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Pipe Band History

There is a long tradition of piping and Pipe Bands in Scouting within Greenock District almost from the beginnings of Scouting. This tradition continues today with the current Leapmoor Scout Pipe Band. The formation of the Band resulted from a chance meeting and conversation, at Everton Scout Camp in early 1999, between David Storey (73rd) Graham Hyatt (85th) and Campbell Cairns (5th) about previous Scout Pipe Bands. From that discussion moves were made to form the Leapmoor Pipe Band. The Band struggled at first to progress beyond 3 or 4 pipers but in 2004 all that changed with a successful Lottery application for pipes and drums and, as a result, band members increased dramatically particularly from the 5th Renfrew & Inverclyde Scout Troop. The history of the 5th Scout Troop’s involvement with the Band continues to this day.

Leapmoor Band made its first formal appearance leading the Armistice Day Parade, at Inverclyde Council’s request, to the war memorial at the Wellpark in November 2005. Many of the pipers and drummers had only been playing for 6 months. Douglas Warnock provides drum instruction and continues to provide enormous help to the band at present in keeping us right in pipe band etiquette and format.  The Band has continued to play at District and Scottish events and has a busy schedule this year as part of the Scout Centenary Pipe Band.

Playing band members are currently David Storey, Michael Oakley, Kieran McGarritty, Calum Robb, Douglas McIntyre, Michael Sloan, Andy McDougall, Jonny King and Campbell Cairns all pipers,  Marie-Clare Davidson bass drum, Thomas Fairhurst and Scott Williamson side drummers and Iain Dobbin tenor drum. The Band can also call on Dean Dickson side drummer and Fraser Williamson tenor drummer if required.

The oldest Scout Troop in Greenock (5th Renfrew & Inverclyde) formed a Pipe Band in 1910. Their first outing was at the first District Inspection in the Battery Park Greenock in the same year. In 1913, the Band entered its first Pipe Band competition and came third in the Glasgow New’s Pipe Band Competition .The Band won the World Championship for Scout Pipe Bands at the first Scout World Jamboree held at the Olympia Stadium in London 1920 and were granted the right by George V to be the only Scout Troop to be allowed to tie a knot in their neckies rather than wear a woggle. Pipe Major Richardson of the Highland Light Infantry was in charge of the Band. They went on to win many Honours in the 1920’s including the Caird Shield 1925, Renfrewshire Champions 1925, the Miller Shield 1926, the Trades Cup 1926, the Telegraph Challenge Trophy 1927, Third in the Open Championship in 1927 and second in the Open Championship in 1930. The Band gave many Scouts the opportunity to learn piping and drumming and former members have fond memories of the Band. The Band had some set backs in the coming years but continued as part of the Troop until 1953 when national service took its toll on the Band. The remaining members of the Band continued to play in the recently formed Greenock District Scout Association’s Dunrod Scout Pipe Band.

In 1928 The 22nd Renfrewshire Scout Troop formed its own Pipe Band under the guidance of Pipe Major Sandy Brown. The Band consisted of nine pipers, a bass drummer and 3 side drummers. The Band’s first outing was a Group Parade to Wellpark Parish Church. One of the pipers, Donald Cameron went on to become Pipe Major of the Regimental Pipes and Drums of the Rhodesia Regiment. The Band continued until 1933 when the Troop ceased to function but the Cub Pack continued.

At the request of the then District Commissioner J.J. Swan, the Greenock Scout Association’s Corlic Pipe Band was formed in 1946 under the guidance of Pipe Major Alex McKay. The Band had a long history of playing for the District at events throughout the years and in arranging scout camps and trips to foreign countries for band members. Some of their camps included Zedelgeium Belgium 1965, Tiegem Belgium 1967 and 1969, Scarborough 1972 and Sherwood Forest Nottingham 1974. Many members of the Band are still involved in Scouting today. Ian Canning, Robert Lynch and Alec Lynch to name just a few. Alex Mackay continued as Pipe Major for 30 years and was presented with a pewter tankard to commemorate this achievement on the 1st. April 1976. Pat Clark then officially took on the role of Pipe Major. The Band under Pat entered many Pipe Band Competitions and won several in their Grade at the Cowal Games, Gourock Highland Games, World, European and British Championships. The Band became Greenock District Scout Pipe Band in 1972 after the Dunrod Scout Pipe Band folded. Pat and his sons are all very accomplished pipers and continue to play in pipe bands today with Johnstone Burgh Pipe Band. The Band continued on until 1982. The Band had the atmosphere of a large family about it and was a very open and friendly outfit which welcomed all who wished to learn drumming and piping. The Band provided many fond memories for its participants and families. Many band members have continued playing with other Bands.

