P/M John Roe and His Tune, Kate Wrenbury

P/M John ‘Gabby’ Roe in his Scots Guards days

Piping Press readers were quick off the mark following our request for information on the 6/8 march Kate Wrenbury. Here is a selection of responses:

Gordon Tughan-Jones: The tune was written by John Roe for Lord Wrenbury’s daughter Elizabeth who was getting married. Wrenbury was the founder of the Pinstripe Highlanders. The story is that John used the wrong daughter’s name and then, with support from Lord Wrenbury, decided he wasn’t going to correct it. It has been the Pinstripe Highlanders’ anthem ever since. 

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Chris McKnight: There was a small book [left] put out about P/M Roe, including his tunes, in 1996. It is listed as copyright the estate of P/M Roe. There wasn’t really much in the brief biography about the Blue Bonnets band – more about the Pinstripe Highlanders, a group of professionals from London who P/M Roe helped to develop their piping.

Joe McAlister. Elgin: Bob Pekaar’s Tune Index locates this tune in the Piping Times Vol. 65 No.11 (August 2013), of which I have a copy. Only the first two parts are shown, whereas four parts can be heard on a YouTube video by searching the title. Piping Press also has an article on the Pinstripe Pipers with links.

Stephen Beattie: I have a copy of the tune (a 4-parted 6/8 march) which I will send to the editor:


Bob Ash: To help a student, I have uploaded a video of the tune to my YouTube channel. I was a founder member of the Blue Bonnets Pipe Band back in 1969. The Blue Bonnets, Pipe Major Gordon K. Speirs, was formed when pipers and most of the drummers left the 257th RAMC Territorials so we could concentrate solely on our piping and drumming.

My old friend, the late Hugh ‘Baggy’ MacMillan, served in the Scots Guards under P/M Roe and helped him compile the first Scots Guards collection. Hugh and P/M Roger Huth used to teach at the Pinstripers and Kate Wrenbury has been one of their tunes for a long time.

Gordon Tughan-Jones has sent this postscript: ‘The original version of the tune in John Roe’s own hand has the following gracings which are not in the version widely published.’

Thanks also to Craig Turnbull, Hector Munro and others for their contributions.

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