This previously unpublished photograph came from the private photo collection of John Wilson (1906-1978), a master player from Edinburgh who emigrated to Toronto in 1948 and profoundly influenced piping in Ontario for decades. Wilson, who lost most of his left thumb and first two fingers as a boy, was one of the most successful competitors in Scotland during the mid-1930s. He is pictured here on the left. In the middle is Robert Meldrum (1851-1941), also a great player but particularly noted for a piping career that lasted from the time of Donald Cameron and John Ban MacKenzie right up to World War II. He competed from the 1860s until he died, maintaining a remarkably high standard to the end. His reminiscences provide significant historical notes about pipers he knew. These are excerpted in the link above. The piper on the right is the great Scots Guards Pipe Major, J. B. Robertson (1905-1988), a good friend of Wilson’s. He was nearly unbeatable in March/Strathspey and Reel events during his prime in the late 1920s and early ’30s, and his record of 9 firsts in the Former Winners’ M/S/R at Oban still stands today. Thanks to Roddy Livingstone, who confirmed Robertson’s identification and for using Robertson’s rank to confirm that the photo was taken between 1928 and 1932.
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