World Pipe Band Championships – Grade 1 Prizewinners over the Years

rspba-logoMost readers will be aware of the winners of the World Pipe Band Championship over the years. Indeed many of you will be able to reel off the names of those bands who’ve made it to the number one position and maybe even the year(s) in which they did it.

However how many can remember all the great bands who ‘only’ got  second? Not a lot we think. Yet the effort and ability of these outfits on the given day should not be in question. They were, perhaps, just a little unlucky during their performance or on who was judging or in having their slightly weaker set chosen from the bag.

We thought it would be interesting to publish a list of some of the results from the recent past to see if it jogged a few memories or re-kindled some pride among those who – to use a footballing metaphor – ‘hit the crossbar’.

Pictured up top are Power of Scotland under P/M Harry McNulty, twice runners-up at the Worlds. The front rank features Tom Johnstone, Ronnie MacShannon and P/Sgt Jimmy Liddell. Behind Jimmy is P/M Joe Wilson.

The highly coveted Grade One title remained in Scotland until 1987 when the Canadian 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band became the first overseas band to win the award. It has subsequently travelled to Canada a further six times with Simon Fraser University, Northern Ireland 10 times with Field Marshal Montgomery, Australia with the Victoria Police Pipe Band in 1998, and the Republic of Ireland with St. Laurence O’Toole in 2010.

The most successful pipe bands in the competition remain the Strathclyde Police (known as City of Glasgow Police Pipe Band from 1912 to 1975) winning 20 times, and  Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia winning 16 times.

Other multiple World Champions include Muirhead & Sons (eight times), the Clan MacRae Society Pipe Band (eight times), and the Edinburgh Police Pipe Band (including Lothian & Borders’ win in 1975, eight times).

2015
1 Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia
2 St. Laurence O’Toole
3 Inveraray & District

2014
Inveraray prove they are a serious force to be reckoned with on the biggest stage of all.
1 Field Marshal Montgomery
2 Inveraray & District
3 St. Laurence O’Toole

2013
A great performance from Boghall and P/M Ross Walker. They may have been seven points behind FMM but were a clear ten in front of the Power.
1 Field Marshal Montgomery
2 Boghall & Bathgate
3 Scottish Power

2012
This was to be SFU P/M Terry Lee’s last big prize at the Worlds after a career most pipe majors would die for. Six Worlds wins – what a legacy he has left Western Canada.
1 Field Marshal Montgomery
2 Scottish Power
3 Simon Fraser University

2011
1 Field Marshal Montgomery
2 Simon Fraser University
3 Scottish Power

2010
P/M Terry Tully, after a lifetime of effort, finally sees all his hard work and talent realised when SLoT at last made it to No1.
1 St. Laurence O’Toole
2 Field Marshal Montgomery
3 Simon Fraser University

2009
1 Simon Fraser University
2 Field Marshal Montgomery
3 St. Laurence O’Toole

2008
1 Simon Fraser University
2 Field Marshal Montgomery
3 Shotts & Dykehead

2007
1 Field Marshal Montgomery
2 Simon Fraser University
3 Shotts & Dykehead

2006
1 Field Marshal Montgomery
2 Simon Fraser University
3 Shotts & Dykehead

2005
1 Shotts & Dykehead
2 Field Marshal Montgomery
3 Simon Fraser University


2004
1 Field Marshal Montgomery
2 Simon Fraser University
3 Shotts & Dykehead

2003
1 Shotts & Dykehead
2 Field Marshal Montgomery
3 Simon Fraser University

2002
1 Field Marshal Montgomery
2 Simon Fraser University
3 Shotts & Dykehead

2001
1 Simon Fraser University
2 Shotts & Dykehead
3 Field Marshal Montgomery

2000
1 Shotts & Dykehead
2 Field Marshal Montgomery
3 Simon Fraser University

1999
1 Simon Fraser University
2 Shotts & Dykehead
3 Field Marshal Montgomery

Still talked about....P/M Nat Russell and Vic Police
Still talked about….P/M Nat Russell and Vic Police

