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Last Updated: Friday, 16 December 2005, 09:21 GMT
D-Day piper celebrated with song
Bill Millin with his famous pipes
Bill Millin's exploits became legendary
A piper who played the bagpipes as the troops went ashore during the D-Day Landings has been honoured in song.

Scot Bill Millin, who is now 82, has lived in Dawlish, Devon, for 40 years.

Inspired by his musical past, north Devon folk singer Sheelagh Allen has written a tune for him called The Highland Piper.

Mr Millin was nicknamed the Mad Piper for going ashore piping the Highland Laddie under the instruction of the eccentric Lord Lovat.

From The Highland Piper by Sheelagh Allen
Artists illustration of Bill Millin at Sword Beach
Now Bill is living his passing years/in the peace of Dawlish, Devon. His memories crowd around him there/of comrades not forgotten. And we give thanks for Bill and his mates/who were part of that Longest Day. When he piped them ashore on the beaches of France/to the tune of the Highland Laddie

When the offensive was launched, Scottish servicemen were among the first to land on Sword Beach at Normandy.

Lord Lovat led his commandos ashore to the skirl of the bagpipes and asked piper Millin, then aged 21, to play to rally the troops' morale.

Later the Germans claimed they did not shoot him because they thought he must be "mad".

Lord Lovat's men went on to fight their way to Pegasus Bridge where they met the 6th Airborne Division.

Mr Millin, whose actions have already inspired books and paintings, said he was "very honoured" to now be celebrated in Ms Allen's song.

"Unfortunately I can't play the bagpipes for her in return," he said.

Scotland's veterans remember D-Day
04 Jun 04 |  Scotland
Piping his way into history
16 Jan 01 |  Scotland



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