PP Ed's Blog: WW2 Pipes/ Piobaireachd Society Conference/ CoP Lecture

A couple of weeks ago we highlighted a request from RSPBA Vice Chairman John Hughes for information about a set of pipes presented to his uncle, PoW William Chisholm, during WW2. The pipes had a plaque on them which indicated they may have arrived in Germany via the Piobaireachd Society. We asked if any other readers had similar sets.

Iain Duncan

I was pleased to hear from Iain Duncan, the former archivist for the RSPBA, and son of Archie Duncan the Kintyre composer. Iain wrote: ‘I have a wartime set of bagpipes in my possession which I played intermittently before and during my time with the Glasgow Skye Association Pipe Band.  They were manufactured by J&R Glen, Edinburgh, according to the bass drone top tuning slide.
‘They are made from cocus wood with good solid sounding drones with EPNS ferrules on the drone joints and stocks.  The bell top of each drone is dressed with a ferrule of the plastic of the time and the ‘projecting mounts’, which were small and just a token to decoration, were turned within the one block of wood.

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‘The ferrule on the bass drone stock carries an engraving: ‘FROM THE ASSOCIATION OF HIGHLAND SOCIETIES OF EDINBURGH (1939)’.  An uncle of mine, namely John McShannon, who was a PoW in Germany, was the recipient of these pipes through the Red Cross and brought them back home to Campbeltown on his release after the war. They have been in the family ever since.
‘Around 1966, by which time I had moved to Glasgow, I had imitation ivory projecting mounts fitted by Grainger & Campbell (at a ridiculously low cost) which greatly enhanced the overall appearance of the pipes. Hope this snippet is of interest.’
It certainly was and I asked Iain if he could supply some pictures. He kindly agreed to do so even removing the engraved ferrule for photographing. Here it is:And the pipes:

The set of pipes sent to Iain’s uncle John MacShannon in 1939. Is this John MacShannon related to Ronald MacShannon the senior adjudicator and co-proprietor of the successful Pipe Dreams reads-making business?

Thanks to Iain for that and if any other reader has a similar set of pipes we’d be delighted to hear from you. Read the original story here.

Talking of the Piob Soc, they have announced their 2018 conference agenda: Presentation from Competing Pipers Association – Glenn Brown and pipers; Beyond the Performer Audience through Progressive Programming  – John Mulhearn; Descent and evolution in Ceòl Mòr – reflections – Hugh Cheape, Decker Forrest; Entertainment by students from Royal Conservatoire of Scotland; Set Tunes demonstration. Click on the display ad above or get more details here.

The night before the conference the College of Piping will stage their annual lecture. This year the subject will be the 51st Highland Division in WW1. The speaker is historian Colin Campbell. Presumably the talk will be a draw together of the excellent papers Mr Campbell (left) gave for the Scottish Pipers’ Association’s WW1 project of a couple of years ago, some excerpts of which were carried in PP.  Mr Campbell has published a book on the subject entitled ‘Engine of Destruction – The 51st Highland Division in the Great War’. The book is obtainable here. This will be a fascinating lecture delivered by an expert in the field.

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1 thought on “PP Ed's Blog: WW2 Pipes/ Piobaireachd Society Conference/ CoP Lecture

  1. Hi, I have a set of Lawrie bagpipes with the engraving: ‘THE GIRT OF THE ASSOCIATION OF HIGHLAND SOCIETIES OF EDINBURGH 1939″. I wonder if these are WW2 Bagpipes as well. I have seen another set with the same engraving on the Chanter Stock, which were Lawrie bagpipes as well. I wonder why this association had these sets of pipes made and all in the same year?

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