PP Ed’s Blog: John Cruickshank VC/ SPA/ Juvenile bands: 214 BB, Lochore, Kiwanis

It is hoped that the presentation of the tune for John Cruickshank VC will take place at a lunch in May and that the winner Dave Mason will be able to attend from the US to play it for him.

The promoters, the Royal Northern and University Club, Aberdeen, are planning to present Mr Cruickshank and the winner with a memorial plaque to mark the occasion.

Mr Cruickshank (98) does not have a computer but the club have given him print outs of the stories on Piping Press and played him a recording of the winning tune. He is said to be both humbled and thrilled in equal measure.

We have now received a recording of the third placd tune by John Dew:

And the music:

Second placed tune from P/M Gordon Walker to follow. Listen to the winning tune here.



Scottish Pipers’ Association President Tom Johnstone: Our next ‘Club Night’ and Annual General Meeting will be on Friday 8th February – usual time and place (NPC Otago St.,  Kelvinbridge, Glasgow).

Please note – not Friday 1st February on this occasion. Thereafter, as usual our meetings are first Friday of each month at 7.30pm.

Members only may attend the actual AGM, but non-members wishing to attend can join on the night and therefore attend or just attend the ‘club night’.

We have several events on the horizon :
Saturday 30th March – Annual Adult Amateur and Veterans Contest
Saturday 6th April – First Heat in the famous SPA ‘Knockout Series’
Saturday 13th April – Annual Professional Contest
Saturday 4th May – Second Heat of the KO
Saturday 7th September – Annual Juvenile Contest
Details and entry forms in due course.


Hector Russell on the 214 BB picture up top: The image includes vintage 214BB pipe band ‘royalty’. This group were the first 214 team to win the Worlds in 1953.

These were the reprobates who welcomed me on to the band scene in Gordon Park church in Whiteinch. This was before I had joined the BB but was under quite advanced tuition from Alex Ibell and John Finlay. 

Pipe Major Ian McLellan BEM gave us the names on your recent blog showing the Cowal programme: In the photograph from left to right, back row:  Jimmy Paterson, Robert Little, Jimmy Wright, Alex Clapperton, Hugh Davidson.

Front row: Alex MacIver, Davie McRoberts, George Hunter, Ronnie Kinloch, Hamish McMurchy, John McCarron, Rab Wallace, Ian McLellan, Alex Ibell (non-playing tutor).

It’s not the clearest of photographs but I hope I’ve got them right. As you can see we only had eight pipers including P/M Alex MacIver, plus three snare drummers, a tenor drummer and a bass.

A bit thin on the ground if you had any call offs. Not bad for a wee band that won the World’s that year (1953 in Edinburgh).

You will know Robert, although others may be confused, the Rab Wallace identified is not you.

Incidentally the first time the 214 won at Cowal was 1955 and proved it was no fluke by completing the hat trick with wins in 1956 and 1957.

Lochore won in 1958. The 214 won in 1959, 1960, 1961,1962, 1963 and 1964 so securing sixsuccessive Cowal wins.

Lochore Juveniles in 1954

Knightswood Juveniles won in 1965, 1966, and 1967. The 214 won in 1968 and 1969. 1970 saw the first overseas win at Cowal by the Vancouver Kiwanis.

1971 winners were Knightswood. 1972 at Cowal saw the last Championship win by the 214, although the band still competed successfully into the mid seventies.

1970….Vancouver Kiwanis Boys band, winners at Cowal

I have the complete record of all winners of the Juvenile grade at Cowal from 1907, when the competition began, through to 1972.

I also have a significant schedule of all juvenile Major Championship winners from 1952 to 2013 whereafter my attention has wandered. I am missing less than a handful of Championship results.


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