Jedburgh musicians play for D-Day veterans

Jedburgh Pipe Band plays on the Normandy beaches for D-Day veterans.
Jedburgh Pipe Band plays on the Normandy beaches for D-Day veterans.

Jedburgh Pipe Band made its annual visit to Normandy this month to play for veterans of the 1944 D-Day landings.

Pipe major Tosh MacDonald also played and was made custodian of the Bill Millin pipes, bringing them home to Jedburgh for safekeeping until the band returns for the 75th anniversary commemorations next year.

The pipe band with the D-Day Revisted party.

The pipe band with the D-Day Revisted party.

The band played, as they do each year, at Colleville Montgomery next to the Bill Millin memorial statue, erected in 2013 to commemorate piper Millin’s bravery in playing up and down Sword Beach.

Other engagements included a ceremony north of Colleville Montgomery for those from the Suffolk Regiment that fought to take the Hillman Bunker, a reception with local school children and veterans in Thury Harcourt, a small town within the Falaise region which was heavily hit during August 1944.

The band also provided entertainment for Thury Harcourt’s mayor Paul Chandelier, at a lunch. It was here that Tosh was presented with the Millin memorial pipes from D-Day Revisited chairman John Phipps MBE.

They are an authentic replica authentic replica of the Peter Henderson military pipes used by Bill and made by RG Hardie of Glasgow. They feature a chanter from an original set of pipes owned and played by Bill.

Pipe Major Tosh MacDonald plays the Millin memorial pipes.

Pipe Major Tosh MacDonald plays the Millin memorial pipes.

Band secretary Mo MacDonald said: “Somewhat astonished but gratefully accepting the pipes, Tosh agreed to keep them safe for the next year and will be very happy to return to play for the Veterans before handing them back to D-Day Revisited.

“To top off the week in Normandy the Pipe Band returned to Sword Beach on the 8th June with the veterans and D-Day Revisited to perform a small ceremony in front of the Bill Millin statue where a wreath was laid to commemorate their fallen comrades.

“Here Tosh took the chance to play the Millin Pipes on Sword Beach where Piper Bill Millin had done so himself 74 years earlier. Both Tosh and the veterans were very touched by this moment of remembrance.”