The Legendary Piper of D-Day: Bill Millin’s Story

Before we delve into the extraordinary legacy of Bill Millin, the “Mad Piper” of D-Day, we have a special invitation for our readers. Join us for an exclusive interview with John Millin, son of the legendary piper, as he shares intimate details of his father’s remarkable actions on that fateful day in Normandy.


And for those who appreciate the stirring sound of bagpipes, scroll down to see John’s live performance to remember the valour of not only his father but all who served. Don’t miss this captivating tribute to a hero who inspired all the troops around him.

The Unforgettable Sound of Courage

Throughout military history, there are countless stories of bravery, sacrifice, and resilience. Yet, among these tales, the story of Bill Millin stands out for its uniqueness and the sheer audacity of one man’s spirit amidst the chaos of war. Bill Millin, often referred to as the “Mad Piper,” played a pivotal role during World War II, not with a weapon, but with his bagpipes, on the beaches of Normandy.

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The Pipes of War

Serving under Lord Lovat, commander of the 1st Special Service Brigade, Millin found himself in a unique position. Despite the British Army’s ban on pipers leading soldiers into combat, Lord Lovat, adhering to Highland tradition, believed in the inspirational power of the bagpipes. And so, on D-Day, Millin landed on Sword Beach, tasked with an incredible mission: to play his pipes amidst the danger and chaos of the invasion.

Braving the Bullets with Bagpipes

As Millin strode up and down Sword Beach, his bagpipes rallied his comrades with tunes such as “Highland Laddie” and “The Road to the Isles,” undeterred by the hail of bullets and explosions around him. Remarkably, he emerged unscathed, with some captured German soldiers later admitting they spared him, believing him to be mad.

A Son’s Tribute: John Millin’s Exclusive Performance

John Millin performing live at Tower Mint

It’s with great privilege that we present this extraordinary tribute. To commemorate this special occasion, John has learned the melodies that his father played and that once echoed over the chaotic shores of Normandy. In a live performance, he honours his father’s bravery and courage.

Thank you, John. We dedicate the Beach Piper coin to the memory of your remarkable father.

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Striking a coin for his father: The ‘Mad’ Piper of D-Day

John Millin honours his father, Piper Bill Millin, in a poignant tribute by striking a 50p coin for the 80th Anniversary of D-Day.

Stay tuned for the full exclusive interview coming TUESDAY.

My day with Bagpuss star Emily Firmin: Celebrating 50 Years of Bagpuss Magic

I couldn’t believe my luck … I recently went on a journey of a lifetime to Canterbury Museum, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of my most treasured childhood TV series — Bagpuss.

Watch my exclusive interview with Emily Firmin and hear her incredible stories of living in the enchaning world of Bagpuss.

This visit wasn’t just a trip down memory lane, it was an immersive dive into the enchanting world of a show that has captivated hearts for generations. The Beaney House, with its commitment to art and knowledge, provided the perfect setting for this celebration, showcasing the magic that has made Bagpuss an enduring icon we all know and love.

Love Bagpuss? Then take a look at the new set of Bagpuss 50ps ready to take home today

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The iconic opening sequence of the Bagpuss TV series

The highlight of my visit was the incredible opportunity to meet Emily Firmin, the real-life inspiration and the actual little girl that features in the Bagpuss series. Emily, daughter of Peter Firmin, the co-creator of Bagpuss, shared heartwarming stories about the show’s production, her role in it, and the creative atmosphere her family fostered.

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Meeting Emily Firmin and holding one of the actual Bagpuss puppets

One of the most surreal moments was hearing Emily recite the lines she used to wake up Bagpuss on the show. With a voice that bridged the years, she recited:

“Bagpuss, dear Bagpuss

Old fat furry cat-puss

Wake up and look at this thing that I bring

Wake up, be bright

Be golden and light

Bagpuss, Oh hear what I sing”

These iconic words, so familiar yet so powerful, transported me back to my childhood, and brought back some fantastic memories of my own.

Emily shared some fascinating insights into the making of Bagpuss. She spoke of how her family’s farm was transformed into a film studio, with barns converted to bring to life the magical world of Bagpuss and his friends. Her mother’s sewing machine, which stitched the costumes, became a symbol of the show’s handmade charm. Through Emily’s stories, I gained a vivid picture of a creative and collaborative effort that brought Bagpuss to life, highlighting the contributions of her family to the series’ unique look and appeal than won the hearts of everyone who watched.

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A behind the scenes look at the production of Bagpuss

One of the most captivating parts of the conversation for me, was learning about the behind-the-scenes moments, such as the family watching the first bits of film with a cup of tea before they were edited.

Beyond the nostalgia, hearing about Emily’s journey from the little girl who inspired a nation to an accomplished artist was truly inspiring. She spoke with passion about how her parents influenced her career, leading her to create art that reflects the creativity and craftsmanship Bagpuss was so famous for.

Meeting Emily Firmin and hearing her stories was an absolute pleasure. Her generosity in sharing her experiences added a deeply personal touch to my visit. The exhibition, the interview, and the whole day was not just a tribute to Bagpuss but a celebration of creativity, family, and the timeless appeal of storytelling.

Happy 50th Bagpuss.

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Did you Know? Bagpuss and his friends, Professor Yaffle, Gabriel, Madeleine and the Mice are featured on a set of new 50p coins to mark 50 years since the classic children’s television first appeared on our screens.
Bring Bagpuss into your home, click here to secure your magical 50p coins now! >>>>