Updated: Bob Martin, 1939-2010
Robert “Bob” Martin, the renowned former pipe-major of the Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia Pipe Band, died on the afternoon of October 3, 2010, in Edinburgh, due to complications after surgery to repair a shattered knee following a fall on September 20th.
Bob Martin is synonymous with Boghall & Bathgate. After learning the pipes with the Torphichen & Bathgate Pipe Band, he joined Boghall & Bathgate in 1972, which at the time was in Grade 4. Success rapidly followed, winning the RSPBA Champion of Champions title in 1974 and progressing to Grade 3.
Born May 23, 1939, Martin helped to implement an ambitious teaching program in 1976, starting with a Novice Juvenile band. The original program became a model that many bands around the world emulate, but perhaps none yet to the successful effect of Boghall’s. Bob Martin also recruited Tom Brown, a member of Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia to run the Boghall organization’s drumming instructional program, with the band progressing to Grade 2 in 1977, with an average member age of 13, not including Martin, Brown and two other players.
Under Martin, the band was Champion of Champions in Grade 2 in 1978 and ’79, and was promoted to Grade 1 for the 1980 season – only eight years after Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia was started. In its first year in Grade 1, the band placed fourth at the World Championships and gained second prize at the European Championship. Boghall would win the British Championship in 1982 and was second in at the World’s, losing to the Strathclyde Police by a half-point.
Bob Martin led the Grade 1 band and headed the organization overall until 1986 when he retired from competition, handing over the leadership to Craig Walker.
He remained an enthusiastic contributor to the Boghall organization and a regular at pipe band competitions, and took great pride in his sons competing with the band and, more recently, his granddaughter taking up the pipes, before moving to tenor drumming with Torphichen & Bathgate.
Bob Martin is survived by his wife, Jessie, and sons, Fraser and Douglas. The family extends its thanks to those who have sent messages of support over the last two weeks.
Cremation will take place at 10:15 on Tuesday, October 12, at West Lothian Crematorium, Cousland Wood, Starlaw Place, off of Starlaw Road, Livingston, Scotland. The family welcomes all who wish to pay their respects and request that bandsmen wear their uniform if they wish.
On behalf of the world’s piping and drumming community, we extend our condolences to Bob Martin’s family and friends at this sad time.
(Thanks to Graham Clark, secretary, Torphichen & Bathgate Pipe Band, for contributing information for this article.)