WO1 Pipe Major Gordon Webster, Sovereign’s Piper (updated)

It is with regret we note the passing of P/M Gordon Webster after a long illness. He was 59. WO1 Pipe Major Webster was Pipe Major of both 1st and 2nd Battalions Scots Guards and had the honour of serving as  9th Sovereign’s Piper to Her Majesty The Queen.

Gordon started piping in Torphican and Bathgate Pipe Band as a youth having been encouraged by his father who loved the pipes. Sadly his father died when Gordon was only 11. Gordon joined the Army aged 15 as a Boy Soldier serving  24 years and on retiral emigrated with his wife Lezlie (Paterson), also a distinguished piper,  to the United States.

In the city of  Concord, New Hampshire, they founded  the New Hampshire School of Scottish Arts and started the NH Pipe Band in the early 2000s. Many of the students from the school filled the ranks and the band continues to flourish under Gordon’s son Campbell, a prizewinning professional grade piper.

Sovereign’s Piper WO1 Pipe Major Gordon Webster

In his time in the Army Gordon travelled extensively. With the Guards he visited many parts of Asia and North America and always had a fund of good stories to tell about his exploits. He was well liked by the pipers who served under him and was particularly successful in his five years playing at Buckingham Palace, Windsor and Balmoral for the Queen.

He was very proud of both his children for their keen interest in Scottish music. Marielle is teaching Highland dancing and fiddle at Lyon College in the US and plays tenor drum with the college band. Campbell is a professional piper, drum major, accomplished snare drummer and fiddler.

The early days of the New Hampshire band….Gordon and a young Campbell

Diagnosed with cancer 2½ years ago, Gordon set about writing a book of memoirs and his daughter is currently editing this for publication at a later date.

A fitting tribute has been issued by Major Gordon Rowan Director of Army Bagpipe Music, Inchdrewer House, Edinburgh. Major Rowan wrote: ‘Myself and the permanent staff and students at the Army School of Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming would like to offer our condolences and heartfelt sympathy to the family of WO1 Pipe Major Gordon Webster of the Scots Guards who passed away yesterday morning.

‘Gordon was the epitome of what an Army piper should aspire to be. Pipe Major of both the 1st and 2nd Battalion Scots Guards, and subsequently piper to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, who was very fond of him indeed. In his latter years, Gordon resided in New Hampshire where he and his beloved Lezlie taught hundreds of people the music of the great Highland bagpipe.

‘Sleep well Gordon; we will miss you, and every single student who passes out of this school will continue to know your name.’