Also at the request of  J.J. Swan, The Greenock Scout Association Dunrod Pipe Band was formed in 1946 under the guidance of Pipe Major Donald Balloch . The Band was soon up and running and playing at District events. In 1953, band numbers increased as a result of the 5th. Scout Pipe Band ceasing to function and its members moving to Dunrod. Pipe Major William Meldrum took over from Mr Balloch in the late 1950,s and encouraged the Band to enter Pipe Band Competitions. They represented themselves well at the various Championships. In 1964 the band split and very nearly folded. The majority of the pipers and drummers left and formed the Greenock Burgh Pipe Band under Pipe Major William Meldrum. Those that were left got on with the reconstruction of the band. Gavin Hart and Douglas Russell played a major role in this. Mr Balloch also continued to help with piping instruction until the late 1960,s. Many of the pre 1964 band continue to live locally and include Isaac Park, Alec Buchanan and Hugh C White.

The Band continued to play under Douglas Russell as Pipe Major. Some of today’s Scout Leaders played in the Band i.e. Kenny Wilson and Campbell Cairns. A lot of the ex band members still live locally in Inverclyde. The band folded in the early 1970’s because of lack of band members. The Band brought Scouts of all Troops together and was really good fun to be part of.

Below is a photograph of the 5th Scout’s Pipe band circa 1920.

Click on to it and view a selectin of old photographs.



Comment from Douglas Crumlish
Time April 26, 2007 at 7:39 am

I agree with the last sentence. I also played side drum in the band with Kenny and Campbell. Kenny played the big drum and Campbell the pipes. Roddy Galbraith was Drum Major and Douglas Russell was Pipe Major. Others included Ian Cowe, John Newbiggin, Ian Cairns, Sandy Gillon and more whose names I can’t recall. I’ve just retired as an ASL with 53rd Ayrshire (Largs).

Comment from aad boode
Time September 1, 2007 at 3:04 pm

Do you know when P/M’s Richardson and Cameron were P/M of the HLI and the Rhodesia Regiment respectively (year from/to) and which Battalions?

Comment from Stuart Herron
Time June 11, 2008 at 8:24 pm

I believe that the Donald Balloch mentioned was my grandfather, who was a great piper and lived in Greenock.
His father ( my GGF) John Balloch was also a Pipe Major who wrote several tunes which are still popular today.
These include: Auchmountain’s Bonnies Glen, 25 KOSBs Farewell to Meerut.
Stuart Herron

Comment from Hugh Cameron White
Time October 6, 2008 at 12:23 pm

Re the comment from Aad Boode my uncle Donald Cameron(ex 22nd Pipe Band ) was Pipe Major of the Rhodesia Regiment during the 1939/1945 war . It was the Reimental Pipes and Drums which included all of the batallions in the regiment.
I was Leading Drummer in the Dunrod Pipe Band from 1960 – 1964 when the late Willie Meldrum was Pipe Major . I also knew Pipe Major Donald Balloch very well and one of the 2/4 marches in our repetoir was composed by his father Pipe Major John Balloch that being Auchmountain’s Bonnie Glen.

Comment from Hugh Cameron White
Time October 6, 2008 at 12:33 pm

When I was Leading Drummer with the Dunrod Pipe Band we still used a tenor drum and on occasions a bass drum both rope tension emblazoned as follows:-

5th Renfrewshire – World Champions London 1922

Does anyone know what happened to those two interesting antiques which then were in splendid condition.

Also our Drum Major Bobbie MacKay still used the old 5th Renfrewshire Mace as was seen in all of the old photos of the 5th Pipe Band . Bobbie competed in many Drum Major Competitions with considerable success

Comment from aad boode
Time December 14, 2008 at 5:35 pm

Re comment from Hugh Cameron White of 6 October. Before WW2 the Rhodesia Regiment had a Pipe Band in each of the 1st and 2nd Battalions, so possibly it was just during the war years that they had a Regimental Pipe Band. Do you know from/to which year he was P/M of the RR? I would also like to know his year and place of birth.
I am compiling a list of P/M’s of military pipe bands worldwide and have at the moment details of over 1200 P/M’s.

Comment from Ian McCarn
Time August 21, 2010 at 8:00 pm

I remember turning up fresh-faced as a 13 year old at St. Mary’s Church Hall in 1968 to learn the pipes, and being blown away by the sheer power of the Corlic Pipe Band inside that wee hall. Unfortunately my skill on the chanter, then the side drum followed by the bass drum was woefull, but I still got to go to Tiegem in 1969 to play in Brussels. (even though I was told to march at the back and pretend to hit it!)
It was a fantastic time. I can still remember the tents, the Menin Gate, the march into Tiegem and even the tunes on the juke box in a wee cafe there.
A big thank you to all the organisers for some great memories.

Comment from sandy Ferguson
Time September 17, 2013 at 9:44 am

My Grandfather Sandy Brown was Pipe Major of the 22nd in 1928. I know he was Pipe Major of two bands during the years and would loke to know wich other band it was.
I know it must have been noisy as both bands at times practiced in the top tenement flat at 112 Holmscroft Street where they lived then.

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