Dagenham Girl Pipers

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The Dagenham Girl Pipers are a female bagpipe marching band based in Dagenham, Greater London.

The band was formed in by a Congregational minister, Rev Joseph Waddington Graves,[1] in 1930, turning professional three years later,[2] and have toured internationally. The girls were initially taught in secret by Scottish Pipe Major Douglas Scott-Taylor who, it is said, thought teaching women would damage his reputation.[1]

The pipers were also known for having the first female, and first non-Scot pipe major who came from their own ranks, when Sgt Edith Turnbull—the first member of the band—was made a Pipe Major in the band.

During a pre-war performance in Germany, Hitler was heard to remark: "I wish I had a band like that."[1]

During World War II, the pipers were members of ENSA (Entertainments National Service Association) and entertained the troops.[3]

Dagenham Girl Pipers in popular culture[edit]

In an essay by Douglas Adams published in The Salmon of Doubt, Adams described the Dagenham Girl Pipers as his "dream lover", writing "With all due respect and love to my dear wife, there are some things that, however loving or tender your wife may be, only a large pipe band can give you".

The Dagenham girl pipers were often referred to by Eric Morecambe during episodes of The Morecambe and Wise Show. The Pipers are also referenced during George and Mildred series 1, episode 10 as well as Minder series 3, episode 8, and The Two Ronnies.

They are mentioned by Alfred Marks in the film Desert Mice.


  1. ^ a b c EMMA COOK (23 October 2011). "Reunited: girl pipers who wowed Hitler". The Independent. 
  2. ^ Olechnowicz, Andrzej (1997). Working-class Housing in England Between the Wars: The Becontree Estate. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-820650-X. [1] Accessed online 2007-02-16
  3. ^ BBC - Essex Video Nation - War Farm Work

External links[edit]