August 31, 2010

Bill Millin, 1923-2010

The piper who famously played on the beaches of Normandy during the first wave of the Allied Forces’ invasion on June 6, 1944, has died in Devon, England, at the age of 88 after a stroke.

A native of Glasgow, Millin’s playing on the beach was at the command of the famously forthright Lord Lovat, Commander of the 1st Special Service Brigade, which was one of the first to land on Sword Beach in 1944. Lovat ordered Millin to play to rally the troops, in defiance of an order that pipers should not play since they would be left vulnerable.

Millin’s courageous playing is commemorated at Normandy with a life-size statue donated by the people of Colleville-Montgomery, France, unveiled in June of this year.

His pipes, kilt, beret and knife are now in the National War Museum of Scotland.

To read a brief account of his experience in Millin’s own words, click here.


  1. After reading this sad news about Mr. Millin I took a few moments at work to look up his story even though I had read about him many times before, several of my collegues asked me what I was reading so I sent it to them, I don’t think they realized how important a role like Bill’s was. I was told after that people had gotten chills down their back from reading about his heroics in Normandy. My sympathy goes out to his family and friends on this sad news of his passing, I know quite a few from my office will be buying The Longest Yard DVD and I myself have had several requests now to bring the pipes to work and play the Highland Laddie. Steve T



Forgotten Password?