James McIntosh Laurie

-Pipe Major- (b.1884)

Known primarily as the composer of the four-parted 3/4 march “Torosay Castle,” ‘Jack’ Laurie joined the Gordon Highlanders in 1899 and transferred to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in 1908, where he was appointed Pipe Major two months later. He held this post until 1922.

He was a pupil of G. S. McLennan’s and in 1913 he won the last Gold Medal at Inverness before competitions were suspended for the war. He also won the Strathspey and Reel and was second in the Marches that year.

He was the first Pipe Major to land in France during the Great War in August, 1914.

In 1911, 1920 and 1921, he was appointed Adjudicator by the Glasgow Municipal Authorities for junior and senior pipe band competitions.

In her book, ‘Piping Traditions of Argyll’, Bridget MacKenzie notes:

In 1909, G. S. McLennan made a 6/8 march in four parts, and after his deal, his son George gave it the name “Pipe Major J. Lawrie,” as he knew his father ‘thought highly of Jack Lawrie’s playing and compositions.’ Jack had been Pipe Corporal to G.S. when both were with the Gordons.

JM, April 2010
-with notes from ‘Piping Traditions of Argyll’, by Bridget MacKenzie (2004), and ‘Pipers of the Highland Regiments, 1854-1902’,by R.H. Crawford (2009).