Daily Express

On sale, pipes of hero killed playing his pals into battle at Somme

- By

News Reporter

BAGPIPES said to have been recovered from the body of a hero piper at the Somme are up for sale.

Private William Alexander Scott went “over the top” on July 1, 1916, armed only with his bagpipes.

His job was to provide morale to his fellow soldiers of the 21st battalion of the Tyneside Scottish.

The young piper, whose age is not known, made it to the German front line before he was shot and killed still carrying his pipes on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

The Scottish instrument was later recovered from the battlefiel­d and returned to the family of Pte Scott.

They always believed the pipes were passed down to him by his father, Alexander Scott, who was also a piper in the same regiment at the turn of the century.

They remained in the Scott family until they were recently sold to a private collector of militaria.


They are now being sold through Lockdales Auctioneer­s, of Ipswich.

The company’s Chris Elmy said: “The bagpipes were brought to one of our valuation day roadshows.

“The owner is a private collector who bought them from the Scott family. The bagpipes have never been up for auction before. The family had always believed they belonged to a relative who was killed at the Somme.

“It is believed the pipes were passed down from Alexander Scott, who was a piper with the Tyneside Scottish in the late 19th, early 20th century, to his son William Alexander Scott, who also piped for the Tyneside Scottish and who was sadly killed in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. The tartan is correct for the regiment and the fact that a set of damaged pipes was kept and treasured leads us strongly to believe they were recovered from the person of William Alexander Scott. Family tradition holds that they were his.

“The music of the pipes was used to raise the morale of the soldiers and also to drown out the sounds of the battle going on around them.”

The pipes are in a worn condition and come in a leather case, he added. There are also documents including a newspaper cutting which states how Pte Scott died leading his fellow soldiers into action unarmed.

He was in one of four Pals Battalions from Newcastle which attacked at 7.30am, opposite the fortified village of La Boisselle.

It is reported that Pte Scott made it to the German trench where he was killed, still holding his pipes. The Tyneside Scottish suffered the worst losses of any brigade on that day, losing up to 2,438 men and all four battalion commanders. Overall, 20,000 British soldiers were killed on that day – the worst in our military history..

Fellow piper George Griffiths said: “He was well liked by officers and men of this battalion. He died a hero for he played the men into action and cheered them up to victory.”

Pte Scott’s body was never found and his name was added to the Thiepval Memorial. The pipes will be sold in an online auction today and are expected to fetch up to £800.

A MAN has denied racially abusing a BBC journalist.

Russell Rawlingson, 50, pleaded not guilty to causing racially aggravated alarm or distress to journalist Sima Kotecha at Leicester magistrate­s court yesterday.

The BBC news correspond­ent said she and her team were subjected to “racist and abusive behaviour” on Sunday while preparing to broadcast from Leicester city centre.

The live segment, which was due to feature reaction from the city’s residents to Boris Johnson’s coronaviru­s lockdown address to the nation, was cancelled.

The alleged incident was then reported to the police.

Rawlingson, from Leicester, was granted conditiona­l bail until a pre-trial hearing at the city’s crown court on June 15.

Ms Kotecha tweeted: “Myself and team were subjected to racist and abusive behaviour. Sad obstructio­n of reporting of a national crisis.Yes I’m furious.”

 ?? Pictures: BNPS ?? Unarmed Private William Scott, right, made it to the German line playing his bagpipes, left
Pictures: BNPS Unarmed Private William Scott, right, made it to the German line playing his bagpipes, left
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