Upgraded to Grade
1 in 1936, they won on their very first appearance the British
and from then onwards, honours came
to them hard and fast culminating in the coveted World Championship in
1948 and again in 1952.
Of the records available, Tom gained 50 firsts, 20 seconds, 8 thirds
and various other prizes including his major championships which were 5
British, 4 Scottish, 2 Worlds, 3 Cowal and 7 European. He was also
chieftain of the Shotts Highland Games in 1981 at the age of 86 and was
awarded the British Empire Medal for his services to piping. In 1947, Tom
along with his three sons John, Willie and Tom Junior won the Quartette piping
at the Scottish Pipe Band Association indoor competition in Glasgow.
With all those achievements to his credit, Pipe Major
McAllister retired in 1954 and was succeeded by his son John Kerr
MacAllister who ably supported by Drum Major Alex Duthart, added many more
prizes to the already long list of successes and to create a record â€˜at
the timeâ€™ by winning the World Championship four years in succession from
1957 to 1960. In 1959, the band won the â€˜Grand Slamâ€™; that is Scottish,
British, European, Cowal and World Championships, which was the year
before the Champion of Champions table was started. In 1963, the band
suffered a major blow when a considerable number of its personnel, both
pipers and drummers decided to leave. Among these was Alex Duthart, whom
everyone knows was partly responsible for the overall success of the band.
John supported by Drum Major Willie Stevenson was faced with the task of
restoring the band by recruiting young and inexperienced players. Again
records are incomplete, but to his credit, John gained 44 firsts, 20
seconds, 11 thirds and various other prizes including the majors of which
he had 9 British, 5 Scottish, 4 Worlds, 4 Cowal, 4 European and 4 Champion
of Champions. In 1968, Pipe Major John K. MacAllister was forced to resign
from the band partly through ill health and partly due to his commitments
to the SPBA. He was
succeeded by his younger brother Tom McAllister Junior.
In 1969, Drum Major
Stevenson reached the pinnacle of his success by winning the World
Championship at Perth. In 1970, he relinquished his position of leading
drummer to allow Alex Duthart to take over the corps. The band by this
time was back in the winning path and since then have added to their
honours with many successes including the 1970, â€˜73, â€˜74 and 1980 World
Championships, this year being the Jubilee year of the RSPBA Tomâ€™s record
has been 69 firsts, 50 seconds, 34 thirds and various other prizes
including 6 British, 4 Scottish, 4 Worlds, 4 Cowal, 5 Europeans and 4
Champion of Champions. Tom left the band at the end of 1984 due to ill
health and his role was ably filled by Pipe Major James A. Bell (Sandy
Bell as he is better known) for the following 2 years.
In 1982, Alex Duthart again
left the band and his position was taken by Drum Major John Scullion. John
won the World Championship in 1984 and left the band in 1986. Drum Major
Arthur Cook took the corps for the 1986 season.
At the end of 1986, Pipe
Major Robert Mathieson was asked to join the band, which he accepted and
brought with him Drum Major Jim Kilpatrick as leading drummer. Both were
former members of the band and were hoping to bring back success to the
In 1987, a Champion of Champions table was started for drumming and since
then, the corps has won it on 13 occasions. They also won the World
Championship for 11 consecutive seasons, 1988-1998, a record which is
unlikely to be beaten.
Since Pipe Major Mathieson
has been in charge of the band, he has always kept the band in the top 6
of the Champion of Champions table and in 1994, he won his first World
Championship, winning both the Medley and March, Strathspey and Reel
sections, another first for the band as we were the only band to have
achieved this. More World Championship titles followed in 1997,
2000, 2003 & 2005.
2010, Pipe Major Robert Mathieson announced his retirement from the
leadership of the band. Robert's successor was appointed from within the
ranks of the band, when Gavin Walker was appointed by the band as Pipe
The name of Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band is
synonymous with pipe band excellence and treated with the greatest
respect by all in the piping fraternity throughout the world. They have
competed and performed in Canada, U.S.A., Sweden, Germany, France,
Belgium and even the
U.S.S.R. all with distinction and pride as
ambassadors for Shotts, Scotland and the United Kingdom and are classed as
one of the finest ensembles of pipes and drums in the world.
The band's competition
uniform consists of navy blue jackets and waistcoats and the MacLean of
Duart tartan and our Glengarries bare the MacLean clan crest and motto
'Virtue Mine Honour', while we also retain traditional highland dress for
more formal occasions and engagements.
The band boasts a wide and
varied membership, including top female players as well as male. Band
members come from various walks of life to play regularly side by side.
Youth is given a chance to blossom, with the younger players gaining
valuable experience by playing alongside some of the â€˜olderâ€™, longer
serving members of the band.
Although the membership of
the band is mostly Scottish, the band has over the years attracted players
from abroad from places like Australia, Canada, Ireland and South Africa; indeed, the
band has American,
Canadian, Danish, Irish
& French players in the ranks who play beside some of the
bandâ€™s other â€˜travellersâ€™ from all over Scotland as well as the more local members.
has had the good fortune to have appeared on television both at home and
abroad. The band has appeared on BBC â€˜Hogmanay Live' show and on a special broadcast of the
bandâ€™s concert in Ballymena in the BBC Northern Ireland area. The drum
corps has perhaps seen a more varied exposure to the spotlight of
television, appearing on both â€˜Bruce Forsythâ€™s Generation Gameâ€™ and â€˜Jim
Davidsonâ€™s Generation Gameâ€™ on BBC TV at home, â€˜The Kelly Showâ€™ on Ulster
TV and â€˜Tinikaâ€™ on RTL4 in the Netherlands, which had a primetime European wide
audience on both satellite and cable television.