ACT News

Gang-gang. 100 Years Ago. Inspiring Scottish piper wins VC at Loos

Our chaps' feats of bravery in the Great War were often given an added Boy's Own lustre by our side's press. Sydney's The World's News offered this lustrous, bagpipe-accompanied saga 100 years ago this week.


Typically inspiring Scottish piper.
Typically inspiring Scottish piper. Photo: Fairfax Media

" 'Good-bye, Dan. Be sure you bring home the V.C.' Mrs Daniel Laidlaw told her husband when he left for France. Dan has proved a dutiful husband. He has brought home the V.C."

Dan Laidlaw told the press, modestly, what happened.

" [One of the German's] shells burst amidst our men in our trenches. It had a bad effect. But in a flash Lieutenant Young sized up the situation, and, noticing I had my pipes, exclaimed, 'For God's sake, Laidlaw, pipe them together!'"

"To mount the parapet in front of his comrades was but a moment's work. And in another moment Piper Laidlaw sent out upon the light morning breeze the stirring strains of the regiment march, Blue Bonnets Over the Border. The effect was magical. At once the men regained all their dash and nerve, hurtled out of their position, and swept down upon and captured the Germans' first trench.

"Then forward Piper Laidlaw marched, [ever piping]."

Suddenly he was wounded by shrapnel.

​"Nevertheless, as he lay on the ground, he piped as long as strength remained. And by now the pipes had worked their charm to the full. From where he lay, Piper Laidlaw could see his comrades [surging] through the third line of the German trenches."