William Grieve

(1945 - )

William Grieve was born 1st of February, 1945 in Dundee, Scotland.  He began piping lessons in the Boys Brigade at the age of 12 under Pipe Major Harry Troup.  Later, at the age of 14, he studied under Bob Pitkeathly and then joined the NCR Pipe Band under the direction of Pipe Major Jimmy McIntosh in the same year.

In October of 1961 he joined the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders as a boy soldier at Fort George under Pipe Major Donald MacLeod.  Two years later, in 1963, he joined the 1st Battalion Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders under Andrew Pitkeathly, who was the son of his former tutor, Bob, with whom he studied before entering the service.

During his tenure under Pipe Major Kenny Robson in 1967 where they marched into the Crater district of Aden.  One night he was “doodling away on the practice chanter” and out came the melody for a tune which he later received permission to entitle, The 1st Battalion Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders Entry into Crater.

Willie Grieve (right) presents his composition “Jake Mutch’s Cascading Spree,” to Warrant Officer Jake Mutch while Pipe Major Malcolm MacGillivray plays the tune, 1973.

He attended the Pipe Majors’ Course at Edinburgh Castle under John A. MacLellan in 1966-67 and was then appointed Pipe Major of Balaklava Company of The Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders in December of 1970.  The Battalion were reduced to company strength owing to the “government white paper” as the term was used.  He was retained as Pipe Major as the Battalion was reformed to full strength until he purchased his discharge from the Army on January 7, 1977.

In 1978, he was employed as Dundee Schools District Bagpipe Instructor replacing Jimmy McIntosh after he retired from the post.  In 1979, he was employed with the Royal Guard Regiment in the Sultanate of Oman as instructor for two years.  During this period the band won the Dubai Pipe Band Championship for the two consecutive years.

He and his wife and family emigrated to Calgary, Alberta in 1981.  While in Canada he became involved in the Highland Games circuit and with the help of the Canmore Games President, Sandy Brunch, launched the Canmore Gold Medal competition which lasted five years.

JB, November, 2017
-with notes from William Grieve


  • I believe that William Grieve has since passed away; do you know his year/place of death? Thanks

  • Bill grieve is very much alive

  • Is Bill Grieve still living in Canada? I know he was Pipe Major of the Calgary Highlanders 1981-1983.

  • This message is from Pipe Major William Grieve ex Ist Bn The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and The Calgary Highlanders. I am very much still alive ,but for the future I can give you the direct line to Heaven.

  • Bill, I am pleased to hear that you are still very much alive! My apologies for having incorrect information about you. I am compiling a list of Pipe Majors of military Pipes & Drums worldwide and get my information from many sources. It is sometimes difficult to know what is correct and what is not. Thanks and have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and a long life! Aad

  • *This comment was sent to me by William Grieve:* Aad You don’t have anything to apologise for as there is a lot of incorrect information out there. The Pipe Major in question who passed away was Pipe Major William Grieve from Hamilton Ontario. He was probably well in his seventies when I met him many years ago.I don’t know what band he was Pipe Major of, but when I met him he was a piper with the Argylls Veterans band in Hamilton Ontario.
    Bill Grieve.

  • I guess that “the other William Grieve” is the subject of this obituary: https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/hamilton-on/william-bill-grieve-7187327
    Wishing you a Merry Christmas.

  • George Sinclair

    Bill I have the honour of knowing Robert Robertson Curran who served in the A&S Highlanders with you and he has the Polka tune you wrote for him still framed he constantly regaills us with stories and song he remembers you fondly .

  • Hi uncle bill.ian blues in south africa.my mom was nan grieve

Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *