George Stoddart

-Pipe Major, BEM- (1912-1990)

Pipe Major George Stoddart in 1956.

Pipe Major George Stoddart, BEM, was born in 1912 in Leith, near Edinburgh. He enlisted in the 2nd Battalion The Cameron Highlanders at age 14 as a boy piper and remained with them until shortly before the start of World War II, when he transferred to the Royal Scots Fusiliers as Pipe Major. He also served as Pipe Major with the 5th Scottish Parachute Regiment during the War and was also with the Liverpool Scottish for a short time.

After the War, he was posted to Edinburgh as the Lowland Brigade Pipe Major and worked closely with Pipe Major Willie Ross conducting the preliminary course for potential pipe majors. When the Edinburgh Military Tattoo started, he was the Lone Piper for many years and became known as the ‘original lone piper’.

In 1959, he retired from the Army and opened a shop with R.G. Hardie in the Lawnmarket just down from Edinburgh Castle. During this time he founded the Eagle Pipers’ Association which quickly became a well known and respected piping organisation. He was a senior piping adjudicator and was affectionally known as ‘Uncle George’.

He died in Edinburgh in 1990.

April, 2008


  • This man was my uncle, I was often in the shop with his son Gavin, whom we all know made his father proud

    • During my first trip to Scotland I was a 19-year-old greenhorn and George and his wife were very kind to me at the Portree games. They were stewarding and it was my first time competing in Scotland (1974). I’ll always remember their kindness in making sure I knew where I was to be and when.

  • As a 16yr old in 1972, I would go for lessons to PM Stoddart in the Celtic Lodge, Lawnmarket, Edinburgh. I will never forget him, with his dram and raw black pudding! He took snuff and lessons were a step back in time – stories, background to tunes and his insistence on getting the fingering accurate – no rattling off tunes in a haphazard fashion. He always maintained that you were not a real piper unless you played pibroch…..citing the then PM of Edinburgh City Police as an example! No names!

  • My brother Chris Crowe used to have lessons with the great man in the 70’s. He learned pibroch and used to play at the eagle pipers on Wednesday nights if I’m not mistaken. My old man would drive home drunk as a lord, changed days indeed!

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