This is a short historic timeline of how the Cape Town Caledonian Pipe Band started and where we are today:

1924 – The Beginning of the Road
The Cape Town Caledonian Society Pipe Band was formed in 1924HendersonPipes wearing the MacKenzie tartan. At the same time, a Sir Mackie Bart of Glenreasdell, Scotland (engravings on the chanter stock ferrule
), presented the Pipe Band with a number of sets of Henderson bagpipes (quantity unknown), of which four are still in the band’s possession today.

1939 – Outbreak of World War II

At the outbreak of the Second World War the band was dismembered because a number of the band members enlisted in the Armed Forces. Once peace had been declared the Pipe Band was reformed 1946.

1949 – New Beginning

Mace1In 1949 the word ‘Society’ was dropped from the band name, and so became the Cape Town Caledonian Pipe Band. The reason for this, the band no longer was under the financial control of the Society

On the 20th of June 1949, His Worship the Mayor of Cape Town. Councilor H.E. Gearing presented a Mace to the band to commemorate the City’s official adoption of the Cape Town Caledonian Pipe Band.

The fact the Pipe Band was in serious need of uniforms at the time, a grant was received from the City of Cape Town to aid the band’s needs.



Photos from the City of Cape Town adoption ceremony, 20th June 1949.

1980 – Formation of the Cape Town Piping Society Pipe Band

In 1980, Ted Hey, who served as Pipe Sgt for the Cape Town Highlanders during World War II, bought all the uniforms from the defunct Port Elizabeth City Pipe Band who wore the Ancient MacDonald tartan. He then recruited a few ‘retired’ members of the Cape Town Caledonian Pipe Band and some youngsters he had tutored to form the Cape Town Piping Society Pipe Band.

1981 – Amalgamation of Bands

During 1981 negotiations to amalgamate both bands resulted in the Cape Town Caledonian Pipe Band becoming the Cape Town Piping Society Pipe Band – although the Callies band had insisted that some part of their name be retained. However, this never materialized.

1982 – New Tartan

in 1982 the new Cape Town Piping Society Pipe Band resulted, wearing the Ancient MacDonald tartan.

1989– From Ceremonial to Argyle

It was in 1989 that the band changed from wearing Ceremonial dress to the more comfortable Argyle uniform, which is now the accepted dress of all civilian pipe bands world wide.

2000 – Back to Caledonian

In 2000, under new leadership, the pipe band’s name was once again changed back to the Cape Town Caledonian Pipe Band. A unanimous decision agreed upon by all the band members.

The band still wears the Ancient MacDonald tartan today.


Prior to 1997, band sponsorship didn’t seem to be a necessity, the fact that the pipe band did not travel to major competitions, which were held in Johannesburg and Amanzimtoti.

However, in 1997 the Cape Town Piping Society, under Pipe Major Jim Wilson, decided it was time to compete up country at all the major Gatherings. The band was fortunate to compete at a number of Champion of Champion competitions, but only until 2016, as it worked out far too expensive to cover all costs (transport and accommodation).

In 2006, the Cape Town Caledonian Pipe Band got its first and only sponsorship from Mr Ian Black of CARECROSS Health. It was due to his kind sponsorship that the band was able to attend at least two competitions a year during 2006 and 2007.

But now, as with most pipe bands, sponsorship is extremely difficult to come by

Previous Pipe Majors:

Date Name Description
1924 – 1930’s Pipe Major Sandy Cruickshanks Being a Pipe Major before the 2nd World War, it is believed that he could have been the first Pipe Major in the band. So we are probably looking at 1924 – 1930’s
1930’s – 1944, 1946 – 1970 Pipe Major George ‘Knobby’ Clark R.M Ex Royal Marine
1970 – 1974 Pipe Major Ian Clark Ian Clark (son of P/M Knobby Clark), took over the Pipe Major’s armband
1975 – 1981 Pipe Major Roger Hendry
1982 Pipe Major Ted Hay
1983 – 1987 Pipe Major Des Martin Retired from piping in 2007
1988 – 1999 Pipe Major Jim Wilson
2000 – Present Pipe Major Tony Reis