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Bagpipes in Battle


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#1 Slipdigit

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 10:37 PM

As I was reading the news article concerning the passing of Bill Millis in this thread http://www.ww2f.com/...illin-dies.html, I read this

His commanding officer, Lord Lovat, asked him to ignore instructions banning the playing of bagpipes in battle and requested he play to rally his comrades.

I gather the order mentioned was ignored by some.

Questions:

1. Why was the playing pipes stopped? The psychological aspect or war is important. I would think that the pipes offered an important element in maintaining espirit de corps in stressful times.

2. Was the order rescinded?

3. If so, are the pipes still a part of the "Scottish" formation of the British Army in other than a ceremonial function?

Best Regards,  
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#2 AndyPants

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 11:50 PM

Jeff, I would imagine that in certain situations, they might be the cause of "loss of surprise" during an attack, but also would be a way of giving away the identiy of the attacking unit as well as it's current position to the germans (measuring sound/distance).

Also I would think that the piper would normally stay close to the commander and such ...hence endangering them by inadvertently making them a known target to the Germans.

Another problem with this is they could limit communications between men, with the pipes being so loud.

Again, the piper can't really defend himself in battle.....same with flag bearers I suspose ......well over 350 English Pipers alone were killed during WW1, this isnt including Scots, Irish pipers etc .... so it is a rather dangerous job.

Personally I like them though, great for morale

Edited by AndyPants, 19 August 2010 - 12:17 AM.
added more info

All the Best,

Andy

"people who are not themselves are nobody" - General George S. Patton


#3 Slipdigit

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 12:51 AM

Jeff, I would imagine that in certain situations, they might be the cause of "loss of surprise" during an attack, but also would be a way of giving away the identiy of the attacking unit as well as it's current position to the germans (measuring sound/distance).

Also I would think that the piper would normally stay close to the commander and such ...hence endangering them by inadvertently making them a known target to the Germans.

Another problem with this is they could limit communications between men, with the pipes being so loud.

Again, the piper can't really defend himself in battle.....same with flag bearers I suspose ......well over 350 English Pipers alone were killed during WW1, this isnt including Scots, Irish pipers etc .... so it is a rather dangerous job.

Personally I like them though, great for morale


This all sounds valid.

Given the intangibles of the building morale, would it not be implausible to allow the commander on the spot to be the judge of if and when to employ the pipes? Could they not be a sort of psychological weapon? Both as a boost the battalion or company and against the bad guys

That a racket-producing instrument as not as prevalent in our country's military (thank heavens). But if it is a psychological force-multiplier, then why not use it?

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JW :slipdigit:

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#4 LRusso216

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 01:01 AM

I actually like pipe music (this coming from an Italian!). That said, I can see its use in battle. Many years ago, when I was in graduate school, a professor showed us the film The Battle of Culloden, which featured pipers on the the moors. It sure seemed to scare the daylights out of the British soldiers trying to look through the fog to find out where that godawful racket was coming from. I know I was frightened just watching the film.

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#5 sonofacameron

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 05:59 AM

The 5th battalion Queens Own Cameron Highlanders pipers accompanied the attacking infantry at Al Alamein, October 1942. The piper with my Fathers company had his pipes blown out of his hands and was wounded in both legs. He recovered his pipes and sat and played the men onto their objectives.!!!

#6 urqh

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 04:40 PM

One of the finest displays of why the pipes will always be to the fore came after ww2 Mad Mitch sent a message to Whitehall and arab terrorists and police..Crater Aden. The night he took the city back..with the hackle of the previous regiment the aNorthumbrian Fusileers attached to the belt bucles of the Highlanders as they marched back in..no messing allowed...

#7 The_Historian

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 05:43 PM

He's still celebrated in Stirling, Tam- home of the Argylls. :cool:
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Gordon

#8 will382

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 10:41 PM

My French great great uncle (bit of a mouthful), won the Croix de Guerre on D-day when he attacked with the British. His son recently told me that one of the officers in the landing craft pulled out his bagpipes and played the soldiers onto the beaches as the ramp dropped!

