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Prince Albert Girls' Pipe Band

The information on the Prince Albert Girls' Pipe Band was provided by Stan Dunville, husband of the late Nellie [Forrest] Dunville, who was a member of the pipe band, and also the daughter of noted Prince Albert piper James Forrest. Our thanks also to the Prince Albert Historical Society for their assistance in providing correspondence, photographs and information.

The following notes about the band were written by Nellie Dunville.

"Formed in 1936. Practiced in this building [former firehall]. Leader and instructor in pipes was James M. Forrest. Bill Rowhead instructed in drumming. Parents of the girls raised money for instruments and uniforms through bake sales, raffles and tag days. The city gave some financial assistance. MacKenzie tartan kilts and green tunics were worn. The band formed part of the parade in Saskatoon at the timre of the visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. They also played in a number of parafdes in Prince Albert and surrounding towns. When Mr. Forrest joined the Veterans' Guard of Canada, Tom Fleming became the leader of the band. Due to depletion of members through moving away and marriage, the band was dissolved about 1944. Three of the girls from the band later joined the Canadian Women's Army Corps Pipe Band. Band members: Iris Still, Lois McConnell, Alice Wilson, Margaret Laidlaw, Lavina Johnston, Marion Gee, Lorraine Ellens, Babe Pirie, Helen Pirie, Phyllis Brouard, Eleanor Patterson, Eleanor Motherwell, Pauline Broderick, Mary MacIsaac, Josephine Siwack, Nellie Forrest, Jean McCulloch Bliss assisted [Highland dance teacher]."

In 1980 and 1981, Nellie Dunville wrote letters about the history of the band to send to the Prince Albert Historical Society, and they give a good account of the history of the band over the years. Read the letters here. [PDF] In those letters, Nellie provided a list of the band members she was able to remember. Because she included other personal details about them, we won't reproduce that here, but here are the names she provided:

Pipers: Iris Still, Alice Wilson (became a member of CWAC Pipe Band), Margaret Laidlaw, Lavina Johnston, Marion Gee, Babe Pirie, Eleanor Patterson, Eleanor Motherwell, Mary McIsaac, Josephine Siwak, Nellie Forrest

Drummers: Lois McConnell, Lorraine Ellens (bass), Helen Pirie, Phyllis Brourard, Pauline Broderick (bass), Pat ?.

Jean McCoullough Bliss was in charge of the band.

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Above, left to right: Nellie Forrest, Phyllis Brourard, Pat Irvine, Iris Still. In front of the Prince Albert Fire Hall, 1942.



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Above, left to right: [back] Bill Rowland (Drum Major), Lavina Johnston, ?, Babe Pirie (Corrigal), Mary MacIsaac, Margaret Laidlaw (McKenzie), Alice Wilson (Middlebrook). ?, Jean Bliss (McCulloch);
[front row] Lois McConnell (Robb), Phyllis Brouard (Kane), ?, Pat Irvine, Helen Pirie.
[married names in brackets]


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The Prince Albert Girls' Pipe Band parading down Central Avenue in Prince Albert, 1942, leading members of the New Zealand Air Force.


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