The Piper

Bill Millin  7/14/1922-8/17/2010

Born of commoners, I led an uncommon life.
Though not of the Peerage, I had my moment of glory.
I played with great ceremony, bringing courage to many.
Now I march off alone quite unceremoniously.


At the ready, we waited for conditions to be right.
When the moon was full and the spring tides flowing,
We hoped to give action to our plan of attack.
But high winds and high seas put everything at risk.
Then the weather calmed slightly and we decided to go.

Les carottes sont cuites.  La Résistance était prête.
BBC: "The carrots are cut."  The Resistance is ready.

Because of the weather, the Axis was lax, their defences off.
With the exception of Omaha, they appeared unprepared.
Utah, Gold, Juno and Sword were badly protected.
Mother Nature had chosen a side and hoorah! It was ours.

We came with our Allies: Yanks, Canadians and French,
And as the sun broke the horizon, we launched our attack.
At 6:30AM BDST, on Sword Beach we landed.
Sloshing through surf, my kilt billowing around me,
I piped them ashore to surprise in dawn’s early light.

I was unarmed, ceremonial dagger in my stocking all I had,
But I fought, nonetheless, in the service of Commander Lovat.
As my comrades took the beaches, I kept my pipes at my lips:
Hielan' Laddie, Blue Bonnets Over the Border,  
The Road to the Isles.
I stood straight and strong and played for their lives.

Bullets were flying and mortars exploding.
All around me, my fellows fell.
I continued to play, and somehow survived it.
Was I protected from harm by divine purpose?  
My pipes gave them courage;
They continued to press ever onward,
Winning the battle and eventually the war.


My service on this earth is over, and eternity calls.
Will St. Peter pipe me to heaven as I lay the pipes aside?

"Rest your pipes a while, and tak' a dram, your job is now done! You are a better man than are we!"
                                             - Reader Comment, The Mail Online
                                               The Daily Mail, London

Read more about this courageous man : Mail Online, The Telegraph


  1. I had a piper at my wedding and it made me cry!

  2. Pipers play the music of heaven.

  3. Excellent tribute. But then, you know I'm into these sorts of things.

  4. a wonderful tribute...love the bagpipes...my favorite rendition of amazign grace is played withthe bags...

  5. Amazing Grace on the pipes is one of the loveliest things in the air.

  6. Love the pipes - with a last name of MacKenzie how could be not....wonderful read on a great man Patti...thanks..bkm

  7. The Daft One: When my son got married, he wouldn't let us pay for anything. I finally offered to pay for a luxury and suggested a limo to transport the wedding party from the ceremony to the reception. They said no thanks, but how about a piper? So we got a piper, whom the bride called "that Scottish hottie." Must be the kilt.

    Nessa, Brian, Charlene, & bkm: I agree. There is just something about the sound of pipes. And Amazing Grace on the pipes is amazing. It goes straight to the soul.

    Jeff: Ya know, Bill Millin would make a heck of a story...

    Thanks to all of you for coming and for your kind remarks.


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