I've been meaning to find out more details - but despite them being an absolute racket, they worked well to boost morale. I'll get in contact with my great uncle and see what I can find out! I seem to remember being told that the piper survived d-day if not the whole war.

#9 texson66

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 05:50 PM


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#10 Jaeger

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 12:18 PM

The pipers were shot left right and centre, that's why it was adviced not to allow the pipers to lead the infantry into battle. Another issue was the cost of the pipes.

There is a bit about it in "None the Bolder"

Needless to say most Scottish units disobeyed this rule along with the "leave the kilts at home". Most noteworthy is the Cameronians in 152nd Bde 51st Highland Div. Who turned up in Tripoli in their kilts.

Another story is from the 1st Northants. Yeomanry commenting on the 1st Black Watch throwing away their tin hats, and donning their balmorals to charge a band of SS Hitleryouths who had faked a white flag.

The WO might issue what orders they like, the Jocks will do what they see fit.
'We march. The enemy is retreating in transport. We follow on foot.' Lt.Neil McCallum 5/7 Gordons 19th November 1942

#11 A-58

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 01:22 AM

This all sounds valid.

Given the intangibles of the building morale, would it not be implausible to allow the commander on the spot to be the judge of if and when to employ the pipes? Could they not be a sort of psychological weapon? Both as a boost the battalion or company and against the bad guys

That a racket-producing instrument as not as prevalent in our country's military (thank heavens). But if it is a psychological force-multiplier, then why not use it?

Sort of like "The Rebel Yell" eh?

"On the Plains of Hesitation, lies the blackened bones of countless millions who,
at the dawn of victory sat down to rest, and resting died"....

(Adlai Stevenson to Harry Truman on discussing the pros and cons of dropping the big one, or so I'm told)


#12 urqh

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 09:10 AM

The pipers were shot left right and centre, that's why it was adviced not to allow the pipers to lead the infantry into battle. Another issue was the cost of the pipes.

There is a bit about it in "None the Bolder"

Needless to say most Scottish units disobeyed this rule along with the "leave the kilts at home". Most noteworthy is the Cameronians in 152nd Bde 51st Highland Div. Who turned up in Tripoli in their kilts.

Another story is from the 1st Northants. Yeomanry commenting on the 1st Black Watch throwing away their tin hats, and donning their balmorals to charge a band of SS Hitleryouths who had faked a white flag.

The WO might issue what orders they like, the Jocks will do what they see fit.


Anyttime anywhere, not even in war...the jocks will do what they see fit. If a Welshman tells you your in his seat...argue by all means, An Englishman share the seat, an Irishman dont worry he'll fall off it soon enough...A jock...well..Just move off his seat...
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#13 A-58

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 04:36 AM

Why are Scotsmen referred to as Jocks? There's got to be a story there.

"On the Plains of Hesitation, lies the blackened bones of countless millions who,
at the dawn of victory sat down to rest, and resting died"....

(Adlai Stevenson to Harry Truman on discussing the pros and cons of dropping the big one, or so I'm told)


#14 formerjughead

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 04:53 AM

I actually like pipe music (this coming from an Italian!). .......


The pipes are indeed a beautiful racket.

YouTube - Celtic Legends - Irish drinking song

YouTube - Celtic Legends - Amazing Grace

Of course that's an Irishman playing the pipes!
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#15 urqh

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Posted 27 September 2010 - 07:19 AM

And with regrets to Jaeger..the forums jock jock...Only Irishmen can play em properly... Highland Cathederal laddie..up yer buggers..at em...
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#16 Jaeger

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Posted 27 September 2010 - 08:30 AM

What's with the Jock-cannae-pipe-bashing? Jerry ne'er complained. Right they are all deed.

