Today on 02 June 1950, Daniel Laidlaw aka The Piper of Loos peacefully passed away. He is one of Britain’s most famous Victoria Cross (VC) recipients from World War One and motivated troops in a very Scottish fashion, with bagpipe playing.
Born in the Scottish Border, Piper Laidlaw earned his VC in 1915 at age 40. During the Battle of Loos, at Hill 70, he marched alone into no man’s land playing a tune on his pipes. This was in a bid to motivate his fellow troops who had been left shaken by a gas attack. And it worked. The inspired soldiers sprung into action following his example. According to Kevin Laidlaw, Daniel Laidlaw's great-grandson,: "A Lieutenant Young shouted 'for God's sake Laidlaw, do something'. So he struck up his pipes and went over the top playing Blue Bonnets Over The Border. Daniel didn’t stop playing the pipes until the position was won despite becoming injured. On our WW1 Battlefield Tours, we like to visit Dud Corner Cemetery in France which includes the Loos Memorial.
Sergeant-piper's medals, as he became, are on display in the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. He is one of only two pipers to be awarded the prestigious Victoria Cross.