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#47: David Grant Sr.

"David Grant Sr. was born in Stratford ON, in 1929 to Scottish parents Catherine Kemp

from Evanton, Scotland and Finlay Grant from Allness, Scotland. Finlay Grant was a cooperman who played the bagpipes until a facial gunshot wound while serving with the Seaforth Highlanders in the Great War resulted in his inability to play a mouth instrument. Miraculously the damage was only to his mouth and he recovered fully. With his piping days over, he learned fiddle to scratch his musical itch. After immigrating to Canada and eventually to Ottawa, Findlay and Catherine started their family. Finlay worked as the caretaker/carpenter at St Andrew’s Church on Wellington Street in Ottawa. He and his wife Catherine lived in an apartment at the back of the church where they raised their two children David and Catherine.

As a young boy, Dave Sr took up the bugle and first played in the Orangeman Parade with the Sea Cadet Navy Drum and Bugle Band. Around nineteen years of age he decided to take up the bagpipes with the Royal Canadian Air Force. Doing well on the chanter, he came to the point where he graduated to the bagpipes, but shortly afterwards his dentist advised that bagpipes were not for him due to a dental problem, so naturally he turned to drumming to continue playing, learning from Jimmy Blackley and later John Kerr from the RCAF. Around 1955 he joined the Governor General’s Foot Guards for a short time as a drummer. Subsequently he decided to join the Campbell Pipe Band in Ottawa (1958-1963) under Pipe Major Ranald Livingston. Bill Livingston was also in the band. The drum corps of the Campbell band was a powerhouse for the day with John Kerr as the lead drummer accompanied by Alec Ross, John Cronin and Dave Grant Sr, and this group of highly talented drummers won many prizes for the corps and the band. [ . . . ] "

Thank you to Dave "Digger" Grant Jr. and Wendy McGillivray for preparing this instalment of Biographies


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