Alex Shand, 1934-2008

Published: December 31, 2008
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The late Alex Shand, surrounded by John MacKintosh (left) and Harry McNulty (right), from the cover of the 1975 Edinburgh City Police album, 'Capital Parade'Alex Shand, a piper with the legendary Edinburgh City Police Pipe Band under Pipe-Major Iain McLeod, died on December 8, 2008, at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, aged 74.
Shand joined the police force in 1957 and would commit 26 years to the job and the pipe band, retiring in 1983. During that time he was one of the select pipers to make up the world’s most famous pipe band at the time, a group that gathered five World Pipe Band Championships along the way and traveled throughout the world.

Prior to joining the police, Alex Shand served with the 1st Battalion Queens Own Cameron Highlanders. Serving under Pipe-Major Evan MacRae, he quickly gained promotion to Corporal and was involved at Cameron Barracks, Inverness, in recruitment and training.

With the 1st Battalion he saw service in Germany, Korea, Japan, and Aden during the blockage of the Suez Canal. While in Korea he transferred to Tokyo for a year as Personal Piper to the Commander in Chief Far East, a prestigious posting.

Shand was popular and likeable and well known to some in the Toronto area following the Edinburgh City Police Pipe Band’s famous visit to Ontario in 1972 when they joined up with the St. Thomas Police Pipe Band, under Pipe-Major Gordon Tuck.

Alex Shand was also a composer of distinction, with the 6/8 march, “Caverhill,” among his best works – a tune often heard played by Scottish country dance bands.

The funeral on December 13, 2008, at Morton Hall in Edinburgh saw a large turnout by family, friends and former colleagues of the force and pipe band, including Iain MacLeod, Harry McNulty, John MacKintosh and Martin Wilson.

We extend our sympathies to Alex Shand’s family and many friends at this sad time.
– Submitted by Martin Wilson
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    Martin, thanks for your letter regarding Alex. I remember the Edinburgh ‘polis’ band of the 70’s. They were a joy to listen to and what a great bunch of guys. My condolences to all, thanks for the memories. Martin Docherty


    My thanks to Martin for doing this piece on my dad.He has provided us with valuable information. It was great to see some of these great pipers and drummers at Dads funeral. Jan Rowell Alex daughter.

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When practicing, take time to listen to your band outside the circle. It helps to analyze the musicality from a different perspective.
Graham Kirkwood, L-D, Niagara Regional Police