Hugh ‘Baggy’ MacMillan/ Duncan MacDiarmid/ Side Lights Review

We regret to have to report the passing of London stalwart Hugh ‘Baggy’ MacMillan and of Duncan MacDiarmid, of the Atholl Highlanders.

On Hugh, Roddy Livingstone of the Scottish Piping Society of London has sent this: ‘Former SPSL President Hugh ‘Baggy’ MacMillan passed away after a short illness in Croydon University Hospital in the early hours of Wednesday 7th September.

‘He was born into a piping family, his father Malcolm (the original ‘Baggy’) having served in the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards during the inter-war years.  It was therefore not unsurprising that Hugh came under the piping influences of some of the best London-based pipers of the day during his boyhood: his father (a renowned March, Strathspey and Reel player), Pipe Major William (Jock) Speedy, and Highland Society of London Gold Medallists Peter Bain and J B Robertson.
Hugh MacMillan
Hugh MacMillan

‘Hugh recalled how his father and J B Robertson were near neighbours in the post-war years in Warwick Square, London, and how they would argue vehemently over styles of playing light music to the point of not speaking for days until one or the other relented!

‘Hugh himself served as a piper with the Scots Guards for several years as a young man before his working life took him to Australia until retirement.
‘Upon his return to the United Kingdom, he once more became actively involved with the SPSL serving for a period as the society’s president.  Despite increasing health problems, he remained an active participant in SPSL activities, never missing an annual competition and getting to as many Pipers Clubs as his caring responsibilities for his partner, Rosemary, would allow. Even as recently as a couple of years ago he was assisting with tuition on behalf of the society.

‘Baggy’s funeral will take place at the Surrey and Sussex Crematorium, Balcombe Road, Crawley, West Sussex RH10 3NQ at 3pm on Monday 26th September.’

Duncan in his competing days
Duncan in his competing days

Duncan MacDiarmid of Aberfeldy had been ill for some time and passed away on September 9. He was 86. Whilst at Merchiston School in Edinburgh post WW2 he learned to pipe from P/M Hance Gates of the Edinburgh City Police Pipe Band and later took piobaireachd from Bob Brown at Balmoral. He played to a high level, competing professionally round the games in his younger day.

A highly successful farmer and landowner, Duncan retained his enthusiasm for piping throughout his life joining the Atholl Highlanders Pipe Band where he became band President on retiring from playing. He played a leading role in judging and organising piping events at Highland games in his native Perthshire.

s-lA review by Andrew Wright of the new combined edition of Side Lights on the Kilberry Book of Ceol Mor is published today. It begins: ‘First released in two volumes  in 1984 and 1986, this new, high quality combined edition comprises all of the original material plus information on a further ten pieces giving a total of 60 tunes with detailed notes of instruction pursued and received by Archibald Campbell of Kilberry from 1900 -1911…..’

Read the full article here.