respected: Angus Macdonald was known as a gentle Highlander

Angus Macdonald, police officer and Pipe Major; born July 4, 1922, died June 13, 2000

ANGUS Macdonald, a native of North Uist, had many strands to his life. He was a family man who saw wartime service in the Army, a police officer in Glasgow, a leading figure in the world of piping, and latterly a businessman running a kilt-maker's in the city. He was known as a gentle Highlander who never lost his native accent but, by nature of his profession, he could be tough when circumstances demanded.

Mr Macdonald had 28 years' service with the police in Glasgow and became Pipe Major with Glasgow City Police Pipe band in 1958. He was credited with rebuilding the band after a spell when the loss of senior players through retiral meant that its competitive success faltered.

He recruited many of those who provided the foundation for the success of what became the Strathclyde Police Pipe Band. Only the world championship eluded him. The band lifted every other major title.

His piping career was rooted in an Army background - the Cameron Highlanders. He served in the 51st Highland Division and was personal piper to Major General Douglas Wimberley at El Alamein in North Africa. Fifty years on he could still recall the hellish cacophony of gunfire and screams of the wounded. It was a far cry from the crofting world of Uist where he worked alongside his father and played the pipes for relaxation.

He was an early recruit in 1939 and was sent to the barracks in Inverness where he came under the influence of Pipe Major Willie Young, a legendary piping instructor.

Because of his young age, he was barred from the 1940 landings in France, but he was in the right place when General Wimberley was looking for a piper who could speak and write Gaelic. As the division was formed, drawing from a number of Scottish regiments, the general's piper played at social functions and ceremonial occasions. It was very different when they reached Africa, however. ''In that first surge of Alamein, the Scottish pipers led the infantry into battle,'' he recalled. ''I don't know whose idea it was, but it wasn't a very good one. The pipers suffered massive casualties, not least the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, whose piping section was just about wiped out.''

Mr Macdonald usually formed part of Wimberley's personal escort and he recalled one occasion when a change of plan may have saved his life. He was told to give up his place in the general's Jeep to someone with specialist local knowledge. The Jeep was hit by a mortar, killing the driver and the corporal who had taken Mr Macdonald's place.

Mr Macdonald re-joined the Cameron Highlanders in 1943, after 14 days' home leave. He was with them for the D-Day landings in 1944 and at the age of 22 was Pipe Major of the Fifth Camerons in the final drive towards Victory in Europe.

After the war he had a brief spell in the prison service. He transferred to the City of Glasgow Police where he was a welcome recruit to the force pipe band which had its roots in the old Govan force. By coincidence, he ended his career as a Chief Inspector in Govan, a position in keeping with what used to be a tradition that the leader of the pipe band would be based in that division. He rose through the ranks in the police service and in the band becoming Pipe Major in 1958 and latterly band manager. He served as a Chief Inspector in the city's A Division before his final transfer to Govan.

Mr Macdonald was a well-known piping judge and was involved with many of the Highland associations in Glasgow. On his retiral he took over the running of a kilt-making business in the city. He is survived by his wife, Betty, and son and daughter, Iain and Deirdre.