Editor’s Notebook: Queen’s Own and Evan/ Colin Murray/ Ronald Elmslie/ Hugh MacCallum/ OZ Smallpipes/ SFU

Thanks to Yahya Hussein in the US for sending the above picture, relevant to yesterday’s review of Evan Macrae’s new book. Yahya writes: ‘Here is a photo of the pipe band of the 1st Camerons at Catterick [Yorkshire] having just returned from their foreign service tour in the Sudan in October 1936.

‘When I showed Jimmy McIntosh this photo some years ago, he happily identified a good number of the members, particularly Evan Macrae who is second from the right in the second row.’

A great picture Yahya and thanks for sharing. For the record, are you sure about the ID? Do you mean Evan is second from the right facing in the second row of pipers standing?

Sadly I have two deaths to report, Colin Murray formerly of the Red Hackle Pipe Band, and Ronnie Elmslie formerly of the 214BB.

Robert Stewart, Colin’s friend of 65 years, reports: ‘Colin’s death has been announced in Victoria, BC, Canada. He was 82. Colin was formerly a long-serving member of the Red Hackle and more recently served as P/M of Castlecary Pipes & Drums in Victoria.

‘He returned frequently to Scotland to enjoy pipe band competitions. He fought a long battle against serious illness in his latter years. He will be missed by both family and friends.’

Ronnie Elmslie started on the the pipes in the BB on the same day as me in 1960. He died of a brain tumour in Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow. He was 70. Ronnie was a successful junior amateur piper and was taught piobaireachd by Peter Bain. Ronnie’s most notable achievement was winning the Under 18 Piobaireachd at Cowal in, I think, 1967.

Ronnie was the youngest of three Elmslie boys and followed his brothers Jim and Dougie into the Muirheads band. More introverted, he never really settled there and left after a few months. He drifted out of piping and set up his own successful garage business.

Ronnie is pictured far right in this picture (below) taken at Cowal or Rothesay in 1966. Far left is Archie Maclean, now the respected solo judge, and centre facing the camera is your diminutive editor.

Thanks to the 214 ex-members website for supplying the picture.

Members of the Piobaireachd Society have another treat tonight when the second of the papers in lieu of this year’s annual conference is delivered online. The subject is the ‘Piping Career of Hugh MacCallum’ and the presenter is his former pupil, and Society Music Committee member, Ronald MacShannon.

Hugh MacCallum (l) is pictured with his friend Iain MacFadyen at the Northern Meeting reception, Inverness, in 2010

The time is 8pm BST (GMT+1). Members should have received notification and the Zoom link. If not please contact president@piobaireachd.co.uk . If you are not a member of the Society but would like to see and hear about one of the great pipers of the 20th Century then you can join the Society here. Once you’ve parted with your moolah, drop me an email and I’ll forward the link.

Here’s a clip of one of the tracks you’ll hear tonight:

Sweet pipe; perfect chanter intervals, and a lovely high A.

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Again for the record, can anyone supply all the names in that ‘transition from Port Moody’ SFU pic we ran the other day?

I recognise Rob MacNeil (back row centre, standing, ‘pancho’ moustache, and Jack and Terry Lee (Jack, second from left standing, back row; Terry third from left, second row) and some of the faces, but don’t recall all the names. Would that be the late Andrew Bonar on Terry’s right? Ian Whitelaw, third from right, second row?

2 thoughts on “Editor’s Notebook: Queen’s Own and Evan/ Colin Murray/ Ronald Elmslie/ Hugh MacCallum/ OZ Smallpipes/ SFU

  1. In the Camerons photo, I see my dear late friend Jimmy Hughes in the 3rd row, third in from the left. Jimmy was already a member of what was to become 153 Regiment, Royal Corps of Transport when I joined in 1966. The band had won the Grade 2 World Championship in 1965 prior to its subsequent promotion to Grade 1. As Evan MacRae mentioned in his book, Jimmy was the life and soul of many band social nights and his party pieces are still remembered fondly by those few of us who are still to the fore. Thank you for sharing the photo Yahya.

  2. Hi Rab,

    Ah! Well spotted! I meant that Evan Macrae is standing 2nd from the right 3rd row, not 2nd. Sorry for the typo.



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