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The official magazine of The Royal British Legion Scotland Issue 18 Summer 2018 www.legionscotland.org.uk

MUSIC AND MEMORIES

Meet the padre How Rev Dr Karen Campbell supports the charity

PERFORMERS EXPLORE THE REALITIES OF LIFE ON THE FRONT LINE PLUS

BRANCH NEWS, COMMEMORATIVE BENCHES, LAST POST, VOICES OF VETERANS, 'THANK YOU' CAMPAIGN, LOCAL HERO, POPPYSCOTLAND NEWS

Royal British Legion Scotland: at the heart of Scotland’s veteran community


WELCOME

LEGION SCOTLAND New Haig House, Logie Green Road, Edinburgh EH7 4HQ Patron Her Majesty The Queen President Lieutenant General Sir Alistair Irwin KCB CBE MA National Chairman Charlie Brown National Vice Chairman Martyn Hawthorn National Treasurer Jamie Bryant Chief Executive Officer Kevin Gray MM EDITOR Claire Armstrong MANAGING EDITOR Fiona McKinlay EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Jonathan McIntosh DESIGNER Andrew Bell SUB-EDITORS Andrew Littlefield, Sean Guthrie ACCOUNT DIRECTOR Helen Cassidy helen.cassidy@thinkpublishing.co.uk STORIES TO SHARE? Please contact magazine@legionscotland.org.uk or call 0131 550 1586. Submissions received by 13 August 2018 will be considered for inclusion in the next issue, but we appreciate your stories at any time and may be able to share them through other avenues such as social media. Articles are likely to be edited and inclusion is not guaranteed. Sending high-resolution images as email attachments will increase the chances of us being able to use your story. The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher. Published on behalf of Legion Scotland by Think Publishing Ltd Red Tree Business Suites, 33 Dalmarnock Road, Glasgow G40 4LA 0141 375 0504

Let us show how grateful we are

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HANK YOU are the two key words that will be uniting the ex-service community and the whole country this year, as we look back on the We want to efforts of those who served in the First World make sure the War and fought to protect our freedom. message is heard Legion Scotland and Poppyscotland have been asked by the Royal British Legion, loud and clear which serves and unites veterans south of the border, to assist in the delivery of a nationwide Thank You project. Members of Legion Scotland have been local custodians of Remembrance since 1921. In this centenary year of the end of WWI, we want to make sure that our message is heard especially loud and clear. Find out more about the Thank You project on page 6. Elsewhere in this issue, we look at how branches can secure commemorative benches to help keep the Remembrance message prominent in their local community. See page 18. We also have an interview with Legion Scotland padre, Rev Dr Karen Campbell, in which she shares her family connections to the military and what it means to her to represent the organisation at services. See page 14. Our cover story looks at Far Far From Ypres, a show exploring the realities of life on the front lines of World War One. Supported by Legion Scotland and Poppyscotland, Far Far From Ypres will be touring the country from August to November. Its creator, Ian McCalman, discusses his inspiration for the project on page 22. Many thanks to all of you who continue to help Legion Scotland in our important work of supporting veterans in Scotland.

ADVERTISING Alison Fraser alison.fraser@thinkpublishing.co.uk 0141 946 8708 Copyright Š Legion Scotland 2018. All rights reserved. Legion Scotland is a trading name of the Royal British Legion Scotland SCIO, Scottish Charity No.SC003323

Kevin Gray MM CEO Legion Scotland

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SUMMER 2018

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CONTENTS

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LEGION NEWS The latest from Legion Scotland and beyond, including a campaign to salute the heroes of WWI

10

BRANCH NEWS Stories from Legion Scotland branches across the country

12

LOCAL HERO The member whose homemade cards help bring troops together

14

WONDER WOMAN Padre Rev Dr Karen Campbell on supporting those who have served

18

REMEMBRANCE BENCHES Why memorial benches help preserve memories of the fallen

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ON THE COVER Standard bearers flank Barbara Dickson, who appears in Far, Far From Ypres, and Ian McCalman, the writer and producer of the show

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SONGS OF WAR The story behind WWI stage show Far, Far From Ypres

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VOICES OF VETERANS John Aitken recalls his role in Operation Overlord

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POPPYSCOTLAND 2017 poppy appeal figures

SOCIAL MEDIA facebook.com/ LegionScotland twitter.com/ LegionScotland

LAST POST Tributes to recently departed members of Legion Scotland

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FLIGHT FROM THE FORTH The RAF takes off as WWI draws to a close

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LEGION NEWS

Keeping you up to date with Legion Scotland’s latest

CEO Kevin Gray MM (centre), veterans support administrator Tommy Douglas and veterans support co-ordinators getting the Thank You campaign under way

CAMPAIGN

THANK YOU CAMPAIGN TO MARK WWI CENTENARY Call to hold events saluting Great War generation TO COINCIDE with the centenary of the end of World War One, Legion Scotland is asking veterans across the country to inspire the public to show their gratitude for those who endured the conflict up close and from afar.

