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Go Back   Bob Dunsire Bagpipe Forums > General Discussion > History, Tradition, Heritage
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History, Tradition, Heritage As related to the subjects of piping, drumming and pipe bands.

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Old 09-28-2010, 09:09 AM   #1
aboode
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Default Pipe Band of the U.S. Marine Corps

The U.S. Marine Corps arrived in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, on May 12, 1942 and set up camp at Springtown on the grounds of Beech Hill country house.
Commanding Officer Lt.Col. James J. Dugan USMC, a red-haired Bostonian, was challenged by a British Officer: "You say your Marines can do anything but they can't play the bagpipes". Two weeks later with intensive practice they did.
On the first anniversary of the Marines' arrival on May 12, 1943 in Guildhall Square the first ever Pipe and Drum band in the Marine Corps performed.
In August 1944 the Marine Barracks in Londonderry was disbanded. It was a historic farewell as the battalion marched down the Strand, led by its own bagpipe band playing a favourite Irish air "The Wearing of the Green". The band returned to the States as a unit and performed in War Bond drives.
So far the story of the U.S. Marines Pipe Band. Does anyone have more information about this Pipe Band and its instructors or Pipe Major(s)?
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Old 09-29-2010, 11:15 AM   #2
Iain Sherwood
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Default Re: Pipe Band of the U.S. Marine Corps

The old Marine Pipers Association website had more on this, but I don't think it exists anymore.

This site has some details: http://www.military.com/forums/0,15240,82507,00.html
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Old 09-29-2010, 01:51 PM   #3
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Default Re: Pipe Band of the U.S. Marine Corps

Check out Leatherneck Pipe band.

Regards.
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Old 09-29-2010, 03:09 PM   #4
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Default Re: Pipe Band of the U.S. Marine Corps

I have a copy of an article which appeared in the November 20, 1944 issue of Newsweek about the USMC Pipe Band. I have copies of photos of the band from the USMC (they have a file of 8-10 photos).

No idea of the pipe major. The bass drummer was PFC Kenneth King, jr. from Tampa, Florida. One of the pipers was PFC Thomas Wooten from Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. They placed third in a field of seven bands at a pipe band contest in Dromara, NI on June 26, 1943 and broadcast over the BBC. The band's piping instructor was William Foster, Londonderry, NI.

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Old 09-30-2010, 10:30 AM   #5
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Default Re: Pipe Band of the U.S. Marine Corps

My late pipey, Archie MacLeod was a member of that band as was Neil (Last name escapes me at the moment) another Boston area piper who passed away a few years ago. Archie was born in Connecticut, but his parents moved back to Scotland when he was a child.
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Old 09-30-2010, 10:35 AM   #6
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Default Re: Pipe Band of the U.S. Marine Corps

Quote:
Originally Posted by phinson View Post
I have a copy of an article which appeared in the November 20, 1944 issue of Newsweek about the USMC Pipe Band. I have copies of photos of the band from the USMC (they have a file of 8-10 photos).

No idea of the pipe major. The bass drummer was PFC Kenneth King, jr. from Tampa, Florida. One of the pipers was PFC Thomas Wooten from Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. They placed third in a field of seven bands at a pipe band contest in Dromara, NI on June 26, 1943 and broadcast over the BBC. The band's piping instructor was William Foster, Londonderry, NI.

Paul Hinson
Can you post those pictures somewhere? Some of us may be able to ID some of the pipers.
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Old 09-30-2010, 03:21 PM   #7
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Default Re: Pipe Band of the U.S. Marine Corps

Here's one photo I found online.

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Photo courtesy of George O. Ludcke
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Old 10-01-2010, 05:37 AM   #8
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Default Re: Pipe Band of the U.S. Marine Corps

Here's a marine piper in 1944



and a USMC pipe band today

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Old 10-01-2010, 06:59 AM   #9
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Default Re: Pipe Band of the U.S. Marine Corps

Pancelticpiper
Thank you for sharing these photographs. Very interesting.
Is the second photograph of a USMC Pipe Band or is that the Leatherneck Pipes & Drums (who are not really part of the USMC)?
Aad
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Old 10-04-2010, 09:10 PM   #10
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Default Re: Pipe Band of the U.S. Marine Corps

The Marines don't have a "formal" pipe band. They do have a number of bands, and they've discussed forming a pipe band, but as of now, they've not got around to making it happen. I suspect that this is partly due to the fact hat most of their bandsmen are a product of the public school system. Not many pipers coming out of high school programs these days.

I'm not sure where the 2nd photo comes from. I do know their uniforms are based on Marine dress blues, but they're modified to make them more "Scottish." They're cut like a regulation doublet, but that's not how the Marine Corps wears the uniform. (I know; I did 21 years in the Corps.) Also, a couple of those guys are a few years past their prime. My guess (and it IS a guess...) is that this is a Marine Corps Association band or something of the like.
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