107 Aberdeen Squadron Air Cadets
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107 Sqn Musical Bands

The Dance / Brass Band

107 Squadron had a large Brass Band in the 1940's supported by Pilot Officer Mackay.   Funding from the Aberdeen Wing Social Committee was granted in March 1945 when it granted £10 (equivalent to £260 today) for band purposes.

The band was both a Concert / Ceilidh / Dance band and a Brass band.   Instruments included Trumpets, Flutes, Alto Saxophone, Piano Accordion etc.   Band members uniform included special tunics.

With the continuation of the war effort and the constraints on general resources additional funding requests in 1945 and 1946 were declined.   In April 1946, Plt Off Mackay resigned from the ATC and without adequate leadership, no further funding was forthcoming.

After 12 months of no activity, OC 107 Sqn undertook to re-kindle the musical talents of his cadets by forming a Pipe Band.   All non-essential Dance/Brass instruments were to be sold off.   It took more than 2 years to sell the unwanted instruments which included: alto saxophone £20, lot to Robert Gordon's College for £42, piano accordion £10, 2 x trumpets, 20 x flutes.

The Pipe Band

In July 1947, Flt Lt Fraser (OC 107 Sqn) requested permission and funding to set-up a pipe band under the direction of Pipe Major Mr William G McKay.   £110 was granted to buy 7 sets of bag pipes and PM McKay was to be paid 10 shillings per week of instruction.

In May 1948, a further 3 sets of bag pipes were purchased at a cost of £16 each (equivalent to £360 each today), increasing the band inventory to 10 sets.   At the request of OC 612 Sqn RAuxAF the band attended 612 Sqn's annual camp at RAF Manston 24-31 July 1948.

After two years of training and practice the pipe band needed to be dressed in kilts and necessary accoutrements.   This was around the time that a new hut was being built and outfitted for 107 Sqn in the grounds of Fairfield House and so funds were once again in short supply.   A successful appeal was made to the Scottish Welfare Council for £135 which was supplemented by local funds and raised to a budget of £150 in Nov 1949.   In 1950, Pipe Major McKay set about procuring the kilts, sporrans and tartan trimmings for pipes to match the kilts.   The necessary alterations were made to the existing tunics and a tiger skin was bought (£5.10/-) for the drummer.   Reeds, drones and drum heads were bought.   By the end of 1950, 107 Sqn had itself a very well dressed pipe band.

By February 1950, the pipe band had started making public appearances.   One of the first performances was at the Tivoli Theatre (now closed) and the band was paid £25; £20 of which was paid to the band members themselves.   Later in the same year the Town Council paid £8 for the band's performance in Duthie Park.

In March 1951, Pipe Major McKay was tasked with securing a busy events diary for the band.   Performances would include annual performances at the Tivoli Theatre and Duthie Park, as well as displays at Pittodrie Football Stadium and Highland Shows.   During the same month, the squadron travelled to Edinburgh to perform in the ATC Massed Pipes and Drums.   In May 1951, 107 Sqn were confirmed as the best squadron in Aberdeen & NE Scotland Wing and the band received special instruction from the Pipe Major of the Gordon Highlanders.   In the summer of 1951 the 107 Sqn Pipe Band, along with other Scottish pipe bands, attended the Farnborough Air Show.

In July 1952, the band took part in 612 Sqn's recruiting week.   In Nov 1952 the band led the march past at the Sir Alan Lees Competition inspection of 107 Sqn (as the best Sqn in the Wing).

On 10 May 1953, pipers from 107 Sqn led a parade of 2240 (Ballater) Sqn and Crathie Detached Flight past Crathie Kirk in front of HM The Queen.   On 2 June, the 107 Sqn band led the RAF and ATC contingents in a parade along Union Street, Aberdeen on the occasion of the Queen's Coronation.   Four days later, the band appeared at the Festival of Youth demonstration at Pittodrie Football Stadium.   In Aug 1953, band equipment was delivered to 2240 (Ballater) Sqn and preparations made for the coming joint parade of 107 Sqn and 2240 Sqn cadets at Crathie Kirk in front of HM The Queen.

The band continued its training and performances through the 1950's and in 1959 the Pipe Major's pay from the Local Committee was £10 per annum.   The running cost (reeds, chanters, pipe bags, drones, drum skins etc) and expenses for the band was up to £50 per year initially, reducing to around £35 per year by late 1950's.  

In June 1960 the band had 18 members with an inventory of 9 sets of pipes, 1 base, 2 tenor and 2 side drums.   Some of the instruments needed an overhaul and the squadron wrote to The MacRobert Trust who granted £105 in November 1960 to the maintenance of the band equipment.   In 1960, the 107 Sqn pipe band played at the opening of 102 (Dyce) Sqn's new HQ.

At this time it was apparent that it was becoming increasingly difficult to retain good attendance and training standards from band members and maintaining instruments was always a busy job.   During 1961 band attendance was generally around 50% and much consideration was given to recruiting additional members.   The Sqn Committee approached the Education Committee to hold evening classes in piping if at least 15 applicants could be found and an advert was placed in the Evening Express in May 1961.

By October 1961 is was considered that perhaps the band needed a change of leadership and after various unsuccessful attempts to find a suitable alternative Pipe Major, and with much regret, the band was dissolved in early 1962.   PM McKay left the ATC in May 1962 after 15 years of dedicated and loyal service.   The search for piping and drumming instructors went on without success and the band never reformed.

In 1962, 20 years of musical bands at 107 Sqn came to an end.

In November 1965, 107 Sqn had a strength of 45 cadets and Flt Lt Adams, the OC at the time, did not feel this was sufficiently strong enough to support a band.   Within the Civilian Committee, hope remained however that a suitable use could one day be found and a decision was made not to sell any of the band instrumentation, despite its deteriorating condition.

Band members included:

W/O William McKayPipe Major1947 1962
W/O James Davidson(founder member)(1947 1951+)
Cdt George Chivas EllisBag Pipes and Tenor Drum(1953 & 1954)

Were you a member of the 107 Sqn Pipe Band?  If you can share any history with us then please contact us here.