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D DAY PIPER
12-15-2009, 05:26 PM
Hi to All,

have you heard about somebody else than Lord Lovat's Piper Bill Millin who played the pipes in action during WW II ?

For sure Bill was the first one to do so (under Lovat's command, as it was forbidden by the Army due to the WW I losses), but have you read some serious testimonies it was done after june 6th 1944 ? Have you some references on it ?

Thanks

Iain Sherwood
12-15-2009, 05:49 PM
Supposedly pipers marched between the tanks at El Alamein, and Montgomery marched into Palermo with a pipe band (not in combat).

Much later, my old pal Seamus Taylor piped at Khe Sanh during the 1968 Tet Offensive....Semper Fi

SFPIPER
12-15-2009, 07:31 PM
I heard tale of a Marine that waded ashore playing "Cock o' the North" but I do not recall his name.
v/r
R

Ian Lawther
12-15-2009, 08:21 PM
Though an officer "Mad" Jack Churchill played his pipes into battle.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Churchill

Ian

C. Martin
12-15-2009, 08:55 PM
There is a naration on one of the Isla St. Clair videos (Pipers Play or Pipes in Peace and War) from a Canadian soldier who piped during D-Day. The piper in his unit was wounded and he picked up the pipes and started playing. Apparently he had never told anyone he could play prior to that. So, apparently there were Canadian units who had pipers playing in combat during, or shortly after D-day. In the same films there are first-hand accounts of playing in combat during the Burma campaign.

phinson
12-15-2009, 09:30 PM
Pipers of the battalions in the 51st Highland Division piped their companies into action at El Alamein.

A nephew of Jock Laidlaw (piper & VC in WWI) piped his company into action somewhere in Burma near the end of that campaign in 1945 and was arguably the last piper to play in action during WWII.

PM Donald MacLeod played his battalion of the Seaforths (15th Scottish Division) across the Rhine in 1945.

Pipers of the 15th Division piped their companies "up to the line" during Operation Epsom (June 24-July 1, 1944) in Normandy.

Also, John Wilson, piper to the CO of the 51st Division, was preparing to pipe his companions into action when captured in 1940.

Bill Carr
12-16-2009, 01:21 AM
Though an officer "Mad" Jack Churchill played his pipes into battle.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Churchill

Ian


Not only did he play hid pipes into battle but he also carried, and used, a sword and long bow. In fact he had the only recorded WW2 account of taking out an enemy soldier with bow and arrow. In peace time he became an avid surfer in Australia.. Extraordinary man!


Bill

the old marshal
12-16-2009, 05:58 AM
When the Argylls ..under Colin Mitchell or Mad Mitch as he was known marched into the Crater District of Aden..in July 1967.two pipers led the way....so they say.!!...in a memorable T.V interview at the time..a reporter asked Mitch why he had ben successful whilst other commanders had not,...!!,he pointed to a Piper, and the Glengarry...sporting the biggest badge in the British army....the Argyll cap badge...."that and that"...was his reply......The 9/8....The Argylls Entry into the Crater by Pipe Major Grieve of the Regiment, remembers this action...:thumb:..nice wee tune..:woot:

the old marshal
12-16-2009, 06:25 AM
Just been emailed by a Argyll .....who was there..........!!! 15 Pipers....led the walk into the Crater..(all soldiers wearing Glengarry's and with fixed bayonets...)..playing Scotland the Brave and the Regimental charge,..Monymusk....!!........well there you go..!!

labdien
12-16-2009, 07:09 AM
I am still attempting to research this but my father in law told me that the Gordon Highlanders had a piper in the landing barge on D-day. He has now passed away but I am trying to obtain more information on this to relate to his grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Adam Sanderson
12-16-2009, 07:11 AM
http://www.argylls1945to1971.co.uk/Aden3000a.jpg

RichmondPiper
12-16-2009, 02:04 PM
Col David Murray wrote about this - perhaps only about the pipers at Alamein -in a Piping Times article a short while before he retired as a regar columnist to the PT. In the article he named the pipers in the 51st Div at Alamein, which included one of my tutors of yesteryear, Allan Watters who was then PM of the Black Watch (1st Battalion I think).

Andrew Payzant
12-17-2009, 05:44 PM
Adam, thanks so much for posting this photo. I quickly located the Argylls website (including the photo you posted) and found myself learning about an operation I previously knew next to nothing about. This forum is really awesome sometimes!!

Andrew

george M
12-17-2009, 06:50 PM
P.M. W.Grieve composed a 9/8 retreat "Entry into Crater" to mark the entry of 1st.Bn A&SH into the infamous Crater area in Aden 1968.
george.

Greenpipe
12-17-2009, 08:50 PM
Re Lord Lovat's piper: check with the memoirs of some of the Oxfordshire and Bucks Regiment who were at Pegasus Bridge when Lovat & his piper led his unit across. Up went the pipes and up popped the Germans to see what the fuss was, just in time to knock off some of the men following, while Lovat & piper led on unscathed.

