Piper Wullie Marr’s WW1 pipes come home

The Marr family gather round Piper Marr's bagpipes
The Marr family gather round Piper Marr's bagpipes

There was an emotional reunion for members of the Marr family at Newton Stewart Museum, when the bagpipes Piper Wullie Marr played at the Battles of Loos and the Somme during World War One were gifted to Newton Stewart Museum by his granddaughter Anne.

At 2pm, 17-year-old piper Amy Ritchie, from Newton Stewart, played a haunting lament as she led the family procession into the Museum though a Guard of Honour provided by members of the British Legion.

Out in front was Piper Marr’s daughter carrying the historic bagpipes.

Inside the Museum, Reverend Edward Lyons, parish minister of Penninghame St John’s, addressed around 50 members of the public who had come along to witness the poignant event, said how honoured the Museum, and the whole town was, to have these iconic pipes now on permanent display in the museum.

He reminded everyone that 165 pipers had left from Wullie’s battalion for the First World War and only five came home, including Wullie.

William Marr served as a piper and stretcher-bearer with the Royal Scots Fusiliers and the Highland Light Infantry. He survived the war and returned to Newton Stewart to work at Penninghame Estates until he retired.

He married after war and he and his wife Janet had a family of three. He did play the bagpipes for a short time on his return but gave it up, perhaps it reminded him too much of the pipers who didn’t make it home.

He died in 1981 at the age of 89.