Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria

To be Sold on: 17th March 2021

Estimate: £4,000 - £5,000

The important Victoria Faithful Service Medal awarded to Mr William Ross, late Pipe-Major, The Black Watch, personal Piper to Her Majesty Queen Victoria during thirty-seven years 1854-91; his death was “deplored by the Queen” who sent a wreath of yellow immortelles, bearing the inscription, “A mark of regard from Victoria RI.”

Victoria Faithful Service Medal, with additional ‘10’ year bar, reverse officially engraved ‘To Mr. William Ross Piper, For Faithful Services to the Queen during 22 Years 1876’, edge embossed as usual ‘Presented by Queen Victoria 1872’, complete with original tartan ribbon; together with Germany, Hesse, Medal of Merit, Grand Duchess Alice, bronze, unnamed as issued, the first with contact wear, nearly very fine, the second good very fine (2) £4,000-£5,000

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The important Victoria Faithful Service Medal awarded to Mr William Ross, late Pipe-Major, The Black Watch, personal Piper to Her Majesty Queen Victoria during thirty-seven years 1854-91; his death was “deplored by the Queen” who sent a wreath of yellow immortelles, bearing the inscription, “A mark of regard from Victoria RI.”

Victoria Faithful Service Medal, with additional ‘10’ year bar, reverse officially engraved ‘To Mr. William Ross Piper, For Faithful Services to the Queen during 22 Years 1876’, edge embossed as usual ‘Presented by Queen Victoria 1872’, complete with original tartan ribbon; together with Germany, Hesse, Medal of Merit, Grand Duchess Alice, bronze, unnamed as issued, the first with contact wear, nearly very fine, the second good very fine (2) £4,000-£5,000
Provenance: Sotheby, July 1975. The Hessian Medal of Merit is representative of that awarded to Ross in 1890 and has been added for display purposes.

Faithful Service Medal presented at Balmoral, 24 May 1876.

William Ross was born in the Parish of Knockbain, Ross-shire, on 27 March 1821. He enlisted into the 42nd Royal Highlanders at Inverness on 1 March 1839, aged 17, was promoted to Corporal in March 1851, and to Sergeant (Pipe-Major) in January 1853. He was appointed to the rank of Pipe-Major on 1 April 1854. He served at Corfu, Malta and Bermuda until selected to be Queen Victoria’s personal Piper, when he was ‘Discharged free to fill situation of H.M. Piper,’ on 11 May 1854. The Queen was “so pleased with the Highlanders, that when she decided to have a Piper, she chose Pipe-Major Ross.” He was a “good all-round performer on the pipes and well versed in pipe music.” He won the Stirling and Bannockburn Medal for Best Pibroch in 1852; 1st Place in Marches and Strathspeys and Prize Pipe at the Northern Meeting in 1853 and 1st Place in Marches by the Glasgow Celtic Society in 1858. He established a bagpipe-making business in London and compiled a book of 40 pibrochs and 437 marches, strathspeys and reels. He was appointed Groom of the Great Chamber in 1869 and accompanied the Queen to Windsor, where he resided at Crathie Villas. He received the Faithful Service Medal of the Royal Household for twenty-two years service in May 1876, and received his clasp to mark thirty-two years in Royal service a decade later. He also received the Duchess of Alice Medal for the Queen’s visit to Darmstadt in 1890. Piper William Ross died at Windsor on 10 June 1891, following a short illness of asthma. His death was “deplored by the Queen” who sent a wreath of yellow immortelles, bearing the inscription, “A mark of regard from Victoria RI.”