P/M Iain McLeod, Edinburgh City Police Pipe Band

It is with regret that we report the death of P/M Iain McLeod, World Championship winning pipe major of the Edinburgh City Police Pipe Band.

P/M McLeod, passed away last night.  He had been in hospital until recently as a result of breaking his hip following a fall at home.

It is understood that Iain’s funeral will be private to family and close friends but the family want to arrange some form of celebration of Iain’s life for later in the year.

Iain was an outstanding pipe major taking the Edinburgh Police to their greatest ever series of victories. He was also an accomplished solo performer of ceol beag winning many of the top awards in this discipline. He eschewed the judging of pipe bands but until a few years ago was active as a commentator and as a judge of solo piping. After police service he went into business with the Gillanders firm of bagpipe makers forming Gillanders and MacLeod.

P/M McLeod playing in Princes Street Gardens in 1974

The Edinburgh Police band begun as a military band in 1882. Its origins can be traced to the early 1880s when the idea of band was discussed at a meeting of the Lord Provost’s Committee of the town council. In February 1882 it was recommended that a pipe band should be formed making it one of the oldest in the world. A concert at the Waverley Market on Saturday June 2 1883 is the earliest record of a public performance. The band  took part in a victory parade in Princes Street at the end of the Second World War  and were inspected by Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The band went on to win seven world championships, with famous pipe majors including P/M MacLeod, John D. Burgess and Donald Shaw Ramsay.  During its glory years between 1950 and 1975, the band won seven World Championships, five under P/M MacLeod.



A couple of years ago P/M MacLeod, the greatest ever pipe major in the history of the band, spoke for the first time about the demise of the band he led to so many World Championship titles. P/M MacLeod said: ‘I have been greatly saddened in recent years to witness the decline of the Lothian & Borders Police Pipe Band, formerly the Edinburgh City Police Pipe Band. It seems incredible that this once proud, respected, highly successful and renowned band, having survived throughout years of the austerity of two world wars, has now been allowed to decline to the point of extinction.

‘I would hope that Edinburgh City Council and the Scottish Police Service now take steps to ensure that the pipe band’s achievements and its role in promoting both the city and its police service over 131 years; are now formally recognised by way of a permanent record in the history and archives of the city.’

Sincere condolences to Iain’s family at this time. Iain is pictured top second left with his fellow World Championship winning Pipe Majors, RT Shepherd, Dysart & Dundonald, Tom McAllister, Shotts & Dykehead and Ian McLellan, Strathclyde Police.


4 thoughts on “P/M Iain McLeod, Edinburgh City Police Pipe Band”

  1. He was a friend and inspiration to me when I was a boy with Bilston Glen. Very sad news.

  2. I was a great fan of Edinburgh City Police pipe band in the 60’s and 70’s. The unique memory I have of Iain McLeod was of him tuning drones while the whole band was playing, by ear – this was decades before tuning meters existed!

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