Bagpipers

Discussion in 'General' started by soren1941, Aug 5, 2008.

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  1. soren1941

    soren1941 Living in Ypres

    Hi Guys,

    In the process of a D Day picture, I seem to remember that there was a piper on the beach, is that the case?

    Cheers

    Soren
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Roxy

    Roxy Senior Member

    There was in 'The Longest Day'! Does that count?

    Roxy
     
  3. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    [​IMG]

    Photographer: Evans, J L (Capt)
    No 5 Army Film & Photographic Unit

    Title: OPERATION OVERLORD (THE NORMANDY LANDINGS): D-DAY 6 JUNE 1944
    Collection No.: 4700-29

    Description: The British 2nd Army: Commandos of 1st Special Service Brigade landing from an LCI(S) (Landing Craft Infantry Small) on 'Queen Red' Beach, SWORD Area, at la Breche, at approximately 8.40 am, 6 June. The brigade commander, Brigadier the Lord Lovat DSO MC, can be seen striding through the water to the right of the column of men. The figure nearest the camera on the right is the brigade's bagpiper, Piper Bill Millin.


    Just Google Bill Millin.

    Look here>>> Piper Bill Millin
     
  4. soren1941

    soren1941 Living in Ypres

    That's Brilliant!
     
  5. handtohand22

    handtohand22 Senior Member

    There were probably many pipers. Here is a short piece from the Bill Balmer story.


    Lizzy McKinney had three sisters and four brothers. One brother, called Johnny, was a piper in the Royal Fusiliers. He was wounded during the D-Day landings as he piped the troops ashore. He convalesced in Derby Infirmary. Two of his sisters were nurses in Derby. Their names were Martha Wiebe and Sarah Simpson.

    When Johnny knew they were going to visit him he played a macabre trick on them. He took his left arm out of the sleeve of his pyjamas and pretended he was an amputee. His sisters were shocked but after they hugged him one of them gave him a hefty smack on the cheek for his prank.

    After he recuperated Johnny was discharged as medically unfit for military service. Johnny then worked on the railway in England and achieved the rank of Inspector.
     
  6. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    Is there any evidence that the Pipers endured a higher than usual mortality rate? Did it appear that they were singled out?
     
  7. marcus69x

    marcus69x I love WW2 meah!!!

    Is there any evidence that the Pipers endured a higher than usual mortality rate? Did it appear that they were singled out?

    Good question Slip. Tried to have a google but couldn't find anything.

    I can't imagine them being singled out, being unarmed and all, but then again they would make a good target. I suppose the same could be said for the chaplains. Walking about with their rosary beads and bibles.

    As Malarky said, "crazy fools the Irish".
     
  8. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    The Commandos landed some time after the main force. The beach head had been secured, They made their way to Pegasus with the piper playing. The Sappers had already arrived, leaning against the bridge....and watched this brave show with some admiration.

    Though I must say that I have seen some pretty violent action on the day we took the city of Caen. All to the sound of the pipes of the Kings own Scottish Borderers. (KOSBS)
    Sapper
     
  9. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    I have found the graves of a number of Pipers in Normandy cemeteries; especially in areas where the 15th (Scottish) and 51st (Highland) Divs fought. Am sure there are some photos of a Piper leading men into action near Cheux?
     
  10. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Am sure there are some photos of a Piper leading men into action near Cheux?

    Yes Paul , these ones.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]Photographer: Laing (Sgt)
    No 5 Army Film & Photographic Unit

    Title: THE BRITISH ARMY IN NORMANDY 1944
    Collection No.: 4700-29

    Description: Led by a piper, men of 2nd Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 15th (Scottish) Division, move forward during Operation 'Epsom', 26 June 1944.
    Period


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]Photographer: Laing (Sgt)
    No 5 Army Film & Photographic Unit

    Title: THE BRITISH ARMY IN THE NORMANDY CAMPAIGN 1944
    Collection No.: 4700-29

    Description: Led by their piper, men of 7th Seaforth Highlanders, 15th (Scottish) Division advance during Operation 'Epsom', 26 June 1944.
    Period: Second World War
     
  11. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  12. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    Yes Paul , these ones.


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]Photographer: Laing (Sgt)
    No 5 Army Film & Photographic Unit

    Title: THE BRITISH ARMY IN THE NORMANDY CAMPAIGN 1944
    Collection No.: 4700-29

    Description: Led by their piper, men of 7th Seaforth Highlanders, 15th (Scottish) Division advance during Operation 'Epsom', 26 June 1944.
    Period: Second World War

    Yes it's that one I was thinking of - a very evocative photo indeed.
     
  13. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    Did these boys play only when the unit was on the move or did they keep up that racket during firefights?
     