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North of the border, Legion Scotland and Poppyscotland are driving the Royal British Legion’s Thank You project, which will gather pace in the last 100 days of the centenary, from 8 August to 11 November. You could hold a street party, a fundraising event or an afternoon tea in honour of those who fought and those who worked to rebuild the country. Share your photographs of the events with Legion Scotland Today, via social media such as Facebook or by email to thankyou@legionscotland.org.uk. Legion Scotland CEO Kevin Gray says: “We are inviting the public to take part in a movement to say ‘thank you’ to the

First World War generation, who served, sacrificed and changed our world. We want everyone to join us to say thank you in their own way.” The campaign got under way at May’s annual conference in Perth, with delegates and officials signing a Thank You board and the distribution of cards made to promote the project. Branches should contact their area secretary for copies of a promotional film to support the campaign. To watch the film visit the link below. legionscotland.org.uk/royal-britishlegion-scotland-says-thank-you


RESEARCH CONFERENCE

YEARLY GATHERING ATTRACTS BIG NUMBERS Historical Investigations Unit, which will be tasked with dealing with unsolved killings in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. The clubs conference was again a success and workshop sessions, run for the first time, attracted an excellent number of delegates, whose levels of engagement were highly encouraging.

EX-SERVICE men and women are being invited to participate in new research exploring what it means to be a member of Legion Scotland and how identifying yourself as a veteran can affect health and wellbeing. The aims of the PhD project at Nottingham Trent University, which will span three years, are to increase the benefits of belonging to a veterans’ organisation such as Legion Scotland, and to find ways of minimising the negative effects of making the transition from military to civilian life.

The Legion Scotland annual conference returns to Perth on 1 and 2 June, 2019

If you wish to take part in the survey, which is confidential, visit http://milvetpsych.com/study

Delegates meet for three-day annual conference LEGION SCOTLAND’S annual conference brought to Perth more than 100 delegates from 77 Legion branches for a range of activities old and new. Delegates attending the Dewars Centre from 24 to 26 May were addressed by Legion Scotland President Sir Alistair Irwin, National Chairman Charlie Brown and CEO Kevin Gray. Air Officer Scotland, Air ViceMarshal Ross Paterson, gave an Armed Forces update. Of particular interest to the audience was a detailed talk on the proposed

SURVEY AIMS TO LEARN FROM VETERANS

RETAIL

A COIN TO COMMEMORATE THE ROYAL British Legion Scotland has commissioned a limited edition coin in a beautiful presentation box to commemorate Armistice 100, and to say ‘Thank You’ to all who served, sacrificed and changed our world during the First World War. The coin’s front face has the Thank You logo, Scottish poppy and the words, “All who served, sacrificed and changed our world 1918 – 2018”. On the reverse, Laurence Binyon’s famous phrase, “At the going down

of the sun and in the morning we will remember them”, encircles the badge of the Royal British Legion Scotland. The coins will be available for purchase from 11 August at the special price of £15 plus P&P, with a minimum of £5 from every coin being donated to the Scottish Poppy Appeal. To ensure you don’t miss out, please email: thankyoucoin @ legionscotland.org.uk with your name, contact number, address and how many coins you require

CORRECTION In the winter 2017-2018 issue, on page 19, it was stated that “Four Second World War airmen were killed in a crash on the slopes of Ben More on 13 April 1941”. In actual fact, there were six airmen killed in the accident. Their names and ranks are inscribed on a large granite block which has replaced the memorial cairn. While the team at Legion Scotland Today make every effort to be accurate and rigorous, occasionally an error will slip through. Please accept our apologies.

