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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

PETER STEWART SNIPER AND PIPE MAJOR


Sepoy

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Some years ago, I was fortunate in acquiring the attached photograph of an unknown bewhiskered Piper. He was obviously a Sergeant in a Highland Volunteer unit and a holder of the Volunteer Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.

Unable to recognise the badge on the Cantle (top bit of the sporran), I posted this photograph on the British Medal Forum in their "Men and Women wearing their Medals" section.

Over the weekend, I received several private messages from a gentleman in Canada who has the following photograph of the same chap - obviously taken a few years earlier!

His photo is marked on the back "Stewart (gillie and piper)” and his research has led to the possibility that the chap is Peter Stewart, Head Stalker in the Atholl Forest.

Another BMF Member recognised the cantle badge to be the Perth Highland Rifle Volunteers later the 5th Volunteer Battalion, Royal Highlanders.

I have searched the Volunteer Long Service and Good Conduct Medal roll for “Stewart”s and found an award to 80 Sergeant P Stewart, 5th Volunteer Battalion, Royal Highlanders (Special Army Order 17th January, 1895: Army Order 26th February, 1895). This was the only 5VB award to a "Stewart".

The 5th Volunteer Battalion, Royal Highlanders recruiting area apparently cover the Atholl Forest area.

Other information regarding Peter Stewart indicates, that due to his experience as a Stalker and Piper, and despite being 60 years of age, he became a Pipe Major in the Scottish Horse and served as a sniper at Gallipoli.

Apparently, the publication “The Piper in Peace and War” by C A Malcolm also adds that he was awarded the Serbian Order of Karageorge for his Great War service.

However, a search of the Medal Issue Cards shows the only Scottish Horse Peter Stewart as 79 (later 15001) Private Peter Stewart. The card confirms that he landed in Gallipoli on 1st September, 1915 and was awarded a 1914-15 Star trio.

There is no mention of the rank of Pipe Major and I can find no MIC to a Pipe Major in the Scottish Horse. Unfortunately, no service papers appear to have survived. A search of the London Gazette does not even show up the award of a Karageorge.

Can anyone in the Great War Forum add any additional information about this interesting man or a photograph of Peter Stewart as a Pipe Major in the Scottish Horse to confirm whether the photographs are of him.

Thanks for your help.

Sepoy

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This book might help for his pre-ww1 service:

https://archive.org/details/recordsofscottis00grierich

Apologies if you have already accessed it. Do you know which area he originally hailed from? I have researched Seaforth VB in the past and found them on the census and they have given their occupation including their rank. If they served for a long time, it is helpful to use the census as you can track their movements because if they married and had children, the different birth places of their children is given.

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Sepoy

Be aware that Pipe Major, or Sergeant Piper during those years, is an appointment and not a rank. The actual rank of a PM may be anywhere from Sergeant through WO. So, PM may not appear on his MIC. Thus, the Scottish Horse Peter Stewart should still be a viable possibility IMO.

Mike

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Mike

The rank of Pipe Major was downgraded to Sergeant after 1881 and it was only after 1948 that they qualified for WO rank.

See the controversy of this rank vis a vis Pipe Major William Ross, 2nd Scots Guards who became the first Director of Army Bagpipe Music after the Great War. A Drum Major and Bandmaster could outrank him.

So good to see you Seaforths. Hope all is well.

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Great to see you here namesake78! Things are not so good :( and most of my communication is via iPhone or iPad at the moment. Is that your Maine I spy as your avatar now?

I asked where he hailed from because he might be in a roll of honour for those that served which might give more background information. I have researched two brothers who were initially raised in Morayshire and moved to Aberdeenshire. One of them served in the Scottish Horse, ASC and Gordon Hrs. He was wounded but survived and appears in the Morayshire Roll. By contrast his older brother served from 1914 in the RAMC reaching the rank of Major. He died of wounds in 1918 but he isn't in the Morayshire Roll however appears in Aberdeen where he studied medicine.

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Many thanks for all your comments and advice.

Unfortunately, I am only aware of him being the head stalker at Blair Atholl and have no idea as to where he was born. Accordingly, I have not managed to track him down on the census returns. I had hoped that someone on the Forum might have been aware of him due to going to war with the Scottish Horse in his 60s.

I will probably need to contact the Scottish Horse archives or Blair Atholl to take the research further.

Sepoy

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Many thanks for all your comments and advice.

Unfortunately, I am only aware of him being the head stalker at Blair Atholl and have no idea as to where he was born. Accordingly, I have not managed to track him down on the census returns. I had hoped that someone on the Forum might have been aware of him due to going to war with the Scottish Horse in his 60s.

I will probably need to contact the Scottish Horse archives or Blair Atholl to take the research further.

Sepoy

This could be something or nothing. If it is something, it will give you a foothold to follow him up on later census. Tired eyes but the only Peter Stewarts I could find:

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1871 census came from this site: http://www.borenich.co.uk/1871%20census.html

If you think he was around 60 years old in WW1 then Peter Stewart aged 12 in 1871 might be him?