Ian Lawther
12-17-2009, 09:04 PM
In fact he had the only recorded WW2 account of taking out an enemy soldier with bow and arrow.

Bill

Not certain if this is true Bill. When I was in the sixth form I did archery with and instructor called Mr. Pickard who had been in the commandos and had used a bow and arrow in action, including killing sentries. He made it sound as if commando raids often used archers as a way of silently disposing of teh enemy.

Ian

the old marshal
12-18-2009, 02:01 AM
Quote from..."The Man who Shot Liberty Valance".....Sir...this is the West......"When legend becomes fact.........print the legend...""":thumb:,.......although I heard similiar..my Father was in the Combined Operations during the last war.......he always said the "crossbow" was the best weapon ever....!!,at least you would be able to hear the piper,as there is no gunfire..!

pipesofdoom
12-19-2009, 05:21 PM
Re the Crater in Aden, Colonel Colin "Mad Mitch" Mitchell recounts in his book "Having Been a Soldier" that the pipers were unaware they were being machine gunned at the time, because they couldn't hear over the pipes... This from pp179-180:
"It used to be traditional in Highland Regiments to be piped into battle and the custom survives if and when the tactial situation allows. The younger generation of officers and soldiers had never seen it happen, so, when training at Stanford the previous February, I had purposely staged a dawn attack with the Pipe Major playing along the axis of advance beside me. It is the most thrilling sound in the world to go into action with the pipes playing, it stirs the blood, reminds one of the great heritage of Scotland and the Regiment. Best of all, it frightens the enemy to death! In an Internal Security operation against a lot of third rate, fly-blown terroists and mutineers in Crater on 3rd July 1967, it seemed utterly appropriate. I ordered Pipe Major Kenneth Robson to sound the Regimental charge - 'Monymusk'. As he began the Jocks started to move down the road leading from the start-line into Crater. ....

... Hardly had we started that we were machine-gunned from the edge of town. Everyone bit the dust - with a few notable exceptions! The Pipe Major oblivious to the noise of shooting played and marched on. Our forward section in the Supreme Court began to return the fire...."
The next morning the pipes and drums played reveille on the roof-tops. I wonder if he was not being charitable enough to the PM? He might have just continued to play regardless. Maybe he said something afterwards (probably not repeatable in the book).

Barry Shears
12-19-2009, 05:37 PM
I am not 100 % sure but I remember hearing that the late PM Duncan MacIntyre piped the North Nova Scotia Highlanders ashore on D-day. I must check with his son on that.
Barry
www.capebretonpiper.com (http://www.capebretonpiper.com)

WVPIPER
12-19-2009, 09:16 PM
Hi to All,

have you heard about somebody else than Lord Lovat's Piper Bill Millin who played the pipes in action during WW II ?

For sure Bill was the first one to do so (under Lovat's command, as it was forbidden by the Army due to the WW I losses), but have you read some serious testimonies it was done after june 6th 1944 ? Have you some references on it ?

Thanks
Bill Millin wasn't the first in WWII. I can't find it,but there's a webpage of the Seaforth Highlanders, and their pipers playing in North Africa, WWII campaigns. I believe it was after some of them lost their life that the military forbid them from playing in battle, according to that website.
I found it while researching Gordon Asher, believed to be the 'bearded piper of El Alamein'.

John Buchanan
12-19-2009, 11:11 PM
...there's a webpage of the Seaforth Highlanders, and their pipers playing in North Africa, WWII campaigns.

That may have been referring to PM Rob Roy of the Black Watch 2nd regiment. He later went on to work with the Seaforth but he piped at the siege of Tobruk in 1941. He was wounded three times but kept piping. His bullet ridden kilt can be seen in the Black Watch museum in Perth.

He was also my mother's uncle.

ZAG
12-20-2009, 02:29 PM
I heard PM Rob Roy was captured in Crete. We went on a battlefield tour there and one of the pipers that was there told us the story. He also told us the battalion pipes and dirks were buried in a beach cave to prevent capture by the Germans, never to be found again.

The piper went on to tell us PM Roy escaped capture and made his way to Tobruk where upon he relieved the PM appointed in his place. Funnily enough the BW captured the German unit in Tobruk that had captured them in Crete. This story was told by a former German para on the tour who was there at the time.

pipesofdoom
12-20-2009, 02:55 PM
I heard PM Rob Roy was captured in Crete. We went on a battlefield tour there and one of the pipers that was there told us the story. He also told us the battalion pipes and dirks were buried in a beach cave to prevent capture by the Germans, never to be found again.


The pipes and drums of the 22nd Battalion NZEF had to be destroyed during the retreat through Greece, just prior to Crete of course. The story is that Colonel Andrew VC did the job himself with hand-grenades (he had raised the funds to put the pipes and drums together in the first place).

sjbpiper
12-20-2009, 11:23 PM
Why destroy the instruments deliberately? :shrug:

Iain Sherwood
12-21-2009, 12:41 AM
So they could not be taken by the enemy as war trophies; drums and colours, if they were present, would also be destroyed. The drums carry the battle honours of the regiment as do the colours. It's a matter of pride and tradition.

sjbpiper
12-21-2009, 05:40 PM
Thanks. The explaination makes sense, just the action seems kind of odd. If they'd had time to destroy them then one would think they'd have had time to just take them along. :confused: Unfortunate.