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LEGION SCOTLAND NEWS

MEMBERSHIP MATTERS Our new plastic membership cards launch in November 2018, and the feedback so far has been excellent What details will be on my card? Each card will feature your first name and surname, branch name, unique ID number and membership category. Titles such as Mr and Mrs will not be included. Special titles and postnominals may be added on the instruction of your branch but may have to be abbreviated. How do I know my details are correct before the card is produced? We are currently returning all membership lists to branches with instructions on how to check them carefully. The final lists will be used to create the cards. Contact your branch to confirm the information they hold is accurate or call head office on 0131 550 1586. How long does the card last for and what size is it? The card is the same size as a bank card and should be retained for the lifetime of your membership. There will be no end date on the card. The year of issue will be printed on the back. What do I do if I lose my card? You should notify head office by calling 0131 550 1586 so that we can arrange for a replacement card and notify your branch. The cost of replacement will be borne by the individual. What if my details on the card change or are incorrect? If the details are incorrect you should notify us immediately. We will liaise with your branch and confirm a replacement card is required as the details they provided were not correct. The cost of the replacement will then need to be met by the branch. If your details

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The new membership card means you’ll have all your details to hand

change throughout the membership year (e.g. change of name) we will issue a new card at no cost to branch or member. When will I receive my card? Your branch will issue your card on receipt of your renewal payment for 2018/19. Your card will be attached to a personalised letter with useful information for the year ahead. Do I still need to complete a membership duplicate form? No. All members who renew this year will receive their card and letter, which replaces this form. The letter will have a tear-off section to use for updating your details, Gift Aid declarations, confirming your consent preferences and making donations. Where does my unique ID number come from and why is this used? When each member is added to the database they are assigned a unique six-digit number which remains with them for the lifetime of their

membership. This number will be on your membership card and letter. When you call head office this is how we identify your record to make updates or amend information. This number remains with you even if you transfer branches or your membership lapses for a time. What happens in 2019/20 when I renew with my branch? We will issue all branches with personalised letters for members which will have a detachable date sticker for 2019/20. These will be issued to you every year on receipt of your renewal payment. The sticker should be placed over the original year of issue on the back of your card. I currently pay by direct debit. How will this affect me? Your direct debit will continue as before and your personalised letter and card will be issued to you directly from head office. If you have any other queries please contact us on 0131 550 1586


LARGS

BLIND VETERAN REGAINS SIGHT Largs branch raises funds for high-tech glasses

A FORMER cover star of Legion Scotland Today has regained his sight thanks to a campaign led by members of the Largs branch of Legion Scotland. John Hutchinson, vice president of the branch, has been registered blind for more than 10 years and was one of only four people in the UK to be asked by researchers at Oxford University to participate in a trial for Smart Specs. The glasses allowed the 90-yearold Army veteran to see his wife Charlotte, 78, for the first time in a decade – but after three weeks he had to hand the high-tech spectacles back. Enter the Largs branch, who began a crowdfunding campaign to raise the £2,500 required to buy the glasses for John, whose gradual sight loss began when parasites entered his bloodstream while he was digging wells for famine victims in Ethiopia and Rwanda. Thanks to the generosity of his

John Hutchinson with his guide dog Bracken and, below, wearing the trial glasses

fellow townspeople John will receive a pair of the spectacles later this year. “I’m overwhelmed,” said John, who served in the Army for 18 years. “It’s wonderful to know I’ll be able to see again. “Wearing the glasses is like a rebirth – I’ll be able to do all the things I’ve missed out on instead of walking with a white stick and my guide dog Bracken.”

GRANGEMOUTH

REMEMBRANCE TRIP Grangemouth branch members at the National Memorial Arboretum

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MEMBERS OF THE GRANGEMOUTH branch of Legion Scotland visited the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire in March, taking in some of the 350 memorials on display across the 150-acre site. Besides more than 30,000 trees, the arboretum is home to the Armed Forces Memorial, which honours those who died in service or as a result of terrorist

activity. The branch committee hopes to repeat the visit, which was funded by a donation from Central Demolition, next summer. Elsewhere, branch chairman Alan Lochrie and vice chairman Ray Burns congratulated Emma Purves, a member of 1st Bantaskin Guides, on raising £70 to help fund her Baden-Powell Award by selling felt poppies at craft fairs.


