Major John M. Allan MBE 1934-2024

The death has been reported of Major John Allan MBE. He passed away peacefully at Castlehill Care Home, Cradlehall, Inverness. He was 89.

Major Allan (Queen’s Own Highlanders) was Director of Army Bagpipe Music from 1981–1990. Only last week his former graduates at the school presented him with a tune as a thank you for all he did for them during their time at the Army School then based in Edinburgh Castle.

The tune, a piobaireachd, was named Salute to Major John M Allan MBE (1st Battalion The Queen’s Own Highlanders). It was composed by Niall Matheson, double Gold Medallist and a highly accomplished piper and composer. Niall completed his Pipe Major’s course under Major Allen.

Niall said: ‘John had been very poorly and we are just grateful that we had the opportunity to thank him.’

Present with Niall at the presentation were Finlay MacGhee, Donald John MacIntyre, Jimmy Craib, John Archie MacDonald, Jim Stout and Kelvin Hunter, along with John’s wife Jean and their sons John and Gary and grandsons Robert and Paul.

  • Piping Press has been notified of the passing of Jim Dow a former front rank piper in the Muirhead & Sons Pipe Band during their historic five-in-a-row World Pipe Band Championship wins in the 1960s. Jim was in his 80s and had been living in Ballintore near Tain, Ross-shire. An excellent piper, Jim was highly thought of by the band’s pipe major Robert G. Hardie.

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13 thoughts on “Major John M. Allan MBE 1934-2024

  1. Very, very sad to hear this news. Major Allan was not only an excellent piping instructor to me and two of my brothers (Andrew and Bruce) during our time under his tutelage at George Heriot’s School. He was also a role model and mentor – a great man. He shall be dearly missed.

    Iain Douglas

  2. My condolences to his family and friends. It was my great privilege to study under him at the Castle in 1989, he was a great teacher and true gentleman.
    John-Hugh MacDonald ex 3RCR

  3. R.I.P. Sir, you taught me so much on the Pipe Major’s Course back in the 80’s in Edinburgh Castle – especially with Piobaireachd. Thankyou.

  4. Beyond his excellent piping tuition, he wove words of wisdom into his teaching which have stayed with me to this day. His good humour and sincere frankness were always a joy to hear. A truly great man who inspired many throughout his life. Thank you Major Allan.

  5. RIP Major Allan. I have fond memories being taught by him from the age of 10 to 18 at George Heriot’s School. He leaves an incredible legacy. I’m sure I am only one of hundreds of former students who are eternally grateful for all he imparted on us. A wonderful teacher and person. Thank you. Euan Frizzell

  6. Very sad news. He left a lasting impression on me with his patience and dedication to precision, as well as his warm heart. I will forever cherish those fond memories I have for him during my time in the george heriot’s school pipe band.

  7. Jock Allan instructed me on my senior piper’s and pipe majors courses in 1975. He was a thorough gentleman and despite being WO1 at that time insisted , just call me Jock. He made you feel at ease and was an excellent player. He’ll be sorely missed. Cpl. Allan Dunnachie ex 1RHF.

  8. He gave me and others great inspiration and encouragement when under his tuition for the Pipe Majors Course at Edinburgh Castle. I will be forever in his debt. RIP Major John.

  9. Sad news indeed . We need more Jock Allans
    In this society .
    Played accordion i believe
    Great leader

    Jim begg

  10. RIP Jock,
    lovely chap. A sad loss to the piping world. An earlier article mentioned your ability to remember students from the PMs Courses by the tunes their play off tunes. So many thanks for your help and guidence.
    Isabel Mackay

  11. RIP Jock.
    Thank you for your dedication to the Great Highland bagpipe and the people you passed on your knowledge to.
    May the bagpipes continue to skirl wherever you are.

    God bless

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