Bill Millin plays his pipes for fellow soldiers in 1944
14 July 1922|
|Died||17 August 2010
|Unit||Highland Light Infantry
Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders
No. 4 Commando
|World War II||Normandy landings at Sword Beach|
|Other work||Psychiatric nurse|
Early life 
He was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada on 14 July 1922 to a father of Scottish origin who returned to Glasgow as a policeman when William was three. He grew up and went to school in the Shettleston area of the city. He joined the Territorial Army in Fort William, where his family had moved, and played in the pipe bands of the Highland Light Infantry and the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders before volunteering as a commando and training with Lovat at Achnacarry along with French, Dutch, Belgian, Polish, Norwegian, and Czechoslovakian troops.
World War II 
Millin is best remembered for playing the pipes whilst under fire during the D-Day landing in Normandy. Pipers had traditionally been used in battle by Scottish and Irish soldiers. However, the use of bagpipes was restricted to rear areas by the time of the Second World War by the British Army. Lovat, nevertheless, ignored these orders and ordered Millin, then aged 21, to play. 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.” He played "Hielan' Laddie" and "The Road to the Isles" as his comrades fell around him on Sword Beach. Millin states that he later talked to captured German snipers who claimed they did not shoot at him because they thought he was crazy.
Millin, whom Lovat had appointed his personal piper during commando training at Achnacarry, near Fort William in Scotland, was the only man during the landing who wore a kilt – it was the same Cameron tartan kilt his father had worn in Flanders during World War I – and he was armed only with his pipes and the sgian-dubh, or "black knife", sheathed inside his kilt-hose on the right side.
Lovat and Millin advanced from Sword Beach to Pegasus Bridge, which had been defiantly defended by men of the 2nd Bn the Ox & Bucks Light Infantry (6th Airborne Division) who had landed in the early hours by glider. Lovat's commandos arrived at a little past one p.m. at Pegasus Bridge although the rendezvous time in the plan was noon. To the sound of Millin's bagpipes, the commandos marched across Pegasus Bridge as a result of which twelve men died, shot through their berets. Later detachments of the commandos rushed across in small groups with helmets on. Millin's D-Day bagpipes were later donated to the now Pegasus Bridge Museum.
Later life 
Millin saw further action with 1 SSB in the Netherlands and Germany before being demobbed (demobilised) in 1946 and going to work on Lord Lovat's highland estate. In the 1950s he became a registered psychiatric nurse in Glasgow, moving south to a hospital in Devon in the late '60s until he retired in the Devon town of Dawlish in 1988. He made regular trips back to Normandy for commemoration ceremonies. France awarded him a Croix d’Honneur award for gallantry in June 2009. In 2006, a Devon folk singer, Sheelagh Allen, wrote a song about him, "The Highland Piper".
Popular culture and legacy 
French fundraisers have been trying to raise £80,000 to erect a statue of Piper Millin at Colleville-Montgomery, a town on Sword Beach, but have been disappointed by only six of the 87 donations having come from the UK.
Another set of his bagpipes are now displayed at Dawlish Museum. Millin presented his pipes to Dawlish Museum prior to the 60th anniversary of the D-Day Landings in 2004, along with his kilt, bonnet and dirk. These items are still shown at the museum library with photographic archives and looped video telling of Millin’s exploits.
A date of 8 June 2013 has been set for the unveiling of the bronze life-size statue of Piper Bill Millin at Colleville-Montgomery, near Sword Beach, in France. Fundraising efforts are almost there and John Millin (his son) visited Dawlish on 30 September 2012 to see his father's famous D-Day bagpipes at the museum and to collect further donations from the Dawlish Royal British Legion. 
- "Piper Bill Millin", Telegraph
- Phil Davison,The Independent Obituaries.23 August 2010.
- Arthur, Max - Forgotten Voices of The Second World War, 2004, Random House, ISBN 0091897343, p 317
- "Bill Millin, Scottish D-Day Piper, Dies at 88". New York Times. August 19, 2010. Archived from the original on 23 August 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-20. "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."
- Scotland.com -History of Scotland
- "Bill Millin". The Economist: 76. August 28, 2010. Retrieved January 12, 2010.
- Phil Davison,The Independent Obituary,23 August 2010
- "Bill Millin". The Economist. 26 August 2010. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
- Daily Record article on Bill Millin
- Daily Mail article on Bill Millin
- BBC News
- Phil Davison,The Independent Obituaries,23 August 2010
- "Dawlish D-Day veteran back in Normandy", The Herald, June 6, 2009,
- French condemn 'mean' British over memorial,Daily Telegraph 4 June 2010
- Mavis Stuckey (Dawlsh Museum Curator). Western Morning News. August 18, 2010.
- "'A true British hero'". Tindle Newspapers Ltd. August 25, 2010. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
- ellen grindley reporter dawlish gazette, 19th september, 2012. Publisher Tindle Newspapers Ltd.
- Bill Millin talks about the landing on Sword Beach
- BBC News, Accessed 19 November 2009
- Pegasus Archive's page on Bill Millin
- The tribute to Bill Millin on the BBC's obituary programme, Last Word (2010 8 27), with excerpts from interviews with Millin, his son, and others who knew him