BRANCH NEWS

Montrose Women’s Section volunteers

LOCHALSH

Air Vice-Marshal Ross Paterson cuts the cake CARNOUSTIE

EVENTS MARK RAF MILESTONE Carnoustie branch celebrates 100 years of air force CARNOUSTIE BRANCH marked the centenary of the RAF with a brace of events that spanned the celebratory and the respectful. On Friday 30 March the branch hosted a drinks reception at which Air Officer Scotland, Air Vice-Marshal Ross Paterson cut a 100th-anniversary cake alongside fellow guests including Legion Scotland President Sir Alistair Irwin and Georgiana Osborne, Lord-Lieutenant of Angus. The evening kicked off with speeches from branch chairman Group Captain Davie Paton and AVM Paterson focusing on the

past and present of the RAF before guests took to the dance floor. On the Sunday a crowd of 100 gathered at Carnoustie War Memorial for a commemorative service led by branch padre Dougal Edwards, during which a wreath was laid in memory of the RAF fallen. Meanwhile, branch staff and committee members recently underwent training in using the club’s defibrillator. The machine was bought to cope with emergencies that might occur in the building.

KIRKWALL

LIFE BEGINS AT FIFTY KIRKWALL BRANCH celebrated 50 years in its current premises with an evening of food and live music. On April 26, 1968, the move to Junction Road from Great Western Road was marked at an official ceremony. Five decades later, on Friday 27 April, members enjoyed a buffet in the club before dancing to music from a local band. During the event branch president Bryan Taylor and Eric Munro, area president for Highlands and Islands, cut an anniversary cake.

BIRTHDAY BOOST CHARLIE M MACRAE, secretary of the Lochalsh branch, raised more than £600 by suggesting guests at his 80th birthday party in Plockton Town Hall make a donation instead of buying him a present. Charlie joined the branch in 1963 and has been secretary since 1987. MONTROSE

FAYRE WINDFALL WOMEN VOLUNTEERS at the Legion Community Cafe received a cheque for £500 from the Montrose Wedding Fayre, held in January. The women’s section of the Montrose branch recently celebrated its 35th-year anniversary. HAMILTON

GARDEN EXPERT THE HAMILTON branch is seeking a military veteran with horticultural expertise to help shape the development of a veterans’ garden in South Lanarkshire. Those wishing to find out more should email jimpoulton49@outlook.com MOFFAT

MILITARY MUSIC THE RESERVE band of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers delivered an outstanding performance to a full house at a concert organised by the Moffat branch at the town hall on Saturday Bitassi aut aut 14 April. Proceeds were divided utatur? Quide between the branch and reiuria con erum Bankfoot House, a care home in the town.

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Looking at the excellent work carried out by our branches and members

LOCAL HERO

Send your inspirational stories to magazine@legionscotland.org.uk

HOUSE OF CARDS A

Cumbernauld branch member Mary McGregor does all she can to raise funds for the military community

MEMBER OF the Cumbernauld branch for more than 20 years, Mary McGregor works tirelessly to raise funds for those in service. From starring as Miss January in a Calendar Girls-style calendar – which raised £11,000 for Erskine Hospital and Strathcarron Hospice – to helping run the seniors club that takes place every Wednesday at the Cumbernauld branch, Mary devotes the majority of her spare time to helping others. However, the former auxiliary nurse is best known for crafting homemade cards, which she sends to UK troops serving around the world to help them keep in touch with their loved ones. “I remember watching the military supporting those affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami and I thought to myself, ‘Who looks after the troops who have come to help?’” reflects Mary. “I had a wee light-bulb moment and researched how I could send my cards around the world to help troops keep in touch with their families. The rest is history.” Mary, 81, has created 2,300 cards to date, which she’s sent out to the Royal Scots Borderers (1 SCOTS), 4 Military Intelligence Battalion, 4th Regiment Royal Artillery and the Royal Highland Fusiliers (2 SCOTS), among many others. For Mary, the gratitude and gifts she’s received for her cards have been overwhelming. “Last Christmas I donated a box of cards to the 124 Field Squadron Royal

It takes so little effort to make someone’s day. I’m just glad I can do my own wee bit – every little helps 12 www.legionscotland.org.uk SUMMER 2018

At 81, Mary McGregor spends most of her spare time helping others

One of the 2,300 cards Mary has created

Engineers, who used the £110.50 they made from selling them to purchase a welfare box of board games,” says Mary. “I received a beautiful thank-you letter from Major AA Davies MBE informing me that the squadron has nicknamed it the Mary McGregor welfare box, which is amazing.” Mary credits her creativity to her granny, who would encourage Mary and her sister to sew handkerchiefs and make crinoline ladies from old Quality Street wrappers whenever they visited her. Having served in the Women’s Royal Army Corps in the 1950s, Mary knows

how dedicated the military community are to helping others and realised her craftiness was an ideal way to support her fellow servicemen and women – although she remains modest about her achievements. “People take comfort in knowing others are thinking of them and it takes so little effort to make someone’s day. I’m just glad I can do my own wee bit – every little helps,” beams Mary. “That’s why I decided to join Legion Scotland all those years ago because I could surround myself with like-minded people. We all look out for one another and the Cumbernauld branch is definitely its own wee community.”


