Friday, July 17, 2020

Bill Millin, the ‘Mad Piper’

William Millin (1922 –2010), commonly known as Piper Bill, was personal piper to Simon Fraser, commander of 1 Special Service Brigade at D-Day.
Millin played in the pipe bands of the Highland Light Infantry and the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders before volunteering as a commando and training with Lovat at Achnacarry along with French, Dutch, Belgian, Polish, Norwegian, and Czechoslovak troops.
Millin played the pipes whilst under fire during the D-Day landing in Normandy. He played "Highland Laddie" "The Road to the Isles" and "All The Blue Bonnets Are Over The Border" as his comrades fell around him on Sword. Millin states that he later talked to captured German snipers who claimed they did not shoot at him because they thought he had gone mad.
Millin's action on D-Day was portrayed in the 1962 film The Longest Day. Millin was played by Pipe Major Leslie de Laspee, the official piper to the Queen Mother in 1961.

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