History Series: John Robert “Jack” Coghill was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba. His Scottish-born father (also John Robert) immigrated to Canada in 1908, joined the army and served four years in France during World War I as a Corporal piper with the 21st Eastern Ontario Regiment. Upon returning to Winnipeg to continue police work, in 1920 he formed the Winnipeg Police Pipe Band, became the Band’s Pipe Major and remained in that position until retirement in the early 1950s.
During the years 1971 to 1993 Jack made many very significant contributions to the world of piping, and Pipes and Drums, in the Ottawa area. In 1971 he assisted P/M Archie Cairns with the formation of the Ottawa Branch of the Pipers and Pipe Band Society of Ontario. In 1972, with Archie Cairns as the Coordinator he became the Co-Coordinator in establishing and conducting the first City of Ottawa Highland Games, held on the second of July. During the early years of the Ottawa Branch, he was instrumental in establishing and conducting its indoor piping and drumming contests, which were held in the Cartier Square Drill Hall.