Leading the D-Day call

Sally Craik, pictured at the Vauxhall Yacht Club yesterday, will play at Pukeahu National War...
Sally Craik, pictured at the Vauxhall Yacht Club yesterday, will play at Pukeahu National War Memorial in Wellington for the 80th anniversary of D- Day. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
A Dunedin bagpiper will be leading the call at a special celebration for D-Day.

Sally Craik will pipe the international tune The Battles O’er at Pukeahu National War Memorial in Wellington on June 6, leading the 80th anniversary of D-Day’s worldwide commemorations.

Ms Craik said she had been preparing for this event for nearly a year.

She had previously performed at Larnach Castle for the Queen.

"I have had to practise several hours every week", she said.

"The tune we are playing is very traditional; the emotions that come from the sound of the bagpipes is really beautiful."

"It’s going to be exciting leading the call."

On June 6, 1944, Allied forces launched the largest amphibious invasion in history, known as Operation Overlord or D-Day. This monumental offensive on the beaches of Normandy marked a turning point in World War 2, paving the way for the eventual liberation of Europe from Nazi occupation.

Ms Craik said she was humbled to be able to pay tribute to its history.

"The bagpipes have such a resonant sound; this is a real opportunity for them to be heard.

"I'm quite nervous and excited; it’s also an opportunity to pay tribute to my Scottish heritage."

As night descends over the Allied nations, the sound of bagpipes will be played in the capital cities on June 6 at 9.10pm, starting in Wellington and then on to Canberra, London, Edinburgh, Belfast, Washington DC, Ottawa, Paris, Brussels, Athens, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Oslo, Warsaw and Prague, and Normandy.

Pageant master of D-Day 80 Bruno Peek said the tune had particular significance to the day.

"There were countless acts of bravery that day, one of that stands out was 21-year-old Piper Bill Millin, 1st Special Service Brigade and Personal Piper to Lord Lovat, who came ashore armed with only his bagpipes to play under fire on Sword Beach as his comrades came ashore."