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  1. #1
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    Piper.

    Who was the piper from 2nd battalion Black Watch who played on board the warship sailing into Alexandria harbour after the evacuation from crete 1941. Was it Piper Bill Lark, or could it have been Piper Ogilvie ?

  2. #2
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    Was it pipe major Rob Roy Macgregor? Bill.

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    No, Piper Roy had already been captured in crete ! It was either Piper Bill Lark, or Piper Ogilvie ! There is also some confusion as to what ship was involved. Some reports say it was HMS Dido, and others say it was HMS Jackel. During the confusion of the evacuation it would appear that information got mixed. Thanks again Bill.

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    You are right Mikee, I checked on this and Rob Roy was wounded and captured,then he escaped and got back to Alexandria in a submarine.I remember seeing him in Gibraltar where he was the Garrison RSM and was also Pipe Major of a boy scout pipes and drums which played for us when the troop ship was docking in the harbour. Bill..

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    Thanks for the reply Bill ! I am trying to verify this account for a Greek naval commander who has published a book to be released in December called The Battle of Heraklion. This book is going to put the 2nd battalion Black Watch right in the picture for what they achieved during the battle. It is based on 3 veterans accounts, Greek, German, and Scottish ! Davy Hutton from Dundee who was there has contributed. Regarding the piper on the warship piping coming into Alexandria there seems to be two versions It was Piper Ogilvie on board HMS Jackel, A painting depicting this event was commissioned, but because HMS Jackal was not attacked and damaged during her flight to Alexandria the artist decided to substitute HMS Jackal for HMS Dido which was severly damaged during her run to Alexandria ! Thus making the painting more dramatic ! ! ! The other version is that it was Piper Bill Lark on board HMS Dido. I know from speaking to Bill before he passed away that he was on the Dido, I also recall him mentioning an event in which he participated in and another Piper got the credit for ! Could this have been the incident ? It would be good if we could clarify this for the Greek Commander who was born in Heraklion himself as I know he is putting a lot of research into the 2nd battalion Black Watch and what they achieved in Heraklion during the battle. Where are all the Black Watch historians ?

  6. #6
    Administrator Chalky's Avatar
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    I have checked the history books that I have and they mention a Piper and the fact that the RN lit him up with a searchlight.

    Sadly, no name was recorded.

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    I have come across a similar story, but as you say no name was given to this Piper ! Sadly those questions come up when its too late to ask them personally ! My hunch is that it was Bill, and with a set o pipes you could not keep him out of the spotlight. I could visualize him on top of that gunturret playing. He was a well known guy in crete who attended ALL the events long after the war, representing the Black Watch and I would go as far to say that he had celebrity status in Crete. A very nice man to have known, and a true warrior too the end. However the question remains as to who this piper was ? I can only thank you Chalky for your input in trying to solve the issue. p.s. This book in December is going to be a good one, very comprehensive with no stones unturned. This Greek officer has investigated every angle. My copy is ordered already.
    Last edited by mikee; 21st July 2016 at 20:13. Reason: small adition

  8. #8
    Administrator Chalky's Avatar
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    Hi mikee,

    Bill piped them into battle against the Japs in the Jungle.

    https://www.warhistoryonline.com/rev...-chindits.html

    Any chance of putting a link up for the book?

    Did you know about this?

    http://www.hms-dido.com/

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    Hi Chalky, thanks for the reply ! Yes I knew all about his exploits with the chindits, and how he got a set of pipes dropped into the jungle for him. I also had the pleasure of listening to him and the late jim mcneilly from Arbroath telling me in graphic detail how they ambush the Jap,s in the jungle. I would,nt have argue with that pair over a plate of biscuits ! I ran out of teabags, but the stories were good, when they left it took me hours to sweep up all the shrapnel ! Looking back at what they achieved particularly in Somaliland they were all hero,s to a man and proud of their red hackle. Regarding a link for the book I will post one in due time, I am trying to nail down the identity of this mystery piper ! I cant seem to find anything relating to piper Ogilvie either. So once again Chalky thanks for your input.

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    Hi Chalky, Here is the link for the forth coming book on the battle for Heraklion ! I have read small extracts of it and found it very interesting. Unlike many books the information from a British point of view is exclusively Black Watch 2nd Battalion oriented. A definite must for the castle library ! Mikee.

    http://www.casematepublishing.co.uk/...rete-1941.html

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