Albert “Jock” Stewart

(1927- )

Jock Stewart during his Bermuda years in the early 1960s.
llJock Stewart during his Bermuda years in the early 1960s.

Jock Stewart was born in Aberdeen in 1927 and was taught by his father.

During the 1940s he spent six years as a piper in the 1st Battalion Gordon Highlanders, stationed primarily in Germany and Malaysia. Upon returning to Scotland he also spent a year with the 11th Infantry Training Company at Redford Barracks band under Pipe Major (Big) Donald MacLean of Lewis and Drum Sergeant John Kirkwood Sr. At the time this Grade 1 band was one of the leading bands in the country.

A traveler by nature, in 1953 he went to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) where he settled in Bulawayo. He would serve as pipe major of the Bulawayo Pipe Band from 1954-58.

It was during this time that he became friends with the great piper and composer Peter R. MacLeod Jr., who lived in Rhodesia from 1938-55. They met when Jock played a newly composed 6/8 march that would become “Stewart Robertson, Bulawayo.” Peter MacLeod took to the tune immediately, and in fact played it back to Jock after hearing it that one time. (“He was an amazing talent that Peter MacLeod” Jock recalls.) Peter MacLeod dearly wanted Jock to name the tune after him, but Jock chose to name it after one of his best friends at the time, an Edinburgh man also living in Rhodesia.

In 1959, Jock took a job in the prison system in Bermuda, where he would become the founding pipe major of the Bermuda Pipe Band, which is still active today.

In 1966, he moved to Canada, settling in the Ottawa, Ontario area and working for Metropolitan Life Insurance until his retirement in 1988. At the time of this writing he was still active in the piping scene and composing tunes.

JM, December 2007
-from private conversations with Jock Stewart

1 Comment

  • Patsy Gillanders nee McGrath

    My father was Drum Major of the Bulawayo Pipe Band in the early 1950’s. His name was Ronald Michael McGrath. Do you have any pictures of the band. I would really appreciate any help

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