Saturday, June 06, 2009

"The Mad Piper" of D-Day on Isle of Man Stamp

Five years ago to mark the 60th anniversary of the Normandy invasion, NPR's Fred Child did a story on Scotland's "Mad Piper" Bill Millin, who played on the beaches for his regiment on June 6, 1944.

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, according to Child.

It is reported on the NPR Web site that, "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 -- hence Millin's nickname of "The Mad Piper."

Millin, then 81, was honored in Normandy at 60th anniversary ceremonies and his pipes and uniform from D-Day are on permanent display in Edinburgh Castle.

Shown above, a Isle of Man se-tenant honoring Scotland's role in the invasion which features an image of Millin (on right) playing his bagpipes during the battle.

To hear Child's audio report on Millin, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM