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The History of Duns Pipe Band

As is sometimes the case, records are few and far between and a lot of the information contained in these pages has been passed down by word of mouth. If you think we've got any of the information wrong or can help us fill in any of the gaps, please feel free to get in touch.

The Beginnings

Prior to the First World War, we think there was a band led by Pipe Major Tammy Campbell, a former Seaforth Highlander. This may also explain why the band wears the Mackenzie tartan, the regimental tartan of the Seaforths.

Tim Ainslie remembers seeing an old picture with three pipers in the front rank wearing kilts, but the three pipers in the 2nd rank were not in uniform. One of these pipers was Tim's dad also called Tim and he was with his brother Tom Ainslie. Tim (junior) also recalls the other piper out of uniform was from a Duns family by the name of Speedie. Bill Speedie was to become Pipe Major of the 2nd Scots Guards during the 2nd World War.

Pipe Major Tammy Campbell lost an arm in a threshing machine accident and this could well be the reason for the disappearance of this fledgling band.

The Piping Ainslies

Tom and Tim Ainslie lived at Cockburn Mill, Preston were their father was the miller. They were taught to play by Jack Forrest who worked at Cumledge Mill. The young brother’s introduction to bagpipes was to prove significant for the future of piping in Berwickshire.

Tom served in the KOSB during the 1st World War as a piper and also acquired enough knowledge of drumming to allow him to teach both instruments. Tom continued his service in the TA after World War 1.

Between the Wars

The years between the wars were not very eventful regards the band itself but Tom Ainslie continued to teach his art, producing some noteable players, the most famous being Willie (Bill) Denholm. Bill went on to be Pipe Major of both the KOSB & The Royal Scots. Two of his compositions are still played widely today; El Alamein which he wrote to commemorate the African desert battle. The other tune, The Royal Scots Polka, he composed in honour of the regiment that he'd served with as Pipe Major.

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