Memorial to the Franco-British liberators who landed here on the morning of June 6, 1944.
"If they remember the piper, then they will not forget those who served and those who fell on the beaches"
Piper William "BILL" MILLIN
Millin, the son of a Scotsman who became a policeman on his return to Glasgow, is known as one of the few pipers to play during the Second World War. Pipers traditionally led Scottish troops in battle. However, the casualty rate among pipers was so high during the First World War that the practice was banned during the fighting by the British High Command. Lord Lovat, however, ignored these orders, and Bill Millin, then aged 21, played Highland Laddie and The Road to the Isles (en) among his fallen comrades during the landings at Colleville-Montgomery (Sword Beach sector) on June 6, 1944.
The mission of Lord Lovat's troops after landing at Sword Beach was to reach Pegasus Bridge as quickly as possible, the code name for the bridge located on the Caen Canal between Bénouville and Ranville, to reinforce the British airborne troops who had taken it during the night. Legend has it that the British commandos holding the bridge heard Millin's bagpipes playing "Blue bonnets over the boarder "4 before the reinforcements arrived. As German soldiers later testified, they didn't aim at him, thinking he was mad5.
Bill Millin, like many veterans, regularly returned to the bridge for D-Day commemorations. Weakened by a heart attack in 2003, he was confined to a wheelchair with a paralyzed right arm, and was absent for several years from June 6th commemorations in France. He did, however, attend those held in Colleville-Montgomery in 2009 and 2010 (his last trip to France).
He died on August 17, 2010 at Torbay Hospital in Torquay, Devon, aged 88.