A proud Scot by birth, Ben Niven never forgot his roots. Benjamin Charles Nesbitt was a family Christmas gift to the Niven family of Milnathort, Kinross in 1920. Six years later, his mother died of pneumonia and a few years after that, he and his father immigrated to Canada in 1928 aboard the Montcalm II.
Upon arrival, like many other Scottish settlers, they rode the rails to Alberta and settled with relatives in the farming community of Hesketh (near Drumheller) before moving to Calgary where Ben attended Western Canada High School.
Ben met and married Janet Sophia Gray and raised a family of three children: Allan, Janice and Grant.
Ben as a printer by trade, but when the war broke out, he joined the army. Private Niven made it as far as Camp Petawawa before it as discovered that he was deaf in one ear (the result of a childhood bout with measles) which disqualified him for overseas service. He did, however, remain in the military and served in Canada throughout the war.
Following the war, Ben joined the reserve army and played bass drum for the Regimental Pipes & Drums of the Calgary Highlanders and became the Drum Major in 1971.
If you ever drove past the Highlander Hotel located on 16th Avenue in Calgary, Ben was fairly proud of the fact that he was the model for the 20' Drum Major on the sign!
Over the years, Ben also became an integral part of the Calgary Scottish Pipe Band, Red Hackle and eventually the Clan McBain Pipe Band.
One of his favourite events was the Banff Springs Hotel Highland Games. For many years following, Ben was always engaged in the CUSGA Calgary Highland Games as a volunteer organizer and on many occasions, served as a Dress & Deportment Judge for the competitions.
More to follow.........
Drum Major Ben Niven - d2011
Every band has one or two 'Characters' who surface either through word, deed or action. It may have been someone for 20 years ago who's legend has grown with time.
...take a moment to let us know more about this individual.