Remembering Braes piper Donald Shaw Ramsay 100 years after his birth

A small crowd gathered in a Polmont cemetery to remember this area – and one of Scotland’s – greatest ever pipers.

Sunday’s short service played out against a backdrop of torrential rain as the birth 100 years earlier of 
Donald Shaw Ramsay was marked.

The Standburn man came from a humble background but would go on to travel the world where he would delight audiences with his bagpipe playing.

After attending Drumbowie school and Falkirk High he took up an engineering apprenticeship in Bathgate.

However, his skills on the bagpipes were already in evidence.

He learned his piping from Pipe Major Sandy Forrest of the Torphichen and Bathgate Pipe Band and went on to become a successful soloist.

At the outbreak of the Second World War Donald joined the Glasgow-based Highland Light Infantry quickly becoming at just 20 the regiment and the British Army’s youngest pipe major.

After the war he joined City of Edinburgh Police and became their pipe major in 1949, twice leading them to victory in the World Pipe Band Championships.

The service in Grandsable cemetery was organised by Tom Leslie, a native of Standburn and led by the Rev. Iain Scoular, as well as including an address from Jim Anderson, the former councillor and convener of Central Regional Council.

Wreaths were laid, including by Provost William Buchanan, and piper Walter Williamson played Donald’s tune Schiehallion, along with the lament Lochaber No More.