P/M Tony Crease, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards

The death has been announced of P/M Tony Crease, the man who, almost 50 years ago, led the Pipes & Drums of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards to the top of the hit parade with Amazing Grace. Tony is pictured above with the Gold Disc he received when his band’s recording hit the No.1 spot.

Tony passed away peacefully at his home in Yorkshire yesterday, 4th January 2021, after an illness. He was 73. He leaves behind his wife Sophie.

Tony took over the Pipe Majorship of the band from P/M Jimmy Pryde following the amalgamation of the Royal Scots Greys and 3rd Carabiniers in 1971, to form The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, and served as Pipe Major from 1972-1978.

It was his idea to have the pipes and drums and the RSDG military band record the tune and he approached the bandmaster to ask if he could make a suitable arrangement that would accommodate the pipes.

The track was to be included in an album of military music to mark the amalgamtion of the two regiments. It was subsequently chosen as the main publicity track.

This led to surprise airplays on the radio which led to an astonshing response from the record buying public. At one time it was out-selling its nearest rival by 10,000 copies per day and ended up with Tony leading the Pipes & Drums to stardom in 1972 with the chart topping tune.

In doing so he exposed bagpipe music to the wider public and in a direction that paved the way for many others groups and bands to follow. The success put the RSDG regiment on the map and in Army cicles it is believed helped to ease the pain of amalgamation of the Greys and the Caribiniers.

After his stint as Pipe Major Tony went on to serve the Regiment in many key appointments including as the Regimental Sergeant Major and latterly Quartermaster.

In recent years he worked looking after the training estate at Catterick Garrison in Yorkshire which included Foxglove Covert Local Nature Reserve, winning many accolades for his work.

Foxglove, on the eastern edge of the Yorkshire Dales, flourishes as a nature reserve today. The reserve was created in 1992 by Tony and the RSDG who had just returned from the First Gulf War.

Here is the record of Amazing Grace played by the RSDG with Tony Crease playing the solo:

Pipe Major Ben J. Duncan, The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Pipes & Drums, said of his predecessor: ‘Tony was an influential man who laid down the foundations of a tremendous band, which would go on to achieve great things.

‘He toured the world with the band taking pipe band music and the Army’s pipes and drums to a wider audience than ever before achieved.’

Early last year PP ran a story telling of the incredible success of the record. Read it here.

9 thoughts on “P/M Tony Crease, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards

  1. Hello Bob, I was wondering if you could assist me; I am a fried of Tony but not as a colleague in the military. My name is Harry McCormack and I live in New Brighton nowadays. I became friends with him back in the 70s when the band became famous with the success of Amazing Grace. At the time I worked alongside his uncle, Frank Crease, who himself had seen service in WW2. To cut a long story short, we had a great time when Tony and his fellow bandsmen visited Saighton Camp near Chester and he invited Frank and I out for what turned out to be a very enjoyable evening at the camp. We lost touch as his career progressed and renewed our acquaintance when I found him on Facebook. Sadly,for various reasons we had very limited socialising over recent years and never managed to have a few ‘snifters that we would have done if circumstances had permitted. He contacted me back in August with the dreadful news that he had been given only a month or so to live and he wanted to tell me in person. Needless to say it came as a shock because but for Covid 19 we would have managed to get together for a catch up and some light refreshment.
    I would like to get a hold of any obituary that may exist as I saw nothing in my daily newspaper in the Merseyside area at all, although it could be that his family may have wished the matter to be very low profile. I know that he and Pat had divorced but not that he had remarried until I saw Sonia’s name mentioned somewhere after his passing. Any info or guidance would be appreciated.
    Thank You in anticipation,
    Harry McCormack

    1. Please feel free to use any information on Tony in Piping Press Harry and thanks for sharing your memories. RW

  2. great man. loved by all the staff of cambria officers mess. we are left with many happy memories, from mary mccullough mbe, and staff

  3. I had the honour to serve under Pipe Major Tony Crease in our Pipes & Drums from him being a Lance Corporal in the Royal Scots Greys (1969) until he handed over to me as Pipe Major of The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards in 1978. To say that Tony laid the foundations of what the band went on to achieve would be somewhat of an understatement .While he served and under his direction, some brilliant young pipers and Drummers were recruited and, in addition to the success of Amazing Grace, he took the band to a world class level where success not only came from combined music but also on the competition field, gaining respect from both civilian bands and Army bands alike. However he always instilled in us the most important audience we could ever have, was, that of his Regiment, The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.

  4. Thanks to Tony Crease and the members of the Dragoon Guards Amazing Grace, God’s Grace, reached a vast audience, many more than the 10,000 records sold at the time. Still to this day when played on the pipes Amazing Grace evokes deep within a positive response, even in the hardest of hearts. – How sweet the sound.

  5. Served with Tony from February 1968 till December 1971 as a piper in the band.
    Amazing Grace was recorded in the gymnasium of Redford infantry barracks Edinburgh May 1971. I played on the original recording but left the band before it became a hit. Goodnight Tony and I will always remember the times we all had together.

  6. Haunting sound of pipes and the Band such a beautiful piece played by Tony
    I remember this as it hit the charts
    RIP Tony may your soul forever walk the highlands of your home as you play
    A life immortalised by this unforgettable tune which can’t help but move the hardest of hearts

  7. So sorry to hear the sad news about Tony Crease. I remember well, the 1978 BBC2 broadcast from Castle Howard, of the Pipes & Drums and Military Band of the RSDGs, where Tony talked about the disapproval of the Army School of Piping, when ‘Amazing Grace’ was recorded, saying “The record sold 10 million copies, so what’s a row, now and then !”
    The programme can be seen on YouTube “The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Pipes & Drums – Castle Howard”.
    Not sure if the link will work, but this is it:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *