An old soldier reaches 80 not out.
Martin Wilson was born and raised in Dunoon. His uncle was James Wilson, who served as Pipe Major of the 8th Argylls after Willie Lawrie and before John McLellan, Dunoon, who is a great uncle.
In his youth Martin won the Burgh Cup at Cowal when it was a coveted prize for junior locals. Interestingly his son, Martin Wilson, also won the trophy some years later.
Martin was a joiner to trade but did his National Service from 1959 to 1961 with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, based at Stirling Castle and Germany, serving with Ronnie MacCallum, Iain McLellan, Hugh MacCallum and Jim Henderson.
Martin joined the Edinburgh Police Pipe band in 1963, as a specific recruit of Iain McLeod’s. Police Constable 99C Division, based at the West End Police Station, Edinburgh. He became life long friends with the likes of Jock Perceval, George Lumsden, Chris Anderson, Harry McNulty, Ronnie Ackroyd, Laurie Gillespie to name but a few.
Martin travelled the world with the band, and won five World titles with them and recorded three or four albums.
Martin stayed with the band throughout most his service. He was latterly in the Crime Prevention Unit before retiring from the Force. He then joined Drambuie Kirkliston Pipe Band where his son, Martin Wilson Jnr. was the Pipe Major. I had the pleasure of playing beside Martin Snr in the circle.
Known as a die-hard Celtic supporter he actually has strong affiliations with Morton FC. Martin’s other son John, signed for Celtic but unfortunately picked up a bad injury. Following in his dads footsteps he joined the police, as has his son Paul, so the Wilson family Police tradition is alive and well.
The Wilson Clan are regular attenders at the Eagle Pipers’ and it is a treat to have them in the company
Martin’s daughter, Julie, who is an Associate Director of the Translational Research Initiative, in Pancreatic Cancer, at Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, came over to join in the birthday celebration and as you see from the photos carried in the cake.
Many happy returns Martin.
To start the evening off the band played The Bloody Fields of Flanders, the great John McLellan composition and When The Battle’s O’er, to mark the 100 years since the signing of Armistice bringing an end to WW1.
The band played through to the pies (and cake). A dangerous combination for the diet.
The post pie piper, playing his dads pipes, was young Martin, who settled the instrument with some lovely 3/4 marches before playing a big MSR that started off with the little heard The Renfrewshire Militia composed by P/M John MacKay.
Note: The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Allied Regiments, and Militia-
‘The 3rd and 4th Battalions were formed in 1881 from the old Militia Battalions.
The 3rd Battalion had its origins in the Fifeshire Regiment of North British Militia raised in 1797, they were subsequently named the Stirling, Dumbarton, Clackmannan and Kinross Militia in 1803 and their title was finally changed to the Highland Borderers Light Infantry in 1855.
The 4th Battalion stems from the Royal Renfrew Militia who were embodied in 1793. A further change to the Renfrewshire Militia took place in 1803. In 1855 in recognition of their service they were granted permission to call themselves The Prince of Wales Royal Regiment of Renfrewshire Militia. Both battalions served in the Boer War and were Reserve Battalions during the 1st World War.’
To end the evening Gordon Hislop gave us the great wee tune The Lament for Donald of Laggan. A lovely tune that should be in everyones repertoire.
Note: Donald of Laggan was Domhnull MacAonghais mhic Alastair 8th Laird of Glengarry who lived in the latter part of the 16th and first half of the 17th century.
His turbulent father, Angus Og, bequeathed him a series of long-running feuds with the Grants and the MacKenzies. The Glengarry lands in the north marched with MacKenzie territory in Lochalsh and Loch Carron, producing almost constant friction.
And that was the evenings evening. A special night in many ways.
The next meeting is on Tuesday 27th November at 20.00hrs.