Former Drum Majors of The Calgary Highlanders
Sgt Ben Forrest
Sgt Forrest joined the Calgary Highlanders as an infanteer in 2002. He has instructed on several military courses and was employed as section commander from 2013 to 2015. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 and to domestic operations fighting fires in BC in 2003 (OP Pereguine) as well as flood mitigation in Calgary in 2013 (Op Lentus). In 2016 The Calgary Highlanders command team appointed Sgt Forrest as Drum Major to bridge the gap between the rifle companies and the pipes and drums and to bolster the leadership in the Pipes and Drums. Since his appointment he has completed a Drum Major workshop instructed by world renown, Drum Major Kevin Conquest and a Drum Major course run by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He has been Drum Major on several local, national and international parades including Fortissimo 2016 in Ottawa and the Canadian Contingent for the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy in France.
Outside of the Army Reservesc completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Calgary in 2009. He then completed a Master’s of Science in Structural Analysis of Historical Constructions through a joint-university program in Portugal and Spain in 2012. Sgt Forrest worked in industry as a structural engineer designing residential and commercial buildings from 2013-2017 until returning the University of Calgary where to pursue a PhD program in civil engineering with the goal of becoming a professor and researcher of civil engineering, specifically in his area of research: developing smart materials and structures using innovative materials. Sgt Forrest also runs a consulting company and continues to consult on residential projects.
In 2019, Sgt Forrest was commissioned to Lieutenant and transferred to 41 Combat Engineer Regiment as an Engineering Officer.
Mister Steve Patterson
Steve Patterson was a long time member of the Pipe Band community in Calgary, serving as a piper in the City of Calgary Police Service Pipe Band as well as a volunteer piper in The Calgary Highlanders Regimental Pipes and Drums, being appointed Pipe Sergeant with the latter under Pipe Major Michael Giles. His many years of experience in training, competition, and performance at national and international events led to his appointment as Drum Major. He departed the Pipes and Drums in the summer of 2012.
Mister Jim Stewart
While his son Donald was learning to play bagpipes in the Cadet Pipes and Drums, James (Jim) Stewart was no stranger to the band room or Armouries balcony. His keen interest in the workings of the regimental Pipes and Drums paid off when Pipe Major Rhodes enticed him to join the band as a civilian volunteer. For a time, the Regiment paraded two Drum Majors; Kent Griffiths and his protégé, Jim Stewart. Born in 1946 in Campbeltown, Argyllshire, Scotland, Stewart brought a booming parade square voice to his appointment, with an appropriate Scottish accent. Stewart’s previous military experience had been as a submariner in the Royal Navy from 1964 to 1972. In July of 1980 he moved to Calgary and worked steadily afterwards as a City of Calgary Building Inspector. He and his wife Margaret also have a daughter. The Drum Major’s uncle had served as a drummer in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. Jim Stewart served as Drum Major until 2008, returning for a second tour which ended in April 2011.
Warrant Officer Kent J. Griffiths, CD
A complete bio of Kent Griffiths is included on the RSMs page; after serving with the Colour Party, Griffiths was attached to the Pipes and Drums despite having no experience as a member of the pipe band. His knowledge of drill, discipline, dress and deportment served him well in his new position and he managed to set new high standards for himself and for the entire Pipes and Drums – evidenced by his win in 1996 of the Drum Major’s Competition at the Canmore Highland Games. Griffiths led the band on many out of country excursions; to Colorado and later to The Netherlands in 1994 and 1995.
As Drum Major, Griffiths was keen on educating Calgary Highlanders about their regimental traditions, and ensuring their perpetuation. He often led the unit in a rousing rendition of “Glenwhorple” during the open messes that followed regimental parades, and, as shown at right, always led the Regiment’s war cry whenever the Pipes and Drums broke into “The Black Bear.”
Warrant Officer Brian S. King, CD
Brian Stanley King was born in 1954 in Calgary; he joined the Royal Canadian Air Cadets in 1967 before transferring to 2509 Royal Canadian Signals Cadet Corps. In January 1970 he joined the Calgary Highlanders and trained as an infantryman and as a piper. In 1971 he was promoted corporal and appointed section commander, and in 1973 Corporal King served with 3 Mechanized Commando in Baden-Solingen, West Germany, for four months of NATO exercises.
In 1973, Corporal King joined the Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) – a regular force armoured regiment – and returned to the Highlanders after two years. Promotion came in 1977; and in 1981 Sergeant King served on a United Nations observer mission in the Golan Heights. Promotion to Warrant Officer followed in 1985, along with the appointment of Pipe Sergeant. In 1989 he completed the Drum Major’s Course at the Canadian Forces School of Music and was appointed Drum Major of the Calgary Highlanders.
In 1990, six Calgary Highlanders musicians went to the United Kingdom to train with the Scottish Division of the British Army for four weeks, the culmination of which was three days of performances as part of the Beating of Retreat by the Massed Pipes, Drums and Military Bands of the Scottish Division (and affiliate Commonwealth regiments) on Horse Guards Parade, London, the final show being performed for the Royal Family. Drum Major King took his place at the head of the Massed Pipes and Drums as one of the Canadian Contingent’s Drum Majors. On return to Canada, the Drum Major led the Pipes and Drums on parade during the Presentation of Queen’s Colour ceremony at McMahon Stadium.
Commissioned as an officer in 1995, Lieutenant King served for several years as the Curator of the Regimental Museum, and moved on to a position with 41 Canadian Brigade Group Headquarters.
Corporal Robert J. Cater
During the Nova Scotia International Tattoo in 1989, Robert (Rob) Cater performed the duties of Drum Major of the Calgary Highlanders though he was never officially appointed to that position. Cater had started his musical career as one of the initial wave of recruits to the newly re-activated 2137 (Calgary Highlanders) Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps pipe band. After several years as a bass drummer in the Regimental Pipes and Drums, Cater left the military and pursued a career with Corrections Canada, following in the footsteps of his father, Walter Cater. Both Walter Cater, and Rob’s sister Carol, held positions with the 2137 Cadet Corps at various times.
Master Corporal John Levitt
Sergeant Pat Gibson
Sergeant William Donovan
1983 – 1984
A complete biography of Drum Major Donovan can be found on the RSM page.
At left, a photo of Drum Major Donovan receiving the Canadian Forces Decoration for 12 years service in 1983-84. Next to Drum Major Donovan is Master Warrant Officer Joe Doucet, who enlisted originally into the Victoria Rifles before their disbandment in 1965. MWO Doucet later served in the Calgary Highlanders until his retirement in the 1990s. Presenting the awards is Major Glaser, formally of the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada. Drum Major Donovan originally enlisted in the Brockville Rifles, in 1971. It is worthy of note that the Calgary Highlanders regiment was originally conceived as a Rifle Regiment in 1910 and did not become a Highland Regiment until after 1921.
Sergeant Jim Vick
Sergeant Jim Vick was the last serving member of the Calgary Highlanders to have served in the Canadian Army in the Second World War.