with Dalziel second and Gartness third.

Contests for brass bands and pipe bands were held at Cowdenbeath. Details of the competition appeared in advance in the Fife Free Press and the bands entered were listed. There were six brass and five pipe bands. A brass band would play first, followed by a pipe band and so on. Presumably this would give the judges time to write their reports while a band of the other discipline was playing. The contests were confined to bands connected with the collieries of the Fife Coal Company Ltd. The pipe band result was 1. Auchterderran, PM James Herd, £6; 2. Cowdenbeath, PM John Brown, £4;  3. Hill of Beath, PM Robert Hunter, £3; 4. Lochore and Crosshill, £2; 5. Kelty and Blairadam, PM B Hamilton. All the bands competing appeared in the prize lists. The judge for pipe bands was Mr James Russell, Carron, Falkirk. The Judges’ comments were to be published on Wednesday 2nd July in the Kirkcaldy Times.

Arbroath YMCA Tartan Day was held. The Arbroath Highland Pipe Band and Arbroath Instrumental Town Band paraded the streets.

At Scone Highland Gathering Messrs Galloway and McDonald judged the piping. The results were: Piobaireachd: 1. P Wilkie, Dunkeld; 2. R H Duff, Perth; 3. J McPhee, Perth. Marches: 1. P Wilkie, Dunkeld; 2. R Kettles, Dunkeld; 3. J McPhee, Perth.

Polmont War Memorial Pipe Band led the procession at the Polmont Gala Day, with Camelon Pipe Band also taking part.

The Errol Scout pipe band played at the St Madoes Church, Glencarse, garden fete in the grounds of the St Madoes manse.

The Scottish Horse sports were held at Blair Atholl. The results of the piping contest for march, strathspey and reel was 1. Piper Kettles, 2. Piper Miller, 3. Piper Menzies.  During the afternoon the pipe band of the regiment gave appropriate selections.

Harthill Children’s Gala Day was held in very unfavourable weather and the programme was curtailed. Bands in the procession were Bathgate Public Band, Bathgate Pipe Band and Newarthill Pipe Band.

The Wellington Pipe Band played at the Penicuik Gala Day.

•Wellington Reformatory School, Penicuik, was established in 1859 and was the creation of The Edinburgh Association for the Reformation of Juvenile Offenders. It had a flute band in the 1860s and 1870s. By 1890 Pipe Major James Robertson, (1866-1915), formerly Seaforth Highlanders, was employed as Joiner and Pipe Major at the school. In 1908 Robertson moved to Edinburgh and went into business as a bagpipe maker. His son James (1891-1948) PM Royal Scots, continued the bagpipe making business. He played many times during the summer in the Edinburgh Parks as PM 4th/5th Royal Scots.

•James Robertson (1891-1948) PM Royal Scots. 

At Carfin Sports the results were, Juvenile Piping, March: 1. Miss Wilson, Stonehouse; 2. John Richmond, Motherwell; 2. John Grassick. Strathspey and Reel: 1. W Campbell; 2. John Grassick, 3. Miss Wilson.

Open Piping, March:  1. PM Reid, 2. W Bryson, 3. Miss Wilson, 4. McIntyre. Strathspey and Reel: 1. PM Reid; 2. Yardley, 3. McDonald, 4. Miss Wilson.

Amateur Piping. March: 1. J Murray, 2. W Campbell, 3. D Baillie. Strathspey and Reel: 1. W Campbell, 2. J Grassick, 3. Miss Wilson.

•There were three Wilson sisters, Helen born 1903, Mary born 1909, and Sadie born 1914. All were successful in piping competitions. From the results above it is unclear how many, or which, of the sisters were competing that day, as Miss Wilson was a prize winner at juvenile, amateur and open events.

At a concert in Broxburn Miss Wade’s troupe of dancers gave a very artistic item of dances to the accompaniment of the bagpipes by Miss Black, ex-champion lady piper of Scotland and Mr O’Neil. This was Jessie Black from Winchburgh, winner of the Ladies’ competition at Cowal in 1912 and 1913.

In the evening a large audience assembled in the Market Place, Jedburgh to hear a performance by the pipe band of the Hawick ex-Sailors and ex-Soldiers Association.

29th June

The 1st Cadet Battalion Bolton Boys Brigade who were at their annual camp in Bridlington held an impressive Drumhead parade and service at the camp. The 400 boys made a smart appearance as they marched to music played by their bagpipe and bugle bands.

Lanark Scouts, in their in camp at the racecourse held a drumhead service. The New Lanark Boys’ Brigade pipe band led the march.