Tag Archives: Post 35 – San Jose

Canadian Legion Pipe Bands in the Bay Area

A rich part of the history of the Royal Canadian Legion has been its pipe bands.  Below are a brief description and some images from two of the Legion pipe bands that used to exist in the Bay Area.

Taken from Northern California Pipe Bands That Have Faded Into History.


Tartan: 1) Royal Stewart

2) Hunting MacPherson

  • Pipe Majors: Schwan

No idea when this was formed. It was operating in the early 50’s though as the dates on the photos show. The band met in the basement of the Berkeley Veteran’s Memorial Building on Center Street and was loosely sponsored by the Legion. No (or little) funds but the occasional job or recommendation for a job. They were poor – so was the band. Old, Royal Stewart kilts, ancient drums and that was about it for equipment. Everything else you bought yourself. The main source of income was a dinner that the band put on once a year in the dining room of the Vet’s Building. Perhaps two or three performances.

The band was, as the photos show, tiny. It never got any bigger as I recall. It neither played or drilled well but no one seemed to care about that much at the time. Eventually enough money was on hand to buy new “Hunting” MacPherson kilts which were the flimsiest material ever seen on the face of the earth. Grey and ugly too.

John Short and Don Fiddes quit the band in 1956 or so to join the Caledonian Band in San Francisco and I followed them about six months later when it became clear that the Berkeley band was soon to collapse and there would be a chance to continue playing at a higher level.

The first drum instructor was an old WWI Scottish vet named Gordon Muir, who may well have played with the MacFarlane Band along with “Brick” Johnson and Archie MacLennon (both eventually at Piedmont High) who later became the organizer/promoter and piping instructor (respectively) there. [by Rick Coffee]

Photo courtesy of Rick Coffee

Phelan Stewart Boyd

Schwan Short McPherson Fiddes

Berkeley Post No. 113 Canadian Legion Pipe Band (1950). Antioch Fair Parade

Photo courtesy of Rick Coffee

Short McPherson Schwan Fiddes Stewart

Coffee Unknown Boyd

Berkeley Post No. 113 Canadian Legion Pipe Band (1951)


Tartan: 1) Grey/Hunting MacPherson

2) Nova Scotia


Photo courtesy of Phil Lenihan

Front Rank (L to R): Dick Boyd Phil Lenihan Guy Bennett PMaj John McPhee. In front: DMaj Russ Sholl

Royal Canadian Legion (1970 approx.) Shopping

Photo courtesy of Phil Lenihan

L to R: PMaj John McPhee Calum Logan Dick Boyd Phil Lenihan David More David More’s daughter

Royal Canadian Legion (1971 approx.) Northwest YMCA, Cupertino, CA

Photo courtesy of Phil Lenihan

DMaj Bill Irwin David Laird Robert Witten Guy Bennett David Bennett Unknown Rich Peterson Callum Logan Archie Kelly Phil Lenihan Dan Dempsey PMaj John McPhee

Dave Maich Tony Fuentes Unknown James Brown

Royal Canadian Legion (1972 approx.)

Photo courtesy of Phil Lenihan

L to R: Dick Boyd Guy Bennett David More (back) Neil Serkland PMaj John McPhee David Maiche (bass)

Royal Canadian Legion (1970 approx.) Shopping Center

Originally available from https://siliconvalleypipeband.org/read-me

Canadian Legion Pipers – San Jose (1940-1950)

Title: Canadian Legion pipers

Creator: Unknown

Contributing Institution: History San Jose Research Library

Collection: History San Jose Online Catalog

Rights Information: Please contact the contributing institution for more information regarding the copyright status of this object.

Description: Canadian Legion pipers from San Jose post, marching in parade in front of the American Trust Company Bank building, with the Bank of America building in the background.

Type: image

Format: Black & White, Developing-out Paper

Identifier: 9207E0F7-2146-45B2-87E2-135286024955

Originally available from https://calisphere.org/item/427f6f2af78de26e821b8b29b0c5d9f9/