William Millar Nicholson Duncan Dumbreck was born on December 28, 1866 in Linlithgow, Scotland. He became famous locally as “Piper Drumbeck.” He served in the 1st Black Watch from 1886 and transferred to the Royal Scots in the 1890s.
He was married to Isabella Fairly Dickson on December 24, 1897 and they had three chidren. Isabella died shortly after the birth of their daughter in 1903. He married Annie McPherson on February 17, 1905.
He composed many tunes, some of which are published in David Glen’s Edinburgh Collection and Book 11. But only “Millbank Cottage” has stood the test of time. This popular competition march was composed in 1887 for his sister’s newly built house on Station Road, Uphall, Midlothian.
William Dumbreck died at the age of 68 on February 27, 1935 at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and was buried with full military honours in Linlithgow Cemetery.
JM, December 2007
-with notes from the W. Dumbreck website and private conversations with Dr. William Donaldson.