INTERVIEW

WONDER WOMAN

Meet Legion Scotland’s padre, Rev Dr Karen Campbell

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UBBED ‘WONDER WOMAN’ by one of her Legion Scotland colleagues, the Reverend Dr Karen Campbell has been putting her own super powers to work over many years. “After this, I’m off to visit one of my 97-year-olds,” she says as we sit down at Legion Scotland’s headquarters in Edinburgh. “I have a 104-year-old, three 100-year-olds and a whole raft of those in their 90s. Most are living on their own, and they’re very independent and have diaries. None of them are sitting at home waiting for Coronation Street to come on – they’re all quite active.” The Edinburgh-born minister of Marchmont St Giles’ has been the National Padre for Royal British Legion Scotland since 2014, an appointment that thrust her straight into the many activities and events to commemorate the beginning of the First World War. “My connection to the military started in 2009, when the chaplain asked if I would do some pastoral cover while he was in Afghanistan with 3 Rifles,” Karen recalls. “He had to come home early

Passchendaele had a huge effect on my greatgrandfather, as it did on everyone who was there 14 www.legionscotland.org.uk SUMMER 2018

because that tour was the worst any of the companies had, and he was very affected by it. I was asked to spend time at the Personnel Recovery Centre [PRC] in Gilmerton as officiating chaplain. Just before that I had completed a doctorate where my dissertation was on suffering, trauma, Remembrance and recovery, comparing and contrasting what was there for those who came back from the First World War and those who came back from Afghanistan.” While working in the PRC, Karen was suggested to Legion Scotland by the outgoing padre, Roderick Campbell (no relation), as the ideal candidate to replace him. She was keen to take up the offer. “My dad was in the Legion in Portobello and it meant a lot to him. He hadn’t done National Service but he had been in the TA for a couple of years after he left school and he really enjoyed being part of the Legion; so when I was asked I thought, ‘Yeah, OK.’ When we’ve been abroad or around Scotland representing Legion Scotland you meet so many people with stories of loss and suffering and recovery, and learning how to live with what they encountered

Karen has been National Padre of Legion Scotland for four years


Dr Karen Campbell at a ceremony on Islay commemorating the sinkings of two US troop ships during World War One

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in their service. To be able to represent Legion Scotland is a privilege.” Military service runs through Karen’s family. As well as her father’s stint in the TA, her great-grandfather served in the Hussars at Passchendaele while her grandfather was ground crew at RAF Turnhouse and served in Burma. “My grandfather’s story is similar to a lot of stories I’ve heard over the past four years. Those men just wanted a piece of ground and he, like many others, had an allotment and grew the most amazing flowers. A lot of people who come back from wars want to create things and appreciate the simple things in life which sometimes we don’t appreciate.” Karen left school with a place at university secured but no desire to continue studying, so she worked in the actuary department at Standard Life for five years. And then her life suddenly changed. “I felt the call to ministry, which was a shock because I didn’t think I would do that, but I trained and then was assistant at St Giles’ for six years. There were lots of military things connected to that and I had interesting experiences with the Battle of Britain service and Remembrance. I was on study leave in Belgium, looking at churches, and discovered it was 45 minutes to Ypres, so I did a half-day tour of the battlefields. When you drive out of Ypres, you are faced with so many cemeteries and it suddenly hit me what Remembrance meant. The Greek for ‘remember’ means ‘to bring to present significance’ and it’s about making it real so we try not

Representing Legion Scotland, says Karen, is a privilege

Remembrance is a central pillar of Karen’s role as padre

to make the same mistakes again. We honour those who have given their all and try to support those whose lives have never been the same after their service.” Karen’s experience of Passchendaele also opened her eyes wide. “It’s not until you stand on that ground, which is completely flat, that you wonder how they hid from the shelling and mortaring and the bullets. There’s nowhere to hide so anyone who survived Passchendaele is an incredible person. I believe it had a huge effect on my great-grandfather, as it did on everybody who was there.” Meeting people who have served in the Armed Forces and their relatives is one of the joys of Karen’s Legion Scotland life. Earlier this year she conducted a service on Islay to commemorate the sinkings of two


