Passing of P/M Sandy Hain, Black Watch, 1928 -2018

It is with regret that we report the death of Sandy Hain formerly of the Black Watch. Sandy was aged 89 and had been in ill health for the past few weeks. His funeral will take place in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, and he will be interred beside his second wife in the family mausoleum in that city. Sandy was formerly from Leslie in Fife and was from a family of eight sisters and brothers.

After Army service Sandy emigrated to the US in 1958 and started a company called Gaelic Imports specialising in Scots, Irish and Welsh products including pipes and accessories. Later he diversified into a bakery making Scotch pies, bridies, soda bread etc.

He started a pipe band, Red Hackle Pipes & Drums, and in later life devoted himself to teaching. He was a superb teacher and attracted many students from the greater Cleveland area. He was dedicated to passing on his considerable knowledge and experience.

Sandy’s memory is safe. He was the composer of the popular jig Donald MacKillop, now better known, erroneously, as Duncan MacKillop. The eponymous Donald was from Wick and a piper in the Black Watch through WW2.

Sandy Hain’s P/M Certificate signed by JP Grant, Rothiemurchus

Sandy ‘did the course’ with Willie Ross 1950 -51 along with Bob Crabb (Scots Guards), Peter Forbes (Dundee) and George Johnstone of the Camerons, composer of another well-known jig, Donella Beaton. Sandy was appointed Pipe Major of the Depot Black Watch band based in Perth and later of the 2nd Bn. Black Watch, a post that he held until the battalion was disbanded in 1957.

The tune Donald MacKillop was picked up by pipe majors John Weatherston (Red Hackle Pipe Band) and Bob Hardie (Muirheads) when they were judging at the Highland Brigade Games at Dunblane in the early 50s where Sandy got all the firsts (see picture top). The tune duly appeared on Red Hackle and Muirheads LPs called ‘Duncan MacKillop’.

This picture (above) is of the pipers on the 1950 -51 course. They are: L/Cpl George Johnstone, Cameron Highlanders; Cpl. Sandy Hain, Black Watch; Cpl. T. Shearer, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders; Cpl. Peter Forbes, Highland Light Infantry; P/M Bob Crabb, Scots Guards; Bobby Cuthbertson (the dancer, who taught the course Highland dancing); Cpl. G. Symon, Gordon Highlanders; and L/Sgt. Ramsay, Irish Guards.

Read Sandy’s stories of his time with Willie Ross here. Our thoughts are with his daughter Anne and his three surviving brothers.