Scots piper freed from Indian jail after four years
Billy Irving, a soldier and piper from Campbeltown, Argyll arrived back in the UK this morning (Wednesday), to the sound of pipers playing The Green Hills of Tyrol at Glasgow Airport. It had been more than four years after he and his group of former British soldiers were jailed in India on weapons charges. Mr Irving is the first of the so-called Chennai Six to be released.
The group had been guards on a ship to combat piracy in the Indian Ocean but they were jailed in October 2013 after being charged by the Indian government with carrying unlicensed firearms and ammunition.
After years of campaigning, they won an appeal against their convictions last week and were given permission to leave India. The remaining five are expected to arrive in the UK tomorrow (Thursday).
Billy, 37, was born in Connel in Appin but he and his family moved to Campbeltown when he was aged nine. He became a piper then became a paratrooper in the British Army. Sources say Billy is keen to get back on to the pipes and is considering competing next season with Johnstone Pipe Band.
The story of his imprisonment featured in a spring 2015 edition of the Piping Times.