Editor’s Notebook: 100 Pipers Band/ Results Mix Up/ PS Recital/ Piper Wanted/ Gold Medal Hero

Reader Gordon Smith: ‘I’ve sent you an old picture of the 100 Pipers Whisky pipe band taken outside a Chivas factory building in Paisley. I’m not sure if it’s a thread you would pursue.

Pipe Major was the late Donnie Thomson, ex-Shotts, far left of pic. Leading drummer Alan Craig far right, with well known bass drummer Ian Macmillan in back row.’

Thanks very much for that Gordon. Would any reader have more of the names of this well-known band? I believe they played in Grade 1 and remember Donnie well from his time with Shotts and, if memory serves, he was also in the 1st Port Glasgow BB band. All info to editor@pipingpress.com please.

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I understand the RSPBA are in the process of examining ways of preventing the Scottish Pipe Band Championships results mix-up happening again. It may involve the use of technology. Whatever is decided, I think we can all agree confusing Ensemble and Drumming results is a very serious mistake.

Luckily there was no impact on the final results in Grade 1, but imagine if there had been? No, it doesn’t bear thinking about does it.

Therefore, whilst we all accept that human error can occur, we should insist that every effort is made to ensure that any revised system of compilation is as foolproof as possible. Just what is the routine that is followed once the judges submit their lists? How many times are the outcomes checked and by whom?

Bands need the reassurance that this matter is being properly addressed and are entitled to know how the system works. There are a lot of very skilled bandspeople who work in statistics out there. The Association should get them involved.

A public relations crisis occurred last weekend. The mess impacted bands, drummers, judges, officials and the pipe band supporting public. They now need to have confidence that a thoroughly researched and transparent solution is being sought.

Don’t forget the Piobaireachd Society’s recital of ceòl mòr this Sunday, Aug. 6, in St Cecilia’s Hall, Edinburgh. Time is 7 for 7.30pm. Featured pipers are Angus MacColl, Germany’s Anna Kummerlöw, James Duncan MacKenzie from the isle of Lewis, and Ayrshire’s own John Mulhearn.

They will play in continuous fashion with no tuning, four tunes before the interval and four after. This makes for a very enjoyable celebration of the great music and a 9.30pm finish. Everyone is welcome to a small reception afterwards where they can meet and chat to the pipers. Tickets £10 (£8 concessions) here or at the door.

Community Officer, Mr Satay Singh of the Rotary Club, Portobello, Edinburgh: ‘We hold a Burns Night every year and are looking for a piper for 25th January 2024. It is in the Ravelston Hotel, Musselburgh. You will have a meal on the night and payment for the evening. Look forward to hearing from interested pipers.’ Contact Mr Singh here.

Mrs Rhonda Whitmarsh-Knight: ‘My grandfather, William Craigie Keith Mackie, won the Northern Meeting Gold Medal in 1909. He died fighting the Japanese in Stanley, Hong Kong, on 24th December 1941. He was last heard playing Cock o’ the North.

‘His story was written up in a Hong Kong daily newspaper in 2010 where he was described a hero. The loss meant I grew up without photos of him as my father had been evacuated in July 1940.

‘Would you have photos of him or perhaps even the medal from that time? I know it’s a big ask but I would be grateful if you could look in your archives.’

I’m afraid we do not have a picture of your grandfather Mrs Whitmarsh-Knight. His Highland Society of London Gold Medal would have been as above.

We can confirm our list of Inverness Gold Medallists has the following insertion:

1909 Pipe Cpl. William MacKie, 2nd Bn Seaforths, ‘Lament for the the Harp Tree’

In its list of Regimental Gold Medallists the Queen’s Own Highlanders Collection of pipe music has the following: ‘William Mackie was serving with 2nd Bn. Seaforth Highlanders at Fort George when he won the Inverness Gold Medal against very strong opposition, 2nd place going to the famous Roddy Campbell.

Seaforth pipers from around the turn of the century. Is William Mackie among them?

‘William Mackie later transferred to the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, as Pipe Major, and on leaving the Army took up employment with the Admiralty in the Royal Naval Dockyard in Hong Kong.

‘He was also Pipe Major to the Hong Kong Volunteers and was killed when the Japanese invaded Hong Kong in 1941.’

There may well be a reader who can help us here or perhaps someone from the Northern Meeting or someone with a knowledge of Seaforth Highlanders’ or KOSB history?

5 thoughts on “Editor’s Notebook: 100 Pipers Band/ Results Mix Up/ PS Recital/ Piper Wanted/ Gold Medal Hero

  1. There was a huge impact on the G1 result. It’s be biggest impact yet!! The drumming championship was awarded and the rescinded 36 hours later. I dunno how anyone can say no impact. One corp is devastated and another has been robbed of the celebration.

  2. I have a formal group photo of the 2nd Battalion Seaforth Highlanders Pipers from 1911 and Mackie may very well be in that photo (PM Mathieson, another Gold Medalist is in the photo) I’m in Scotland at the moment but when I return to New York next week I can send the photo over. Let me know how I may send the photo over.

  3. I suggest the results can be finally checked by the adjudicator agreeing that they are his awards. This can be done in person, phone call or text with immediate reply verifying same. Keep it simple.

  4. Regarding the RSPBA results mix-up, using technology is not a guarantee of mistakes not happening (there can data input errors, programme bugs, system malfunction or crash, to name a few).
    The Grade 1 Worlds will be particularly challenging, as there are 4 individual performances from each band, all contributing to the final results sheet.
    The only way to ensure mistakes like the recent one do not happen again, is to have 2 independent systems compiling the summary results sheets. One could be human based and one could be technology based. The chances of both systems making the same mistake are negligible.
    As Robert has correctly stated, it doesn’t bear thinking about if the mistake affected the overall result.

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