RAF Halton Pipes and Drums

RAF Halton About Us

RAF Halton - About Us

Piping has a firm tradition in the Royal Air Force going back virtually to the formation of the Service and together with a wide range of semi-official corps of drums, brass bands and military bands, provided the basis upon which such prestigious bands as the Central Band of the RAF were formed.

Today, the backbone of the RAF's five pipe bands is provided by RAF tradesmen, their officers and civilian volunteers and are formed on a geographical basis from RAF Stations throughout the United Kingdom. RAF Halton, just outside Aylesbury, is the oldest of these voluntary pipe bands and is considered to be the home of piping in the Royal Air Force.

Ever since Halton was No.1 School of Technical Training in the RAF each of the three wings of aircraft apprentices have had their own Pipe Band to march them to and from the workshops each day - from this tradition the current Halton Pipes and Drums continue to expand.

The RAF's five pipe bands regularly combine to represent the RAF in State ceremonial or other major public events. Indeed, exposure of RAF piping and drumming at home and abroad continues to gain an increasingly high profile and is held in high regard across the piping community. RAF Halton's bandsmen have performed at many high profile events around the world - the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, the Jools Holland Hootenany (BBC1), a Tattoo in Sydney, Australia, a competition in Belgium, a Tattoo in Holland, a festival in Italy and the International Celtic Music Concert in Bordeaux, France, to name but a few. Our pipers and drummers have taken part in British Military Tournaments, RAF Founders Day Parade, Basel Tattoo, the World Pipe Band Championships, Belgian International Tattoo, RAF Leuchars Air Show and the Big Bang & Blow (Poppy Appeal).

The employment of professional Pipe Majors in the RAF has assured the development, ability and standing of RAF piping. The majority of today's band members are civilian with a nucleus of RAF personnel, ranging from the more established musicians to talented up and coming youngsters - all of whom have won awards too numerous to mention.

RAF Halton Pipes and Drums compete regularly in Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association competitions with great success. We also compete once a year against our fellow RAF bandsmen in solo and band contests run by the Royal Air Force Pipe Band Association. With such success over the years in all types of competition we remain the current RAF March winners, as well as the smartest band for drill and turnout. In the civilian RSPBA contests, our colleagues at RAF Waddington were promoted to the same grade as Halton at the end of 2012. This created the opportunity for us to combine forces, and in 2013 we competed as RAF Halton & Waddington Pipes and Drums. We were sixth at the World Pipe Band Championships with a third place in piping! There are many recordings on YouTube...

King George V granted permission for the Royal Air Force to wear Grey Douglas in 1937, and RAF Halton adopted Green Douglas in 1968. For the Edinburgh Military Tattoo 2004, bandsmen from the five RAF pipe bands were issued with the RAF Tartan for the first time. This is the tartan we now wear in all states of dress.

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