SPEAK UP Karen’s advice for addressing an audience When you’re a parish minister, your congregation is expecting a thousand words written from scratch each Sunday and a prayer. When I’m preparing stuff for the Legion Scotland conference, say, I try to be creative and imaginative, and make it real for the people who are there since I feel I’m serving them. Hollow words don’t work. I get a lot from crafting words and preparing what I do. It’s challenging and interesting, and you can’t come out with the same trite phrases. Preparation is everything. It’s part of my day-to-day job to prepare and be authentic. I do get quite nervous before I conduct the national conference but the representatives are incredibly kind, warm and funny, and very supportive. So, my general tips would be to speak clearly – that’s the obvious one; not having served in the military, always remember that they know more than you do; try to make it real and valid. It’s about bringing honour to the service of those who died and also those who survived traumatic events.

We try to support those whose lives have never been the same after their service ships carrying American soldiers which resulted in the loss of some 700 lives during World War One. There, she met the son of a man who survived the sinking of the SS Tuscania. “He’s 89 and had come to Islay for the first time and met descendants of the men who had saved his father. There were all these links across the ocean and stories being shared – it was lovely.” In terms of a work schedule, there are certain landmarks such as Anzac Day in

April and Remembrance in November, but generally speaking no two days are ever the same. “Sometimes I do nothing for the Legion for weeks and then it can be a burst of activity,” says Karen. When she clocks off from her pastoral duties, she likes to visit the theatre or enjoy the outdoors. She’s fond of singing and would love to join a choir, but her commitments make that tricky. For now, she is delighted to help carry on the work of Legion Scotland. “It is vital in the support of people who have served and can be a source of support, encouragement and care to people who may need that,” she says. “It does great work for veterans, and people recognise how important Legion Scotland is to the care of those who have given a huge amount to the country.”

Preparation and empathy are key to successful public speaking, says Karen

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SETTING THE BENCHMARK

Legion Scotland branches reveal how they secured commemorative benches to mark the centenary of World War One

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The Livingston branch pay their respects to the fallen of World War One

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EMEMBRANCE BENCHES are vital in helping communities learn about the achievements of those who served in the military. Not only are they a means for people of all ages and backgrounds to engage with their local history, they ensure that the remarkable feats of service personnel are safeguarded for future generations to pass on. Sandy Henderson and Alastair Kennedy, of the Livingston and Saltcoats, Ardrossan and Stevenston Legion Scotland branches respectively, served together in the 1st Battalion the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in the 1960s. Now, along with their fellow branch members, and with the centenary of WWI in mind, they are each helping to ensure the fallen are never forgotten by securing memorial benches within their local areas.

LIVINGSTON BRANCH

Having joined the Livingston branch in 1995, branch chairman Sandy Henderson has taken part in many Remembrance Sunday services, as well as being a standard bearer and parade marshal. As such, Remembrance has become a big part of Sandy’s life. When the centenary anniversaries of the First World War began in 2014, Sandy and the Livingston branch decided to mark the achievements of local service

Like my family’s, the Great War touched the lives of many people within the community

personnel through World War One remembrance poppy benches. After raising funds through bag packing and raffles, the branch placed its first poppy bench at Livingston Old Kirk in September 2016, dedicating it to the community. For Sandy, this location is fitting as it’s where the Livingston World War One memorial is situated, and was where the branch originally held Remembrance Sunday services. The branch’s second poppy bench was placed at the Civic Centre in Livingston on 23 June 2017 and dedicated to Isobel Brydie CVO MBE, the Lord Lieutenant SUMMER 2018 www.legionscotland.org.uk 19


SALTCOATS, ARDROSSAN AND STEVENSTON BRANCH Installed in March 2017, the four memorial benches in Ardrossan,

The Saltcoats, Ardrossan and Stevenston branch celebrates the unveiling of its bench

