The Rose and Thistle Pipes and Drums is a Gosport and Portsmouth based band, which has been running successfully for nearly 50 years. The bands beginnings are shrouded in mystery. Whether it began in Portsmouth Dockyard or a pub in Gosport is not known but we are certain that it was formed in 1956 and had its first public performance in 1957 at Stokes Bay , Gosport . The original band members were all former serviceman who used to meet up for practice in a school on the Gosport / Fareham border. Two of the known founder members of the band were Mr Jock Ferrigan, who was a Burma Star medal holder, having fought in the campaign, and Mr Harry Robertson, who was a Black Watch Piper of the 1st Battalion, 51st Highland Division.
In the early days, the band used to travel to most of the holiday camps in and around the local area including the Isle of Wight, Hayling Island , Southsea Common and Bognor Regis. They also performed at various galas, competitions and social events. Throughout the years the band has competed in the British and European championships as well as having made many successful European tours, including the French Celtic festivals and the prestigious Cologne carnival.
There have been a number of Pipe Majors with the present one being Nathan Colbern who has been playing on and off with the Band for the last 20 years. Pipe Majors have included:
- Alex Chalmers
- Jimmy Grahame
- Dan Mclarty
- Donald Pitt
- Harry Cochrane
- Archie Cross
- Joseph Fagan
- Donald Pitt
- Nathan Colbern
There is a wealth of experience and knowledge in the band pertaining to the playing of Scottish pipe and drum music. Currently a large proportion of the band are members of the Royal Naval Piping Society and we regularly perform with them. The band also enjoys close relationships with other bands in the South Coast area and frequently join together for various piping shows, which have included the Scottish Tattoo at the Royal Albert Hall.
Waterlooville, Hants May 7th 1960 � Note this early uniform, was an old military style, reflecting the fact that the original members were ex-serviceman. Drum-Major Jock Ferrigan.
Harpendon, June 11th 1960, 2nd place in Competition. Harry Robertson far right, with cigarette in hand.
The Band playing in Gosport – early Eighties. Note: The Band use to have Highland Dancers as a feature of the performance.