Looking Back: Eagle Pipers and John MacLellan/ Iain MacFadyen at Lochearnhead/ Eagles Results 1973

The following interesting reports are from the Oban Times, circa 1961….

Congratulations ….. The unique recognition accorded to Pipe Major John MacLellan in his commissioning as the first ever officer piper in the Army has given immense pleasure to all lovers of piping as well as to a host of friends both here as well and overseas.

The announcement that he had been granted Queen’s Commission in the rank of Lieutenant was made officially by Lt. General Sir Derek Lang, C in C, Scottish Command, at a little ceremony on March 11.

As chief instructor since 1959 of the Army School of Piping at Edinburgh Castle, Pipe Major MacLellan has been the only piper to hold, as a piper, the rank of Warrant Officer Class I, the equivalent of Regimental Sergeant Major. This unique distinction is now superseded by another one, since in the new commissioned appointment of Director of Piping he is the first officer piper in the Army.

Plenty of officers have been pipers, but no piper before has been an officer as a piper in a piping appointment. His new honour is particularly appreciated in the Eagle Pipers’ Society which he helped to found and which he served both as President and Hon. Secretary. It was suggested at the Society’s meeting in the West End Hotel last week (March 13) that a letter of congratulation should be sent to him.

There was a big turnout at the meeting, and it was apparent from the number of members who came kilted and armed with pipes that the efforts to that end of Mr John Gubbins, this year’s Chairman and Pipe Major, are bearing fruit.

Mr Gubbins was fear an tighe last week and he took part in the evening’s piping along with John Kerr, Pat Sandeman, T Slattery, 1st Scots Guards, P/M Robert Atkinson, Hugh Macrae, Calum MacPhee, Pipe Major George Stoddart, Pipe Major ‘Danny’ Bryce, and Captain Iain C Cameron who gave us the piobaireachd, Lament for MacSwan of Roaig. Visitors included Miss D McNulty, Donegal, Mr P Smith, Windsor, Mr Norman Cubbins, Stornoway, and eight pipers of the Scots Guards. April 20 has been fixed for the Society’s annual visit to the Atholl Highlanders at Blair Atholl.

From the same newspaper, August….‘Piping in the Rain’: The great Highland bagpipe, temperamental at all times, and especially in a downpour, behaved with commendable musical charm at Lochearnhead last Saturday – charm enough to let Iain MacFadyen of the well-known Mull family of pipers, carry off all the trophies in the piping contests.

Despite the fact that he hates piping in the rain, his nimble fingering overcame all difficulties. ‘Some people don’t mind playing in the rain, but I do,’ he said after the contest. ‘The pipes get all gummed up and, och, sound terrible.’

Iain MacFadyen competing in the late 1950s

But the judges had a different thought. They awarded him firsts in the march, the strathspey and reel and the piobaireachd sections. The drizzle did not dampen the pipers’ spirits and a high standard was maintained in all sections of the piping contest.

Glasgow City Police Pipe Band cheered up the soaking spectators with a fine display, but they took the precaution of protecting their fine Royal Stewart tartan with cloaks.

Eagle Pipers Annual Competition Results, Royal Arch Halls, 17th November, 1973:

Piobaireachd Class 1
1 Andrew Wright
2 James McIntosh
3 John MacDougall
4 John Burgess

Piobaireachd Class 2
1 Arthur Gillies
2 Tom Speirs
3 Ian Clowe
4 William Morrison

The late Hugh MacInnes, winner of the March at the 1973 Eagles, testing pipes in RG Lawrie’s Glasgow factory in the 1970s. In background is Arthur Lawrie the proprietor

1 Hugh MacInnes
2 John Burgess
3 James Young
4 James McGregor

Strathspey & Reel
1 John MacDougall
2 Ian Clowe
3 William Morrison
4 Colin Drummond

Hornpipe & Jig
1 William Morrison
2 Hugh MacInnes
3 John Burgess
4 James Young

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