William Denholm enlisted in the 1st Battalion of the Royal Scots in the 1930s. He was promoted to Pipe Major of the battalion during the war. In 1942, a competition was held in Edinburgh for the composition of a 6/8 march to be named “The Battle of El Alamein,” which Pipe Major Denhom won, although he had not taken part in the battle. It is in four measures, the first two of which were played in slow time at Pipe Major Denholm’s funeral by his friend Captain John MacLellan of the Queen’s Own Highlanders. The tune became popular for a time as a slow march in two parts, its promenance having been forgotten. It is now very rarely heard.
After the Second World War he played in the Edinburgh Police Pipe Band under Pipe Major Donald Shaw Ramsay.
His most famous tune is “The Royal Scots Polka.”
JM, December 2007
-from private conversations with David Murray