May 06, 2019

Honoured military pipe-majors

Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) medal.

Our readers are the most informed, knowledgeable and sharing in the piping and drumming world, and Aard Boode of Livingston, Scotland, is a great example.

Mr. Boode has been researching pipe-majors of the military worldwide, and so far he has tracked nearly 3,000 UK and Commonwealth country pipers who have achieved this official rank by completing the rigorous course at the Army School of Bagpipe Music & Highland Drumming in Edinburgh.

The British Empire Medal (BEM).

“As part of this research I have also produced a list of pipe-majors who were awarded a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), Member of the Order of the British Empire or Medal of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), or British Empire Medal (BEM),” he said in his correspondence, along with his list of 89 men (there are so far no females) who have been further distinguished for their services in the annual Honours List, traditionally issued on the monarch’s birthday or on New Years Day.

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire was started in 1917. There are five “classes”: Knights and Dames Grand Cross (GBE), Knights and Dames Commanders (KBE and DBE), Commanders (CBE), Officers (OBE) and Members (MBE).

We have marked with an asterisk those who have also achieved a Highland Society of London Gold Medal.

The list is not definitive. If you see a possible error or omission, please do contact us.

These honours used to be reserved primarily for those who served in the military. Over the last several decades, the MBE especially has been presented to civilians. Several non-military-serving pipers and drummers have received the honour, including Jeannie Campbell, Hugh Cheape, Jim Kilpatrick, Roddy MacLeod and Richard Parkes.

We hope that you appreciate the list, and we thank Aard Boode for sharing his research with pipes|drums readers.


