Bob Erlandson's Page

Hello, I'm Bob Erlandson, from Towson, MD.

Welcome to my web page.

I am a former reporter and foreign correspondent for The Baltimore Sun. I retired in 1998, after nearly 43 years covering all aspects of State, county and local affairs and government as well as foreign assignments: Vietnam, based in Saigon [1966-68]; Latin America, based in Rio de Janeiro [1969-73] and Europe, based in London [1979-83].

I came to The Sun by way of Hasbrouck Heights (NJ) High School (1948); New Hampton School, New Hampton, NH (1949); The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore (1953) and the U.S. Navy (USS Charles R. Ware, DD-865) [1953-55].


Since 1987, I have been a piper with the John F. Nicoll Pipe Band, which is associated with Towson American Legion Post No. 22. The background of this page is the McKenzie tartan used by the band.

Anyone interested in learning to play the bagpipe or to play drums in a Scottish band is welcome to attend our practice, at 7 P.M. Thursdays, at the Legion Post, 125 York Road,

The John F. Nicoll Pipe Band on parade in Hagerstown, MD

On August 5, 2000, members of the Nicoll Band joined more than 8,500 pipers and drummers marching down the Royal Mile and along Princes Street in Edinburgh in "The Millennium Pipes" to raise funds for the Marie Curie Cancer Nurses Fund. A piping competition, attended by Prince Charles, was held in Princes Street Gardens.

On April 6, 2002, a similar parade, called "Tunes of Glory," took place in New York City. Some 7,500 pipers and drummers from 30 countries and all 50 states marched up Sixth Avenue and into Central Park, led by that indomitable Scotsman, Sir Sean Connery, James Bond himself. The march commemorated the terrorist attacks of September 11 and raised money for the Marie Curie Fund and Gilda's Club International.

The John F. Nicoll Pipe Band was honored on 15 Jan. 2003 as the first bagpipe band ever chosen to escort a new Governor at his inauguration at the State House in Annapolis. The band led Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., from his swearing-in to his inaugural parade and then led the parade for its final stage.

To change gears again, I have been an inveterate collector most of my life, usually of something military. Over the years my collections have included Springfield flintlock muskets and British miniature medals. For more than 20 years I was active in making and painting military miniatures, not to be confused with "toy soldiers." Here's a Gordon Highlander standard bearer which I donated to the Gordon Highlanders Museum, in Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1983.


Although my hobbies have usually related to British military history, particularly the Scottish regiments, I am also interested in 18th and 19th C. English tea chests. Because tea was expensive and considered a luxury, it was kept locked in small boxes to which only the lady of the house had the key. Styles of tea caddies changed over the years, becoming more elaborate and decorative as times changes. This beautifully simple example dates from about 1770.

Another interest is Scottish officers' basket-hilt swords from Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth II. I am always happy to hear from dealers or fellow collectors about swords of this type, particularly those identifiable to a particular officer.

This lithograph entitled "The Return of the Sword" is high Victoriana and complements perfectly my collection of swords, some of which may well have been returned under similar circumstances to grieving families.


However, my special affection is for The Black Watch, The Royal Highland Regiment, (The Auld Forty Twa) headquartered at Balhousie Castle, Perth, Scotland. This interest began in 1940 when I visited Fort Ticonderoga (Fort Carillon), at the confluence of Lakes George and Champlain, in upstate New York, and learned of the heroic but futile action of the 42nd Foot (Black Watch) on July 8, 1758, against the French under General Montcalm.

The incredible bravery of those men left an impression which remains fresh to this day.

In January I was elected as an Honorary Member of the Perth Branch of the Black Watch Assocation, the second such. For the rest of my life I will cherish the honor of this association with these men.


Below is a painting of the 42d's attack at Ticonderoga. Painted for Osprey Publications' book on the battle by Patrice Courcelle, of Waterloo, Belgium. It is now in my collection.

Below are weapons of the type used by the Black Watch at Ticonderoga and by Highland regiments in the mid-18th Century. The small dark piece mounted on the plaque (center) is a charred fragment of the oak main gate of Fort Ticonderoga, which the French burned when they retreated to Canada in the face of a second British attack, in 1759.

In conclusion and to change the subject, Shetland Sheepdogs have been my wonderful, loving friends for nearly 50 years, so nothing would be complete without meeting "The Big Dog" himself:

"Mr. Laddie."

Mr. Laddie went to Sheltie Heaven 21 February 2004.

His web page remains as a memorial to an Angel Dog:



Thanks very much for stopping by. Please come again soon

In a beautiful collaboration God and Mr. Laddie brought Piper, another Angel Dog

into our lives.

To visit the various web sites mentioned click on the links below

JohnJohn F. Nicoll Pipe Band

USS Charles R. Ware (DD-865)

The Gordon Highlanders

Tunes of Glory

The Black Watch

Mr. Laddie


International Sword Forum

Bagpipe Web

Antique Boxes

Fort Ticonderoga

"The Black Bear," back-to-barracks march of the Scottish Regiments, courtesy Bagpipes At Best

Updated 17 May 2006