The Patriot Files Forums  

Go Back   The Patriot Files Forums > Conflict posts > World War II

Post New Thread  Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 08-25-2010, 04:53 AM
revwardoc's Avatar
revwardoc revwardoc is offline
Senior Member
 

Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Gardner, MA
Posts: 4,252
Distinctions
Contributor VOM 
Default Bill Millin, Scottish D-Day Piper, Dies at 88

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/20/wo...llin.html?_r=1

LONDON — Bill Millin, a Scottish bagpiper who played highland tunes as his fellow commandos landed on a Normandy beach on D-Day and lived to see his bravado immortalized in the 1962 film “The Longest Day,” died on Wednesday in a hospital in the western England county of Devon. He was 88.

The cause was complications from a stroke, his family said.

Mr. Millin was a 21-year-old private in Britain’s First Special Service Brigade when his unit landed on the strip of coast the Allies code-named Sword Beach, near the French city of Caen at the eastern end of the invasion front chosen by the Allies for the landings on June 6, 1944.

By one estimate, about 4,400 Allied troops died in the first 24 hours of the landings, about two-thirds of them Americans.

The young piper was approached shortly before the landings by the brigade’s commanding officer, Brig. Simon Fraser, who as the 15th Lord Lovat was the hereditary chief of the Clan Fraser and one of Scotland’s most celebrated aristocrats. Against orders from World War I that forbade playing bagpipes on the battlefield because of the high risk of attracting enemy fire, Lord Lovat, then 32, asked Private Millin to play on the beachhead to raise morale.

When Private Millin demurred, citing the regulations, he recalled later, Lord Lovat replied: “Ah, but that’s the English War Office. You and I are both Scottish, and that doesn’t apply.”

After wading ashore in waist-high water that he said caused his kilt to float, Private Millin reached the beach, then marched up and down, unarmed, playing the tunes Lord Lovat had requested, including “Highland Laddie” and “Road to the Isles.”

With German troops raking the beach with artillery and machine-gun fire, the young piper played on as his fellow soldiers advanced through smoke and flame on the German positions, or fell on the beach. The scene provided an emotional high point in “The Longest Day.”

In later years Mr. Millin told the BBC he did not regard what he had done as heroic. When Lord Lovat insisted that he play, he said, “I just said ‘O.K.,’ and got on with it.” He added: “I didn’t notice I was being shot at. When you’re young, you do things you wouldn’t dream of doing when you’re older.”

He said he found out later, after meeting Germans who had manned guns above the beach, that they didn’t shoot him “because they thought I was crazy.”

Other British commandos cheered and waved, Mr. Millin recalled, though he said he felt bad as he marched among ranks of wounded soldiers needing medical help. But those who survived the landings offered no reproach.

“I shall never forget hearing the skirl of Bill Millin’s pipes,” one of the commandos, Tom Duncan, said years later. “As well as the pride we felt, it reminded us of home, and why we were fighting there for our lives and those of our loved ones.”

From the beach, Private Millin moved inland with the commandos to relieve British paratroopers who had seized a bridge near the village of Ouistreham that was vital to German attempts to move reinforcements toward the beaches. As the commandos crossed the bridge under German fire, Lord Lovat again asked Private Millin to play his pipes.

In 2008, French bagpipers started a fund to erect a statue of Mr. Millin near the landing site, but the fund remains far short of its $125,000 goal.

Bill Millin was born in Glasgow on July 14, 1922, the son of a policeman, and lived with his family in Canada as a child before returning to Scotland.

After the war, he worked on Lord Lovat’s estate near Inverness, but found the life too quiet and took a job as a piper with a traveling theater company. In the late 1950s, he trained in Glasgow as a psychiatric nurse and eventually settled in Devon, retiring in 1988. He visited the United States several times, lecturing on his D-Day experiences.

In 1954 he married Margaret Mary Dowdel. A widower, he is survived by their son, John.

__________________
I'd rather be historically accurate than politically correct.
sendpm.gif Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 09-02-2010, 10:00 AM
revwardoc's Avatar
revwardoc revwardoc is offline
Senior Member
 

Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Gardner, MA
Posts: 4,252
Distinctions
Contributor VOM 
Default Who needs a gun when you've got a trumpet.

__________________
I'd rather be historically accurate than politically correct.
sendpm.gif Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 09-10-2010, 11:01 AM
revwardoc's Avatar
revwardoc revwardoc is offline
Senior Member
 

Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Gardner, MA
Posts: 4,252
Distinctions
Contributor VOM 
Default

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39089436...ife/?Gt1=43001

One of original Navajo Code Talkers dies in Arizona
Group in World War II transmitted messages in native language

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — Allen Dale June, one of the 29 original Navajo Code Talkers who confounded the Japanese during World War II by transmitting messages in their native language, has died. He was 91.

June died of natural causes Wednesday night at a veterans hospital in Prescott, his wife, Virginia, told The Associated Press on Thursday.

His health had been failing since earlier this year when he was hospitalized for a urinary tract infection and kidney failure because he wasn't drinking enough water, his wife said. He was hospitalized again two months ago after visiting family on the Navajo Nation and was transferred from a Flagstaff hospital to Prescott, where he was under round-the-clock care.

The Code Talkers took part in every assault the Marines conducted in the Pacific from 1942 to 1945. They sent thousands of messages without error on Japanese troop movements, battlefield tactics and other communications critical to the war's ultimate outcome.

Several hundred Navajos served as Code Talkers during the war, but a group of 29 that included June developed the code based on their native language. Their role in the war wasn't declassified until 1968.

June, who attained the rank of sergeant, received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2001 along with other members of the original Code Talkers.

With his death, only two of the 29 are still living.

"The Navajo Nation lost a great warrior," Tribal Council Speaker Lawrence T. Morgan said in a statement. "His unique service to his country brought positive attention to the Navajo Nation. He will be missed."

June first tried to sign up for the Marines in his hometown of Kaibeto on the Navajo Nation, but a recruiter told him he was too young. He then traveled to the reservation town of Chinle to enlist — because he figured people there wouldn't recognize him — and he could lie about his age and forge his father's signature, Virginia June said.

Even after the code was declassified in 1968, June said little about his role as a Code Talker because he viewed it as bragging, his wife said. Anyone who saw him in the past several years might have been able to guess he was a Code Talker, as he wore a red Navajo Code Talker cap with his name on it wherever he went and a black leather jacket with "Marines" written across the back. He completed his look with a bolo tie that had a large turquoise stone.

Virginia June routinely handed out cards bearing Allen June's picture and rank in the Marines that he had autographed.

Besides his wife, Allen June is survived by 10 children. Funeral services are scheduled for Monday in Page, with burial in Kaibeto.
__________________
I'd rather be historically accurate than politically correct.
sendpm.gif Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Scottish ferry hits shrimping vessel - UPI.com The Patriot Coast Guard 0 08-06-2010 11:28 AM
Bill Hall, Foreign Service officer who also worked for Defense in Brussels, dies The Patriot General 0 07-21-2010 01:39 AM
Piper Cub Air Plane cadetat6 General Posts 0 01-03-2004 07:42 AM
Marine Piper thedrifter Marines 0 06-06-2003 01:25 PM
Bill promoting S. Vietnam flag dies in Va. legislative committee MORTARDUDE Vietnam 0 03-15-2003 07:58 AM

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:17 PM.


Powered by vBulletin, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.