General John de Chastelain, O.C.

Chief of the Defence Staff, Canada's Ambassador to the United States (Retd)

I started playing the pipes at age thirteen in Edinburgh in the school pipe band. In Canada, I joined the Calgary Highlanders and played in its band and subsequently at the Royal Military College. I continued to play during my forty years in the army, sometimes with a band, sometimes for country dancing, once at the Nova Scotia Tattoo, and always for pleasure. I played for the Queen when I was Chief of the Defence Staff; on the few occasions we met afterwards she reminded me of it. When the Cold War ended, I played for the Soviet and Hungarian General Staffs at the Canadian Embassies in Moscow and Budapest, to their great surprise. As Ambassador in Washington, I played for the guests at the Residence, to their surprise also. Soldiers may not think Generals know much, but at least they knew I played the pipes.