Brother Iain Raymond, a relatively newcomer to freemasonry and the current Junior Deacon of Bedfont Lodge, No. 8381, has one such skill that no doubt has stood him in good stead during his career which has led to a part in an episode of the TV series Call the Midwife which will be televised on Christmas Day. He is a Piper – Bagpipes that is.
Brother Iain has confided that the episode is apparently set in a remote Western Isles village hall.
However, the filming actually took part several months ago in Laleham Village Hall, Middlesex, which was made to represent a 1950s Scottish Village Hall.
His role is to Pipe in all the main characters including star of screen and TV Jenny Agutter, amongst others, into the village hall.
Iain relates that just to do this one shot took the best part of the day and because the bagpipes have a decibel level, over 80db, the sound engineers on the film set had to ensure the balance of sound was just right.
Such was the meticulousness of the Director that Iain’s tartan kilt was deemed too modern and was subsequently kitted out in a kilt of a more ancient tartan.
The whole shoot took most of the day and the actual scene would amount to little more than a few minutes air time.
Even his spectacles were too modern in appearance.
The “Call the Midwife” Christmas Special will be shown on BBC1 Christmas Day at 19:00
MAD MITCH AND THE ARGYLLS –
Brother Iain first started to play the Pipes when he was 14 under the tutelage of Pipe Major John Roe, a friend of his father.
After being appointed Pipe Major himself he has had the opportunity to play the Pipes with various bands around the country and even abroad, including Istanbul, Cairo, Hong Kong, Malawi, Moscow, Venezuela and also at Buckingham Palace in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen at a Garden Party.
This was not before an Army career in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, his family Regiment, who in more recent times gained notoriety by the antics of the Battalion Commander Lt Colonel Colin Mitchell “Mad Mitch” who in 1967 cut through the British policy of neutral peacekeeping in Aden by leading his Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in retaking the terrorist-dominated Crater district.
Apparently Lt Colonel Mitchell on the night of the attack ordered Pipe Major Kenneth Robson to sound the Regimental Charge, “Monymusk”, which as Mitchell recalled, “Is the most thrilling sound in the world to go into action with the pipes playing.
It stirs the blood and reminds one of the heritage of Scotland and the Regiment.
Best of all it frightens the enemy to death.”
Brother Iain was there and no doubt has his own recollection of those tumultuous events.
PIPES A WEAPON OF WAR –
Brother Iain remarked that until 1996 the bagpipes were still classified as a weapon of war.
This goes back to the Battle of Culloden and Bonnie Prince Charlie where a Piper called James Reid who had played the Pipes along with others was captured by the Crown Troops and accused of High Treason.
He pleaded that he had no weapons only the Pipes.
The Judges deliberated that as all Scottish Regiments marched into battle with a Piper at their head it could be deemed a weapon of war.
Poor James Reid was found guilty and hanged drawn and quartered.
The Bagpipes were restored to their rightful classification as a musical instrument only in 1996.
(Click the link below for more information). It is gladdening that Bro Iain will not suffer a similar fate in Middlesex or elsewhere.
A DISTINGUISHED PIPING CAREER
Because of Brother Iain’s heavy and distinguished involvement with the Piping world, this rather set him on the back foot as regards his becoming a freemason, which he has now happily embraced.
He currently teaches the Pipes to the young and also the old in Middlesex, Surrey and West Sussex as well as being a member of 3 Pipe Bands in the South of England and Pipe Major (Musical Director) of a Competition Band.
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