The King’s Own Scottish Borderers Association held a short service at Norham to commemorate the death of Piper Daniel Laidlaw - ‘The Piper of Loos’.
This year will be the 100th anniversary of him receiving the Victoria Cross. He is the only VC holder buried in Northumberland.
Born in 1875 at Little Swinton, Daniel Laidlaw joined the 2nd Battalion, Durham Light Infantry on April 11, 1896. He was immediately posted to India, where he stayed for two years until June 1898. Whilst there he was employed on plague duty in Bombay from March to May 1898.
After returning to Britain he was claimed out of the DLI by his eldest brother and served in the King’s Own Scottish Borderers as a piper until April 1912, when he was placed on the reserve.
Upon the outbreak of war in Europe, Daniel Laidlaw re-enlisted in the KOSB on September 1, 1914, and went to France with the regiment the following June. In his own words he describes his action that resulted in him being awarded the Victoria Cross.
“On Saturday morning we got orders to raid the German trenches. At 6.30 the bugles sounded the advance and I got over the parapet with Lieutenant Young. I at once got the pipes going and the laddies gave a cheer as they started off for the enemy’s lines.
“As soon as they showed themselves over the trench top they began to fall fast, but they never wavered, but dashed straight on as I played the old air they all knew ‘Blue Bonnets over the Border’.
“I ran forward with them piping for all I knew, and just as we were getting near the German lines I was wounded by shrapnel in the left ankle and leg. I was too excited to feel the pain just then, but scrambled along as best I could.
“I changed my tune to ‘The Standard on the Braes o’Mar’, a grand tune for charging on. I kept on piping and piping and hobbling after the laddies until I could go no farther, and then seeing that the boys had won the position I began to get back as best I could to our own trenches.” (London Gazette, November 18, 1915).