The second Hong Kong Highland Games 1982

The second Highland gathering was held on 19th December 1982 at Stanley Fort, with the assistance of the 1st Battalion Scots Guards. Chieftain Roy Henry, also the Commissioner of Police, said that without their help, the ‘day would not have been possible’ (Hong Kong St Andrew’s Society, 1982). The gathering was well-attended. According to the society’s meeting minute dated 12th December 1982, 1100 tickets had been sold in advance by the society, and 300 tickets would be available for sale at the gate.

Program of the second Hong Kong Highland Gathering

The piping event in 1982 was judged by Pipe Major WO1 Angus MacDonald, whose flight ticket was sponsored by British Caledonian Airways. Angus MacDonald was judging along with Donnie Finlayson, who was asked by the society to judge so as to make the Scots Guards-dominated competition look fair:

I was the judge for the piping, along with pipe major Angus MacDonald who no longer lives […] So, Pipe Major Angus was brought out specially to judge, but then the St Andrew’s Society said: Well, you know who’s going to win, it’s going to be all Scots Guards because they’re all professional! So, we’ll have to have a representative on the bench so that it doesn’t look like a [sic] fixed! So, I was a judge, and I judged, though I didn’t know him (Angus MacDonald) then, and he didn’t know me. (Finlayson, 2018) 

Held on a Sunday, the gathering began with a church service at 9:45 am. Church services are unusual for Highland gatherings nowadays, but this fact suggests the importance of religion for many expatriates in Hong Kong at that time.  It may also indicate the importance of Christianity for the British community in Hong Kong. In terms of piping and drumming events, we can see that they were separated into two groups: open and novice. For open events, the playing requirement was the traditional ‘March, Strathspey and Reel’, while for novice events, it was ‘Slow March and March’. There were also open and novice bugling events, as traditionally, military drummers also play the bugle. It is noticeable that there was a piobaireachd competition, and it was restricted to players in open grade. The restriction is not difficult to understand, as it requires substantial skill and technique to play piobaireachd. It was the only occasion when there was a piobaireachd competition in Hong Kong; there is no evidence of a piobaireachd competition in the subsequent Highland gatherings there.

Pipe Major Jimmy Banks leading his Scots Guards Pipe Band

Free fall display by 660 Squadron Army Air Corp

The 1982 gathering was also successful, with 1414 tickets sold, although it also reported a deficit of 5,073 Hong Kong dollars. However, the society reported that some aspects of the gathering had proved unsatisfactory, in particular with the commitment of the Scots Guards personnel. In a meeting report dated 23rd February 1983, the society said:
1. Catering
The catering arrangements on the day had been unable to cope with the large numbers in a reasonable time, this resulting in long waiting periods in queues. 
2. Organisation of events
The Guards personnel involved had not carried out this task very efficiently. 
3. Beating the retreat
Crowd control here had been very lax on the part of the Regiment. 
In general, it was felt that the Scots Guards had lacked the commitment previously shown by the Queens Own Highlanders in organising the Games, this having offset the improvement in the Society’s preparedness.
Although the Guards’ commitment was unsatisfactory, they indicated their willingness to host another gathering. According to a meeting record dated 4th April 1983, the Guards ‘had offered to host a Highland Games on 4th December 1983’. However, the society rejected the offer with the following reply:
The Chieftain had replied to the Guards indicating that, due to the absence of members’ children at school overseas on that date, it would not be a suitable date. However, if a date later than 16th December 1983 was available then the Society would be delighted to accept.
The gathering in 1983 did not happen, according to the meeting record dated 23rd September 1992.