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Historic first for band brothers

Two Scottish brothers have created their own piece of Army history by performing together as Drum Major and Pipe Major.

Since the formation of The Royal Regiment of Scotland (SCOTS), there has never been a sibling combination to hold the appointments at the same time. This is also believed to be an Army-wide first, not just within the regiment.

Colour Sergeant Peter and Sergeant Ruaridh Grant, from Braemar, proudly led the Pipes and Drums of the 4th Battalion (4 SCOTS) at the pass out parade of the Guards at the Infantry Training Centre, Catterick.

Although Peter, 33, has already been established in his appointment for a year, this is the first time since his brother, 28, took up the role of Drum Major with 4 SCOTS that they have had the opportunity to perform together.

The brothers attended Aboyne Academy, Aberdeenshire, before enlisting into the Army in 2005 and 2010 respectively.

Although both are highly skilled and qualified musicians, they are also trained assault pioneers and professional infantry soldiers who have separately had the opportunity to tour and serve in Canada, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, USA, Russia, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Iraq and Afghanistan.

In April this year, Peter had the honour of being the lone Piper at the funeral of HRH Prince Philip, Royal Colonel of 4 SCOTS. His performance was broadcast to nine million people worldwide and was the only solo musician event of the whole ceremony. 

For this to happen and for us to reach this unique milestone as a first in the Regiment and perhaps the Army consumes me with pride. Colour Sergeant Peter Grant

He said: "Since I was a teenager it had always been my ambition to become Pipe Major of 4 SCOTS and I always believed that one day I would achieve it.

"I never thought that years down the line my brother would be serving in the same band as me as the Drum Major, not even when I took over a year ago.

"It will make my time as Pipe Major that bit more special! It was a great feeling conducting the parade together last week. I have to say my younger brother is a smart Drum Major!"

Ruaridh added: "Myself and Peter are two of four brothers and we get on very well. Peter is my oldest brother and has always given me advice.  

"He has a lot of passion for the job and that has certainly rubbed off on me over the years. I was really proud to be on parade with him last week. We will both always remember it."

I never thought I would join the Army, let alone become Drum Major, and I am thankful that he encouraged me to pursue this career path. Sergeant Ruaridh Grant

The next 12 months will see Catterick-based 4 SCOTS Pipes and Drums perform in a major movie shoot, deploy to Gibraltar on Exercise Tarik Patrol, perform at Armistice remembrance events and prepare for the 2022 competition season.

In most recent years 4 SCOTS Pipes and Drums have toured around the world as far as Australia, New Zealand and the USA.

They have taken part in UK events such as the arrival of HM The Queen at Holyrood Palace and Balmoral Castle, state visits at Buckingham and Blenheim Palaces and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

The band also competed in many Highland Games and piping championships and won the titles of European and UK Champions in their grade. They are also the current Army Pipes and Drums champions.

Over the last 15 years, the regiment has deployed to almost every theatre of operations the British Army has been involved in; conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia and Northern Ireland, supporting peace operations in Cyprus, West and North Africa and giving support to UK Civil Authorities to deal with flooding and the COVID-19 pandemic.