November 27, 2023

Long dormant band in England reboots as Banbury & District – Laidlaw Memorial Pipe & Drums

Banbury Pipe Band in the 1970s

A pipe band from the historic market town on the River Cherwell in Oxfordshire, South East England, has been resurrected to return full-force under the name of Banbury & District – Laidlaw Memorial Pipes & Drums, hoping to return to Grade 3 competition in 2024.

Jock Laidlaw

The new band stems from the Banbury & District Caledonian Pipe Band, formed in 1961 by John “Jock” Laidlaw, an ex-piper of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders and holder of the Burma Star medal.

Despite achieving success, the band went dormant in the early 2000s after it merged with the Scots Guards Association Pipe Band in Windsor.

Daniel Laidlaw, VC, the Piper of Loos

The resurrected group restores the Banbury name and adds “Laidlaw Memorial” to pay homage to its founder and first pipe-major, who was also the nephew of Daniel Laidlaw VC, “The Piper of Loos,” of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, who was awarded the Victoria Cross World in World War I, according to the November, 18, 1915, London Gazette, “for most conspicuous bravery prior to an assault on German trenches near Loos and Hill 70 on 25th September 1915. During the worst of the bombardment, when the attack was about to commence, Piper Laidlaw, seeing that his company was somewhat shaken from the effects of gas, with absolute coolness and disregard of danger, mounted the parapet, marched up and down and played the company out of the trench. The effect of his splendid example was immediate, and the company dashed out to the assault. Piper Laidlaw continued playing his pipes till he was wounded.”

The decision to restart the band was made at the 2022 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo by Richard Jasper and Ian Graham, who joined with former Banbury pipers, with money still in a bank account, and uniforms in Jasper’s garage.

Members of the resurrected band, which goes by Banbury & District – Laidlaw Memorial Pipe & Drums

Banbury & District – Laidlaw Memorial Pipes & Drums now wears the Royal Stewart tartan in tribute to both Laidlaws, and is recruiting to add to a solid foundation. Ian Graham invites interested pipers and drummers to contact him via the band’s social media accounts.

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