17 February 2016
Moira Denny recalls the pipe bands which were once a familiar sight on the streets of Scotland's towns and cities.
Throughout the villages and towns of Scotland there were many pipe bands. In the village of Chryston in Lanarkshire one such band was the Chryston & District Pipe Band where my father William (or Bill to his friends) was a drummer. The band was formed in 1920 and led by Pipe Major Harry Proud and Dick Ford. The band met in the band hut, later called the guide hut, off Lindsaybeg Road. I remember that the hut was where we had our school dinners in the 1950s and early 1960s. I loved the caramel shortcake and thick custard poured from a metal jug.
The band had brothers, cousins and uncles among the members and played at many local events in and around the area before the band members joined the Territorial Army. It was whilst the band was at a training camp in 1939 at Gosforth near Newcastle that war was declared, sending the members back home to enlist in their various regiments.
It was then that the band members decided to enlist en bloc into the Territorial Army as a readymade pipe band, which they did. Imagine the surprise as the band arrived at the recruitment office. Every member but one was quickly processed and signed up into the band of the 57th Searchlight regiment of the Territorial Army, then the Royal Artillery. They were kitted out in Ancient Douglas tartan kilts.
Originally published February 2016. Reviewed December 2022.