Name Born Died Honour(s) Regiment(s)
Adlington, Joseph 1930 BEM Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
Aitken, David Waddel 1934 2004 BEM Royal Highland Fusiliers
Allan, John Mackenzie MBE Queen’s Own Highlanders
Anderson, Andrew 1902 1981 BEM 48th Highlanders of Canada
Anderson, James B. 1932? 2004 BEM Black Watch/Royal Air Force
Anderson, Thomas 1931 2011 BEM Cameronians
Banks, James Milne 1946 MBE Scots Guards
Barron, Albert 1926 1996 BEM Black Watch/Tayforth U.O.T.C.
Bisset, John BEM 71st Royal Engineers
Black, David Plunkett 1936 MBE BEM Royal Regiment of Artillery
Brown, Robert Urquhart * 1906 1972 MBE Gordon Highlanders
Burgess, John Davie * 1934 2005 MBE Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders
Carswell, James Robertson BEM Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
Clement, William 1923 2012 MBE Home Guard/Black Watch
Copland, John “Jock” 1880 1966 MBE Essex Fusiliers/Essex & Kent Scottish Regt
Cornwall, Thomas Drysdale 1955 BEM Royal Scots/Army Apprentices’ College
Crabb, Robert 1921 2009 BEM Scots Guards
Crease, Anthony James 1946 MBE BEM Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
Davidson, Alexander Hugh Ririe 1944 2016 MBE Scots Guards
Dickie, Alexander W. 1902 1974 MBE Gordon Highlanders
Dippie, Allan Thomas 1942? 2005 BEM Black Watch
Dodds, Norman 1941 MBE Royal Irish Rangers
Douglas, Walter 1887 1960 MBE Queen’s Own Cameron Hldrs of Canada
Duncan, David 1929 2003 MBE London Scottish/51st Highland Volunteers
Elder, Peter Wood 1934 2017 BEM Royal Tank Regiment
Esson, Edmund 1906 1981 MBE Seaforth Highlanders of Canada
Forsyth, George Sinclair 1906 1983 BEM Royal Scots
Frame, William Edwin 1937 2015 BEM Royal Highland Fusiliers/Glasgow U.O.T.C.
Franklin, John Richard BEM London Irish Rifles
Galloway, Archibald John Hepburn 1910 1997 BEM Queensland Cameron Highlanders/2nd A.I.F.
Georgeson, Laurence 1984 BEM Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
Gray, John Brockie 1903 1972 BEM Royal Scots Greys
Gray, Michael James 1966 MBE Highlanders
Groves, Harold Francis MBE Irish Guards
Harden, Michael John 1947 BEM Royal Tank Regiment
Hitchings, Bruce James 1955 MBE, BEM Queen’s Own Highlanders
Kerr, Joseph 1940 BEM Gordon Highlanders/Scottish Division
Kilgour, Robert Liddle 1924 2017 MBE Seaforth Highlanders/Scots Guards
Knox, James 1958 MBE Royal Irish Regiment
Lambert, Arthur Peter 1924 2000 BEM Royal Regiment of Artillery
Law, Charles Nicol 1900 1971 BEM Black Watch
Lland, Henry Frank 1924 2008 BEM Q.O.C.H./R.A.S.C./R.C.T.
Lyons, William 1940 BEM Irish Guards
MacAulay, Angus 1902 1995 MBE Lovat Scouts
McBurnie, Arthur BEM Royal Ulster Rifles
McCallum, Ronald * 1905 1986 MBE Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
MacDonald, Alexander Roderick 1900 1992 BEM Scots Guards
MacDonald, Angus * 1938 1999 MBE Scots Guards
MacDonald, John * 1865 1953 MBE Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders
MacDonald, John Morrison 1899 1965? OBE Rhodesia Regiment
McIntosh, Farquhar Allan ** 1929 2010 MBE Trucial Oman Scouts
McIntosh, James Haddow * 1925 MBE Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders
MacKenzie, John MacLean 1922 1996 BEM Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
MacLellan, John Archibald* 1921 1991 MBE Seaforth Highlanders
MacLennan, Duncan Munro 1904 1979 MBE Victorian Scottish Regiment
MacLennan, Lewis 1910 1995 BEM Pacific Islands Regiment
MacLeod, David W. BEM Royal Air Force
MacLeod, Donald * 1916 1982 MBE Seaforth Highlanders
McNicol, John 1913 1988 BEM Black Watch
Macrae, Evan * 1925 1991 BEM Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders
MacTaggart, William Keith 1929 2019 CBE, MBE Aberdeen Universities O.T.C.
Matheson, John McLean BEM Cameronians
Montgomery, Desmond Alan Dill 1916 2003 CBE, MBE Queen’s University Belfast O.T.C.
Motherwell, James Craig Whyte 1960 BEM Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
O’Brien, Patrick 1998 MBE London Irish Rifles/Royal Ulster Rifles
Pryde, James 1929 2009 MBE Royal Scots Greys
Rafferty, Joseph Cooper 1945 BEM Black Watch
Ramsay, Donald Shaw 1919 1998 BEM Highland Light Infantry
Riddell, Donald 1908 1992 BEM Lovat Scouts
Robertson, James Blair 1905 1988 MBE Scots Guards/London Scottish
Roe, John Sidney 1920 1994 MBE, BEM Scots Guards
Roe, Kenneth Gordon 1921 1976 BEM Scots Guards
Ross, William Collie * 1878 1966 MBE Scots Guards/Lovat Scouts
Roy, Robert 1909 1960 MBE Black Watch
Samson, Stuart Douglas * 1962 MBE Gordon Highlanders
Small, Steven George 1964 MBE Black Watch
Smith, Edward Kenneth 1901 1951 BEM King’s Own Scottish Borderers
Smith, John Arbuckle 1912 1990 BEM Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
Stewart, William Rennie 1917 2007 OBE St. Andrews University O.T.C.
Stoddart, Gavin Neil Macleod * 1948 MBE, BEM Royal Highland Fusiliers
Stoddart, George 1912 1990 BEM Royal Scots Fusiliers/Parachute Regt
Stuart, Rene Michael 1947 MBE Royal Air Force
Tamang, Meharman MBE 7th Duke of Edinburgh’s Own Gurkha Rifles
Thomson, Kenneth William BEM Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
Tiuamoa, Lewereka MBE Pacific Islands Regiment
Turrell, Lewis Arthur * 1935 2011 MBE Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment
Weatherston, John Carlton 1917 2003 MBE, BEM Highland Light Infantry/Royal Artillery
Whitecross, James G. 1928 1994? MBE Pacific Islands Regt/R. Australian Regt
Wilson, Andrew 1931 1997 BEM Royal Ulster Rifles/Queen’s U.O.T.C.
* Highland Society of London Gold Medallist
** Later changed name to McIntyre, Susan.

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