I have been the Lone Piper for the Hogmannay Live Show on BBC Scotland and pictured here as the Lone Piper at the Edinburgh Tattoo August 2004.
I didn’t really begin my piping career in heart of the Pipe Band world but in Bicester, Oxfordshire, with the local Oxford Caledonia Pipe Band. My first tutor and a major influence on my chosen military career was Charlie Elliot, a former piper with the Highland Light Infantry, the Pipe Major of the Band.
At 16 years old, I joined the Scots Guards as a Junior Guardsman and spent a year at the Guards Depot in Pirbright Surrey and passed out as an Guardsman (Infantry Soldier) before entering the Guards Depot Piping School where I was taught by Pipe Major Alexander (Sandy) Davidson MBE and Pipe Major (later Major) Linden (Dixie) Ingram.
My First posting was to the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards at Chelsea Barracks, London carrying out ceremonial duties prior to a two-year tour of Cyprus. This was followed by a return to ceremonial duties in London and a couple of tours of Northern Ireland. Gaining tuiton and experience from Pipe Major Jimmy Riddell, Brian Donaldson and Peter MacInnes.
In 1992 I attended the Pipe Majors Course at Edinburgh Castle under Major Gavin Stoddart MBE, BEM Royal Highland Fusiliers and Warrant Officer Class 1 (Pipe Major) Joe Rafferty, BEM, Black Watch, gaining a Distinction for the Theory, History and Music Writing and a B+ grade for my practical examination. In 1993 I was posted to The Piping and Drumming Wing at Milton Bridge, Edinburgh as a Piping Instructor. This was followed by a short period at the Scots Guards Regimental Recruiting Team based in Edinburgh.
I was appointed Pipe Major at the Army Apprentice College, Army School of Catering, in Aldershot in 1996. In March 2000 I became Pipe Major of the 1st Battalion Scots Guards on its return from Northern Ireland to Wellington Barracks, London. Whilst serving in London, I was in charge of the Pipes & Drums for one of the busiest period of State Ceremonial duties, including HM The Queen Mothers 100 birthday celebration and the State Funeral of HM The Queen Mother, HM The Queens Golden Jubilee and the Edinburgh Military Tattoo as well as operationally involved in the the firemans strike and operational tours of Northern Ireland. I also led the band on overseas tours of Italy, Thailand and the USA.
I was the Pipe Major who led the Pipes & Drums to New York in October 2001, following the attacks on the World Trade Centre in a Solidarity Tour (UK with NY) together with the Regimental Band of the Coldstream Guards, sponsored by the American Scottish Foundation.
In 2003 I was posted to the Army School of Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming at Inchdrewer House, Edinburgh as a Warrant Officer Class II, responsible for military training, instruction and administration of all learner Pipers and Drummers, joining the Army and then finally I was promoted again in April 2004 as Warrant Officer Class One (Senior Pipe Major, British Army).
I have had a full and rewarding military career gaining a wealth of experience in all aspects of Military, Operational and Ceremonial duties that the Army has to offer.
Alan Bain, President of the American Scottish Foundation, and myself following a successful moral boasting tour of New York October 2001