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Piper Daniel Laidlaw VC

Daniel Logan Laidlaw was born in Little Swinton, Berwickshire in 1875 and attended the Boys’ National School in Berwick-upon-Tweed. In 1896, Laidlaw joined the 2nd Battalion, Durham Light Infantry and served in India.  He transferred to the King’s Own Scottish Borderers as a piper in 1898.  His older brother was Pipe-Major in the Regiment.

Daniel left the army in 1912 but re-enlisted in September 1914, shortly after the First World War began.  

His two younger brothers also joined the army at the outbreak of War. George was in the Royal Engineers and James became a farrier in the Royal Horse Artillery.

Daniel was posted to the 7th Battalion, King’s Own Scottish Borderers and was sent to the Western Front.

Piper Laidlaw was 40 years old when he performed the brave action at the Battle of Loos for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

Piper Daniel Laidlaw VC,- The Citation

Following his exploit at Loos, Piper Laidlaw was promoted to corporal. He was decorated by King George V at Buckingham Palace on 4th December 1915, while still recovering from his wounds.

In January 1916 he made a triumphant return to his home at Doddington, where he was carried shoulder-high to his cottage, accompanied by his wife and four children.

Notice of a Public Presentation to Piper Laidlaw VC from the Berwick Journal

Laidlaw returned to his regiment and, in October 1917, he was promoted to sergeant-piper. When he was demobilised in April 1919, he had served in the army for twenty years and six months.

Laidlaw VC attended the Armistice Parade at the Cenotaph in London on 11th November 1920 and the Service in Westminster Abbey during which the “Unknown Warrior” was laid to rest. In 1929, he re-enacted his exploit in the film “The Guns of Loos” and often appeared to play his pipes at Scottish functions in London.

Like many former soldiers, Laidlaw found it difficult to secure regular work.  For several years he was unemployed and then spent a period of time as a chicken farmer. Eventually, in 1938 he became sub-postmaster at Shoresdean.

“The Piper of Loos” died at Shoresdean in 1950 and was buried in the churchyard at Norham.

Piper Daniel Logan Laidlaw VC (Photo courtesy of Philip Rowett)

Piper Laidlaw’s grave in Norham churchyard