Edit: You could also try looking through the Stewart births in the other homesteads here http://www.borenich.co.uk/Births/Borenich%20Births.html

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Great to see you here namesake78! Things are not so good :( and most of my communication is via iPhone or iPad at the moment. Is that your Maine I spy as your avatar now?

I asked where he hailed from because he might be in a roll of honour for those that served which might give more background information. I have researched two brothers who were initially raised in Morayshire and moved to Aberdeenshire. One of them served in the Scottish Horse, ASC and Gordon Hrs. He was wounded but survived and appears in the Morayshire Roll. By contrast his older brother served from 1914 in the RAMC reaching the rank of Major. He died of wounds in 1918 but he isn't in the Morayshire Roll however appears in Aberdeen where he studied medicine.

Likewise, great to hear from you. And yes that's Pelusa the Maine Coon who loves the snow and lives up to her origins!

I'll send you a PM tomorrow so we can catch up.

Cheers!

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  • 1 year later...

Hi, I'm sorry but this guy is not Pipe Major Peter Stewart of the Scottish Horse who was also at one time Head Stalker on Atholl Estate.

He does bear some resemblance to Pipe Major Sandy Stewart of the Atholl Highlanders though? I'm not sure what his job was on the estate?

I have a photo somewhere but I can't lay hands on it just now.

Cheers

Jimmy

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This is not a brilliant photo but the Pipe Major in this photo is Sandy Stewart, He's front rank far left and the Sgt in the rear rank far right is Peter Stewart who was also Pipe Major of the Scottish Horse in WW1

Cheers

Jimmy

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This is not a brilliant photo but the Pipe Major in this photo is Sandy Stewart, He's front rank far left and the Sgt in the rear rank far right is Peter Stewart who was also Pipe Major of the Scottish Horse in WW1

Cheers

Jimmy

Great to see that the uniform of the Atholl pipers back then. It survives to this day with hardly any changes, if at all. Colour of the covers perhaps? Thanks for posting!

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  • 9 months later...

Could someone tell me when (year from-to) Peter Stewart was P/M in the Scottish Horse and if he was in the 1st or 2nd Regiment? I would also like to know his year/place of birth (1854?) and year/place of death. Thanks

Aad

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There was also a P/M John Stewart, a fairly well known piper and uncle to P/M GS McLennan (who composed the tune in his honour).

P/M John Stewart was Pipe Major of the 5th Bn Royal Highlanders circa early 1900s and who was from that area as well.

Were John and Peter close relatives?

01:46 minutes into this 'documentary' on the Scottish Horse, there is mention of a head stalker, 'Peter Stewart'.....

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0253zy1

Also mentioned in 'The Shadow of War' by Stewart Binns as 'head stalker'.

Aad......have you seen this? Guy called Peter Stewart alleging that his grandfather was Peter Stewart of the Scottish Horse (and he's provided an email address albeit one from 14 years ago !)

http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/PERTHSHIRE/2001-04/0988276637

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There was also a P/M John Stewart, a fairly well known piper and uncle to P/M GS McLennan (who composed the tune in his honour).

P/M John Stewart was Pipe Major of the 5th Bn Royal Highlanders circa early 1900s and who was from that area as well.

Were John and Peter close relatives?

01:46 minutes into this 'documentary' on the Scottish Horse, there is mention of a head stalker, 'Peter Stewart'.....

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0253zy1

Also mentioned in 'The Shadow of War' by Stewart Binns as 'head stalker'.

Aad......have you seen this? Guy called Peter Stewart alleging that his grandfather was Peter Stewart of the Scottish Horse (and he's provided an email address albeit one from 14 years ago !)

http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/PERTHSHIRE/2001-04/0988276637

Ron,

I have John Stewart on my list of Pipe Majors as follows: born 1853 Edinburgh, died 1913. P/M 5th Bn Black Watch from 1902; P/M 3rd Vn Bn Black Watch around 1908.

And I just sent an email to Peter Stewart, but I don't know if this New Zealand email address still exists; we'll see. Just got a message back saying that the "message could not be delivered".

Regards

Aad

Edited by aad boode
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Ron,

I have John Stewart on my list of Pipe Majors as follows: born 1853 Edinburgh, died 1913. P/M 5th Bn Black Watch from 1902; P/M 3rd Vn Bn Black Watch around 1908.

And I just sent an email to Peter Stewart, but I don't know if this New Zealand email address still exists; we'll see. Just got a message back saying that the "message could not be delivered".

Regards

Aad

Aad......Peter Stewart, the grandson also appears to have used the following email address in the past. You might like to try this one......

ceartmatha@hotmail.com

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Aad......Peter Stewart, the grandson also appears to have used the following email address in the past. You might like to try this one......

ceartmatha@hotmail.com

Ron,

I tried that email address but again, the message could not be delivered.

Aad

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Ron,

I tried that email address but again, the message could not be delivered.

Aad

The grandson (Peter Stewart) appears to be a piper based in New Zealand. I tried looking at the member lists of various piping related forums and websites of various pipe bands in NZ, but couldn't identify him. Perhaps you could post a message on Bob Dunsire's asking if anyone knows him or has his contact details? Just a thought.

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