Dieppe42
12-21-2009, 08:03 PM
As far as the Canucks go here is a story about P/M Alex Graham, of the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders at Dieppe. My Grandfather was Acting P/M of the Essex Scottish, but their band was carrying Bren guns on the raid.

"As the Camerons were the second wave to attack on Green Beach they came into an aroused German defence. The Camerons were riding in plywood (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plywood) landing craft (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landing_craft). About 1,000 yd (910 m) off Green Beach, the craft formed in a single line and moved toward the beach. The German shore batteries, machine guns, and mortars opened fire. Above the angry roar of battle and the growl of racing engines came a sound that riveted the attention of U. S. Ranger (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Army_Rangers) Sergeant Marcell G. Swank. On a small forward deck of the landing craft to Swank's right, Pipe Major (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pipe_Major) Alex Graham[2] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Queen%27s_Own_Cameron_Highlanders_of_Canada#ci te_note-1) stood courageously playing A Hundred Pipers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Hundred_Pipers). "He stood there," recalled Swank, "defiantly telling the world that the Camerons were coming. God what a glory." Inspired by their piper, the Camerons landed on Green Beach with courage and Úlan and swept forward. This is the last recorded instance of Canadian troops being piped into battle"

WVPIPER
12-22-2009, 07:35 AM
That may have been referring to PM Rob Roy of the Black Watch 2nd regiment. He later went on to work with the Seaforth but he piped at the siege of Tobruk in 1941. He was wounded three times but kept piping. His bullet ridden kilt can be seen in the Black Watch museum in Perth.

He was also my mother's uncle.
That name isn't familiar. The article discusses the highland regiments at El Alamein, mentions Gordon Asher of Seaforth, Cherry Anderson of Gordon Highlanders, and the fact that 3-4 pipers were wounded/killed during the battle. Says that Asher was named the Bearded piper of El Alamein.
I thought I posted a link to the story, I'll see if I can find it.

ZAG
12-22-2009, 04:22 PM
http://www.thecourier.co.uk/output/2004/08/25/newsstory6260916t0.asp

Think this has been on before

John Buchanan
12-22-2009, 04:44 PM
I love that picture of him with Eisenhower. The story there is that, when they met, Eisenhower started telling him the names of other Pipe Majors that he had met. Roy then started telling him the names of other Generals HE had met. The cheek.

He died before I was born but my father had met him and said he was a formidable figure and not someone you would want to be on the wrong side of. My mom used to go to her aunt's place and he would be there playing pipes with his brother, Neil.

The story I heard growing up was that he had his pipes with him when he was captured in Crete and used to entertain the German officers in the prison camp in the evenings. One night after he was done, they told him to go back to barracks by himself. Instead, he walked out the front gate and escaped. He hooked up with the Greek underground who got him out of the country, but he had to leave his pipes behind. It wasn't until after the war that he got them back.

pipesofdoom
12-22-2009, 09:27 PM
Interesting article - Bernard Ferguson was quite a character. He was GG of NZ in the 60s (not Australia as stated in the article). His father had been GG of NZ back in the 1920s I think, and his son is the present High Commissioner.

Lochie
12-23-2009, 07:52 AM
Whent he Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa landed at Juno Beach on D-Day (the only Ottawa regiment to land on D-Day) They did so while Pipe Major Sam Scott of the Regiment played his pipes.
Sam Scott survived the war, settled in Manotick, and taught an entire generation of pipers in the Ottawa area. His pipes were recently on display in the Canadian War Museum, having been transferred there, by my pipe band (Sons of Scotland) from another museum who received them from his widow.

Lochie

"Advance"

Rory
01-16-2011, 05:21 AM
I am conducting some research into a Piper that was killed on the 23 or 24 October 1942 at Alamein. His name was Piper John Walker, Son of John and Margaret Walker; husband of Jessie Walker. I believe he was on attachment to C Company 1st Bn Gordon Highlanders.

I know this is a total shot in the dark but does anyone remember anything they have heard or have any leads?

Thank you.

Dave Gallagher
01-16-2011, 07:11 AM
The North Irish Brigade (38th) had a large number of pipers and drummers in the war. They saw action everywhere from Italy to Tunisia. The Brigade consisted of the London Irish regiment, Ulster Rifles, Enniskillin Fusiliers and the Irish Fusiliers. All with their pipe bands.
In researching the two droned pipe and reading Clear the Way by Richard Doherty, The History of the London Irish by George Willis and George P Willis, The Royal Irish Fusiliers by Henry Harris and other books etc etc I found a great number of times when the pipes were played for everthing and every chance they got. However I have only come across two references to a piper playing in battle and not much detail was given.
The Museum of the Royal Irish Fusiliers has a number of photos that are a good reference but they want a fortune for searching and even more for use in publication in print and do not allow web posting or they would be on my warpipe site.