Camelon Pipe Band was founded in 1913, just before the outbreak of the First World War.
On 22 May 1915 a train carrying the 7th Battalion of Royal Scots left Larbert Station. At Quintinshill, near Carlisle it was involved in the worst train crash ever to occur in the UK. Of the 182 troops who died many were pipers and drummers. Those members who had lost their lives were replaced by members of Camelon Pipe Band, including Dugald Campbell McLachlan, the band’s first pipe major.
With a lack of members the band sadly disbanded in 1959. The band remained in this state until 1980 when Hugh Lindsay, Robert Wallace and a few others set about re-establishing the band under Pipe Major Hugh Wilson. With no funds, uniform or instruments, they sold 200 tickets at £1/ticket to anyone interested in becoming “an associated member” of the Band! Co-incidentally, Mariner’s Day was also re-started that year. Camelon Pipe Band marched in the parade wearing their ordinary clothes and using second-hand drums bought from Bo’ness Pipe Band. Sadly, in the 30 years since, both Robert and Hugh have passed on, but their memory remains, and the band that they founded remains strong. Like most bands Camelon would have ups and downs. Success would come under Pipe Major George McNeill and Leading Drummer Jim White in the 1990’s winning several championships and gaining promotion.
This was closely followed by another lean spell from the late 1990’s where the band lost numerous players once again and never competed again until 2006.
After 2006, the Pipe Band once again competed, under Blair Chapburn and Stuart Hay. Then, under Pipe Major Gary Nimmo and Lead Drummer Jason Lafferty we won promotion to grade 4A in 2010.
In the summer of 2012, Gary left the band to pursue other opportunities. He was succeeded by Pipe Major Duncan Drew, who was ably assisted by Jimmy “Stix” Moore. At the end of the 2013 season, however, they in turn were succeeded by Pipe Major Jimmy Gavin, and lead drummer John Callan.
In 2013, the Pipe Band celebrated our centenary year, marking the event with a ceilidh held in the Ochiltree club. Many band members past and present were in attendance, and many members of the local community came out to show their support for the band.
2015 saw the band mark another centenary, this time that of the Quintinshill crash, where the band were invited to lead the memorial parade. We were delighted and honoured to do so.
Unfortunately, the competition season in 2015 wasn’t as successful as was hoped, and concluded with the band being moved back to Grade 4B. At this time, several members chose to move on, including John Callan who was replaced as lead drummer by Jockie McLean. However, the band have recruited several new players, and have several learners nearing readiness to play, and so are hopeful for 2016 and beyond.
The webmaster would like to thank Mrs Jessie Doig, Mrs Margaret Wilson, Colonel Watson, and Mr George Dalgleish for their assistance in fleshing out the story of the early years of the band. This has proven invaluable, as without it several gaps would never have been filled. Some additional images from the history of the band can be found in the gallery.
Likewise, if you have any information or historical documents that can help us fill in some more of the band’s history, we would be delighted to hear from you.