  14. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    D-Day piper gives bagpipes to nation - Telegraph
    D-Day Hero and Museum Clash in Battle of Bagpipes
    Scotland's Bill Millin, 81, Honored in Normandy and on Stamp : NPR
    Millin's brigadier that day, Lord Lovat, had specifically ignored the general order against bagpipers issued for 9,000 Scottish troops participating in the attack.
    Millin held the bagpipes above his head in the waves, making it to the beach amid the chaos and mayhem. He managed to avoid mortars and machine gun fire to play "The Road to the Isles" and march at Lovat's request.
    When two captured German snipers were later asked why they didn't shoot the piper, they replied that they thought he was crazy
     
  15. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    One of the most evocative memories I have, was of violent action to the sound of the pipes in the back ground. On the high ground on the Eastern route into Caen. With the Colombells area down below.

    The Pipes the Pipes.
    Stir the blood a little.
    It is not only images and scenes that remain with one through the years, but also sounds, sounds that can remind one of times long past. To day, (58 years ago) We were going to take Caen! We had now reached the high ground on the left hand rout into the City of Caen, this dusty road that looked down on the Colombelles industrial area on the outskirts of Caen, with the high building of the ironworks far below, all rusty and gaunt. From our vantage point it was possible to see for miles down below and the ground spread out all round in a wide panoramic view.
    Blissfully unaware that the area was still in German hands and that he was watching our every move, (we had been told that the 51st Highland div had taken it) After having a long look at the ground down below we the carried on sweeping and clearing our way forward, to ensure that the way was free from the Enemy and from mines. The Enemy soon put a stop to this, we had just entered and cleared a farm house when all hell was let loose, from the tall rusty looking steel works down below, came a tremendous barrage of shell fire. Point blank shell fire, where one does not hear the shells coming until the last split second, when the incoming fire sounds like an express train with the scream of shells, with violent explosions and tearing shrapnel, the farm house exploded in a great shower of splintered wood and then came down about my shoulders, the flying debris, the continuing scream and flashing fire, the rippling explosion of the shells, an intense barrage, the swirling smoke and pandemonium and ones whole being gripped with fear. The moans and cries of mortally wounded men, my mouth dry and choked with dust. After the fire died down I started to extricate myself, covered in dirt and dust and splintered wood, the bitter stench of cordite.
    When in the distance, I heard the sound of the bagpipes, above all that noise, I could hear the skirl of the Scots pipes, when I got out of the rubble I looked down the dusty track and there he was, nonchalantly marching slowly towards us, this piper, khaki kilt swaying from side to side, as he made his way forward concentrating on his playing. Sounds of war! Whenever I hear the pipes I must admit to having a great big lump in my throat, I have been into battle with the sound of the pipes and I cannot hear them without being deeply moved.
    Sapper
     
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  16. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    Thanks Adam, for the links.

    So, the Army issued orders that pipes were not to be played. Did this order persist through the remainder of the European campaign?

    Brian, I read with interest your memories.

    I am confounded that the Germans did not recognize the Pipers for boost to morale they would provide and target them specifically. But then, there are sparse records of them intentionally targeting other, similar targets, such as medics.
     
  17. marcus69x

    marcus69x I love WW2 meah!!!

    Brilliant account Brian. As always. Keep 'em coming mate.

    Nice links too Adam.

    If I'm reading this correctly from the first link, "His pipes were silenced four days later by German shrapnel.", then the ones presented to the national war museum would show signs of battle damage. Mr Carswell should have compared them to the ones in Normandy before rejecting Millins offer. Big mistake in my opinion.
     
  18. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Did these boys play only when the unit was on the move or did they keep up that racket during firefights?

    Examples , not D-Day but back in the Desert . December 1940.
    2 Camerons , part of 4th Indian Division at Nibeiwa , near Sid Barrani.

    The Infantry tumbled out and raced in hotfoot with the bayonet ; above the noise of battle shrilled the skirl of the pipes as the gravely pacing pipers played in the charge.

    As for the Argylls elsewhere,


    Pipe Major Hill attempted to sound the charge but the flying sand had choked his pipes.
     
  19. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    Appreciate your continued input on my questions, Owen.

    I've seen to have read here and elsewhere of the pipes being used in the ETO & MTO. How much were they employed in the CBE? I'm wondering if the heat and humdity of the more Southerly climes would have a detrimental effect on the longevity of the bag, seeing that it as made of animal tissue for the most part.
     
  20. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Took me awhile but found these of Pipers in Burma.

    Photo Number: SE 521

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG]Photographer: No 9 Army Film & Photographic Unit

    Title: THE BRITISH ARMY IN BURMA 1944
    Collection No.: 4700-64

    Description: Led by Piper John McLean, men of "D" Company, 1st Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers march alongside a railway to celebrate both St Andrew's Day and the ending of the Japanese occupation of Pinwe in North Burma, 30 November 1944.
    Period: Second World War
    Photo Number: SE 2638

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG]Photographer: Stubbs A (Sgt)
    No 9 Army Film & Photographic Unit

    Title: THE BRITISH ARMY IN BURMA 1944
    Collection No.: 4700-64

    Description: Accompanied by a piper, the Royal Scots march along a road on the outskirts of Pinwe, November 1944.
    Period: Second World War
     

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