The story about Ian Millman that sticks with me is the time the mayor of Vancouver announced at a crowded formal dinner that the City had decided to fund the Vancouver Police Pipe Band’s upcoming trip to Edinburgh, Scotland. The fully-kilted pipe major Ian Millman got out of his seat, marched over to the mayor (who one day became BC Premier) and planted a kiss on his lips.
Or the time he shot a cow that had escaped from a South Vancouver property, only to have the photo of his dead prize make the front page of The Vancouver Sun. He also told the story of shooting rabbits in Stanley Park and feeding them to the wolves in the zoo. Millman lived a large life and I know there are many people who knew him much better and can tell more accurate and entertaining stories than this poor scribe. Former Vancouver Police Pipe Band Pipe Major Ian Millman was a policeman and a piper. He spent 36 years serving the people of Vancouver, on the bike and drug squads and internal affairs. He also served 10 years at the helm of the venerable city police pipe band. He died this past week of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
I did not know Ian Millman personally, but as a piper in a BC police pipe band, I have heard his stories, mostly from my current pipe major and former pipe sergeant of the VPD pipe band, Hugh Peden, a close personal friend of Ian’s.
In 1996, Pipe Sergeant Millman was elected as the VPD PB’s 12th pipe major since 1914, succeeding P/M Donald MacInnes. He had joined the VPD in 1964, following in his father’s footsteps. As a child he played the chanter and picked it up again after joining the police department and getting in on the fun of a police pipe band. He was band secretary for some time before being appointed pipe sergeant by P/M MacInnes. He served as pipe major for almost 10 years before poor health forced him to step down in October 2006.
However, during those 10 years the band thrived.
“I traveled the world with Ian and had a great time: Edinburgh, Hong Kong, Japan three times, Indonesia, Hawaii twice and Quebec City. I also led the band in his absence (due to poor health) in Holland and again in Hawaii a third time. Aside from those mega trips…we did many, many trips in the USA and Canada,” says Hugh Peden, pipe major of the RCMP E. Division Pipe Band in BC.
“Ian was a bit of a legend as anyone who knew him could tell you,” says Cal Davis, the current pipe major of the Vancouver Police Pipe Band. “The highlight of his piping career was likely taking the band to the Edinburgh Tattoo in 1999. He had an amazing ability to capture an audience and was one of the best public speakers I have ever met. In short he will be missed by many.”
Ian was a husband, father, veteran policeman and according to Hugh Peden, “a friend to all those that didn’t take life, work, or band too seriously. He was loyal and generous to those he knew until the very end.”
Condolences to Ian’s wife Donna and his family are extended from all members of the RCMP E. Division Pipe Band.