In the end we're all british (or subjects ;) )
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'We march. The enemy is retreating in transport. We follow on foot.' Lt.Neil McCallum 5/7 Gordons 19th November 1942

#17 A-58

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 12:29 AM

Why are Scotsmen referred to as Jocks? There's got to be a story there.

Still waiting on a story from urqh. Got to be a good one there somewhere...

"On the Plains of Hesitation, lies the blackened bones of countless millions who,
at the dawn of victory sat down to rest, and resting died"....

(Adlai Stevenson to Harry Truman on discussing the pros and cons of dropping the big one, or so I'm told)


#18 urqh

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 10:07 AM

A Canadian officer, pinned down with his unit in Italy in 1944, urgently signalled his CO - "Need reinforcements to rescue us. Please send six tanks or one piper".

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#19 urqh

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 10:11 AM

Still waiting on a story from urqh. Got to be a good one there somewhere...


A jock..well a Jock...

Jock, a believer in old customs, was giving directions for his own funeral. "Noo," he said to his son, "ye'll gae roon' the entire company an' see that they ha'e a dram. Syne ye'll gae roon' an' see that ha'e anither." Then he sighed and added, "An' as I'll no' be there mysel', I'll just ha'e mine the noo !"

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#20 urqh

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 10:37 AM

Still waiting on a story from urqh. Got to be a good one there somewhere...


Whats a Jock....An emigre Irishman of course.

They are quite similar. One though takes himself more serious than the other. I'll leave you to sort that one out for yourself

Both seem to like violence and booze...One takes it to the limits one sleeps it off.

Old Scottish insult I once received on duty at a demo in Scotland...Me...Get back please gents...You cannot come on here... Scot spitting at me or talking I think: You may as well keep your breath to cool your porridge.

One drinks Whisky the other whiskey...

One has the blarney one has the glasgow head.

Both wear kilts, one with green smartness the other thinks a rainbow is attractive in a skirt.

Both play pipes...One blows em the Irishman makes music.

Jock speaks a dialect of English that only him mum can understand...Paddy, doesnt care if you understand.

Jock Likes his porrige with salt...Paddy likes ready breck...

Jock is cross most of the time...he is so cross he has a flag to let everyone know he's cross..Paddy flies a flag especially designed to have no colours relating to the damn English mans rag if possible.

Jock has a seat with his name on it in every bar in the world..Paddy owns the bar.

Jock says things like cannae and seeyu.....Paddy is used to translate.

All Jocks know Jimmy....All paddies know Murphy

New York and Boston is full of failed Irishmen....India is full of failed Scotsmen....Work that one out...

Pipes are for passing water in England..Scaring the sheep in Scotland, wooing the darlin Theresa in Ireland and for burning English cottages in Wales.

A jock..is just someone to be feared for numerous reasons...

Highland laddie lad...play it loud..The jocks are strangling their pipes..show em ow its done Paddy...

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#21 The_Historian

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 10:42 AM

Why are Scotsmen referred to as Jocks? There's got to be a story there.


There's an expression here- "We're all Jock (John) Tamson (Thompson's) Bairns"-ie we're all the same.
It probably comes from that.
Regards,

Gordon

#22 urqh

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 10:43 AM

There is but one pipe band and one pipe song...

YouTube - The Band Of The Royal Irish Regiment-Highland Cathedral

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#23 LRusso216

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 02:23 PM

Here's a nice clip of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo opening in 2008.

image001.png

Lou


#24 The_Historian

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 08:42 PM

Cheers Lou.
Managed to get to the Tattoo once, back in '85. It was some sight. :cool:
Regards,

Gordon

#25 urqh

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 09:52 PM

Blimey, there aint many Scots in that lot...They're all Nepalese and Canadian....Dont the Scots get the pipes anymore....No got it....As an Irish piper once said to me....How do you know a bagpipes out of tune....Theres a Scotsman playing it....boom boom..
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