1998
Brilliant performance from Nat Russell and his team at Vic Police, getting their just deserts after disappointment the previous year.
1 Victoria Police
2 Shotts & Dykehead
3 Field Marshal Montgomery

1997
1 Shotts & Dykehead
2 Simon Fraser University
3 Victoria Police

1996
1 Simon Fraser University
2 Field Marshal Montgomery
3 Shotts & Dykehead

1995
1 Simon Fraser University
2 Field Marshal Montgomery
3 Shotts & Dykehead

1994
Robert Mathieson’s first big win at Shotts a band restored to their former glory under his and L/D Jim Kilpatrick’s guidance. Second yet again for Ross Walker.
1 Shotts & Dykehead
2 Boghall & Bathgate
3 Victoria Police

1993
1 Field Marshal Montgomery
2 Shotts & Dykehead
3 Boghall & Bathgate

1992
Oh, oh. Who are these cheeky chappies from across the water? But no mistake, a major force had arrived on these shores from Northern Ireland and yes, the rest is history.
1 Field Marshal Montgomery
2 Strathclyde Police
3 Victoria Police

1991
Davy Barnes’ Polkemmet pushed ‘the polis’ all the way with their innovative ensemble arrangements.
1 Strathclyde Police
2 Polkemmet Grorud
3 Power of Scotland

boggies-feat-im
Boghall & Bathgate under P/M Ross Walker

1990
We easily forget the success P/M Harry McNulty brought to Scottish Power in his years in charge there where he won the Scottish Championships twice, Cowal, and runner up at the Worlds twice.
1 Strathclyde Police
2 Power of Scotland
3 ScotRail Vale of Atholl

1989
And look at the Vale. Two thirds in a row for P/M Ian Duncan with a band largely recruited locally with many pipers taught by the man himself. All things considered a remarkable achievement for a band that was never frightened of pushing the boundaries.
1 Strathclyde Police
2 Power of Scotland
3 ScotRail Vale of Atholl

P/M Ian Duncan leading the Vale
P/M Ian Duncan leading the Vale

1988
1 Strathclyde Police
2 Simon Fraser University
3 78th Fraser Highlanders

1987
1 78th Fraser Highlanders
2 Simon Fraser University
3 Strathclyde Police

1986
A fantastic six in a row for P/M Ian McLellan and L/D Alex Connell and their band. 78ths threatening…
1 Strathclyde Police
2 78th Fraser Highlanders
3 Boghall & Bathgate

1985
P/M Johnny Barnes had a great band at Polkemmet but Robert Mathieson turned them into an innovative and exciting outfit to listen to. Third at the Worlds made everyone take them seriously.
1 Strathclyde Police
2 Simon Fraser University
3 Polkemmet Grorud

1984
Rumblings from across the pond as the Frasers assert themselves.
1 Strathclyde Police
2 Shotts & Dykehead
3 78th Fraser Highlanders

1983
Yet again the Boggies push the police all the way. In any other era mightn’t they have taken the coveted title?
1 Strathclyde Police
2 Boghall & Bathgate
3 Shotts & Dykehead

1982
The last major prize for P/M RT Shepherd MBE twice winner of the Worlds in the 70s and a man who has done so much for the pipe band movement.
1 Strathclyde Police
2 Boghall & Bathgate
3 Dysart and Dundonald

1981
Here on in there was no holding Strathclyde Police.
1 Strathclyde Police
2 Shotts & Dykehead
3 Boghall & Bathgate

1980
1 Shotts & Dykehead
2 Strathclyde Police
3 Polkemmet Colliery

For other years going back to the start of the RSPBA’s World Championship in 1947, click here. If you have any memories or photographs of the Worlds you’d like to share please email pipingpress@gmail.com.


3 thoughts on “World Pipe Band Championships – Grade 1 Prizewinners over the Years”

  1. Not too sure why the number of wins for ECP/L&B are usually shown incorrectly, but for the record – 7 wins as Edinburgh City – 1919,1950, 1954, 1963,1964, 1971 & 1972, then another win in 1975 as the newly formed Lothian & Borders Police. Eight in total. 🙂

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