John Kerr, Edinburgh (1922-1995)

One of the great characters of piping in the Edinburgh City Police Pipe Band, who served under both Duncan Cameron and Donald Shaw Ramsay, died on the 15th of February, 1995. John Kerr was famous among other things for his compositions, which included “Rab’s Wedding.”

John was born at Gifford, son of a shepherd. He jointed the Black Watch and later transferred to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, serving in the North African campaign in World War II. He also fought at Monte Casino in Italy and was wounded twice.

He was taught pipes first by Laurie Georgeson and in 1946 when he left the army he went straight into the Edinburgh City Police band. He was a member of the band when it won the World Championship in 1950 and 1954. He left the band in 1964.

John was also a notice Highland dancer, a reedmaker, and an admired composer. He retired from the police force in 1976 and then served as a Justiciary Macer in the High Court in Edinburgh, from which he retired in 1988.

John Kerr died at age 73 in the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh after a short illness. The funeral was held on Saturday 18th February at Warriston Crematorium and was well attended by his many friends throughout the piping world.

He has a great sense of humour and was responsible for quite a number of colourful quotations which are still being used in the pipe band world today. He will be sadly missed by all his friends.

-from Piping Times, June 1995

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