Bruce Thomson obituary

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Dr Bruce Thomson MA Hons Oxon, 19th November 1930 – 13th January 2020 – died peacefully at home in Crieff, Scotland. 

Bruce Ewan Thomson was born in 1930 in Assam, India, the son of tea planters. Aged six, he was sent back to Scotland for his education. First at Angusfield Preparatory school, then Aberdeen Grammar and finally Glenalmond College in Perthshire. Here Rugby Football soon became his main focus. Representing the school’s 1st XV at all ages. His other great passion was the Highland Bagpipes. At the age of 13 he became the Pipe Major of the school pipe band. One one occasion playing for and then meeting the Queen mother.

On completing National Service with the Gordon Highlanders, Thomson went to Keble College, Oxford University. Here he gained two Rugby Blues in 1951 & 52 and played in several Major Stanley’s matches. In the process garnering the attention of the Scotland coaches, who selected him to represent his country as a prop forward in 1953 against France, Ireland and Wales. A knee injury in the third match ending his international career. Before leaving the University he also managed to pick up a Boxing Blue.

Having graduated from Oxford with an Honours Degree in History, Thomson went on to play for London Scottish and whilst training in medicine he captained the London Hospital’s rugby XV.  He qualified in medicine and spent the next thirty years working as a General Practitioner in Horsham, Sussex whilst raising a family.

Bruce was a prolific composer for the bagpipes, producing almost five hundred tunes over the years. His compositions have appeared in collections by the Gordon Highlanders and the Scots Guards. In later life he retired to Crieff in Perthshire. And on more than one occasion was asked to pipe for the Queen at Holyrood House.

He is survived by his two sons James and Ewan and seven grandchildren.

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