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The Remembrance benches are our way of saluting the brave souls who gave their lives Saltcoats, Stevenston and West Kilbride are the brain child of Alastair Kennedy, president of the Saltcoats, Ardrossan and Stevenston Legion Scotland branch. “The Remembrance benches are our way of saluting the brave souls who gave their lives in World War One,” explains Alastair. “We wanted the benches to be located in places with historical meaning, where people could sit and contemplate the individuals who gave their tomorrows for the people of today – hence why one of the benches is located beside the Saltcoats War Memorial.” Alastair spent 24 years in the 1st Battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders – serving in Borneo, the Malay Peninsula, South Arabia and Northern Ireland – and became a member of Legion Scotland the day after leaving his military career behind in 1983. He also spent the following decade working as a butler to High Court judges. Rejoining in 1999, Alastair has been heavily involved with Legion

Scotland ever since, holding roles as a recruitment officer and press officer prior to taking up his position as president of the Saltcoats, Ardrossan and Stevenston branch. Alastair and the branch work hard to maintain positive links with the Ayrshire community and take their duty of promoting Remembrance very seriously. “I first suggested purchasing the benches to branch chairman Jim Anderson, who secured half of the funding from North and South Ayrshire councils,” says Alastair. “The Saltcoats, Stevenston and Ardrossan branch maintains a high profile in the local area and we’re very lucky that the Ayrshire community is so supportive of our work and fundraising.” Reflecting on the significance of installing these benches during the centenary anniversary of the First World War, Alastair believes they provide a powerful, tangible link to the past. “Marking the centenary of the First World War with Legion Scotland’s Remembrance benches would not have been possible without the help of the community,” he says “It’s been heartening to hear that so many people are delighted with the benches. They felt like such a nice way to give back to Ayrshire while establishing a connection to an aspect of history that should never be forgotten.”

COURTESY OF THE ARDROSSAN AND SALTCOATS HERALD/CHARLIE GILMOUR

of West Lothian, as thanks for her support and service to the community following her retirement. “Our Remembrance benches are integral to honouring the memories of those who lost their lives in World War One,” says Sandy. “My grandfather died of wounds gained during the Battle of the Somme in 1916. My great-uncle – John McLellan DCM – served in the 8th Battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and is famous for writing pipe tunes still played today, including The Bloody Fields of Flanders and The Taking of Beaumont Hamel. He was among a number of my great-uncles who took part. “Like my family’s, the Great War touched the lives of many people within the community.” Sandy hopes visitors will take time to contemplate the actions of those who served. “I feel there’s a huge danger that aspects of the First World War will be forgotten after the commemoration years are over,” says Sandy. “However, I believe our benches are perfect places for people to sit and pay their respects to those who sacrificed so much.”


This bench is to be found beside Livingston's World War One memorial

TOP TIPS Sandy and Alastair’s guide to securing a bench for your branch

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COMMUNITY SPIRIT Get your local council and your community involved with your branch. The more people you get onboard, the easier it is to generate publicity and promote fundraising events through word of mouth and on social media. INVOLVE YOUNG PEOPLE Establishing links with your local schools, clubs and military cadets is a great way to ensure the next generation is equipped with the knowledge to pass on the historical legacy of World War One and get involved with your fundraising activities.

FOCUS ON FUNDRAISING Organise charity events, raffles and sponsored walks to raise money for your Remembrance bench fund. Approach local businesses to organise bagpacking events and use your local connections to schools, military cadets and clubs to spread the word and get others involved. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION If your neighbourhood or town has a war memorial or building of historical significance, consider placing your bench near them to encourage visitors to reflect on and engage with their local military history.

Silhouettes of troops in the trenches feature on this bench's striking design

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COMMEMORATION

SONGS OF THE TRENCHES Ian McCalman reveals how his show, Far, Far From Ypres, explores the realities of life on the front lines of World War One


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HE POEMS of Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen may be among the most famous accounts of the horrors of the First World War but the songs created by soldiers serving on the Home Front give a keener sense of the lives and deaths in the trenches – something which is explored in the multimedia stage show Far, Far From Ypres. Devised, written and produced by Ian McCalman of the folk group The McCalmans, the show traces the Scottish war effort during World War One through the story of prototypical soldier Jimmy MacDonald. Ex-service personnel, performers and schoolchildren at the Usher Hall to promote Far, Far From Ypres

This year, the show is being delivered by WW100 Scotland in partnership with Legion Scotland and Poppyscotland to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War. Beginning at Selkirk’s Victoria Halls on 5 August, Far, Far From Ypres will play in Aberdeen, Oban, Portree, Ullapool, Dundee, Stirling, Inverness and Dumfries – all of which were closely associated with Scottish regiments and at the heart of recruitment during the war – before finishing with a special performance at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall on Armistice Day. Here, we chat to Ian about the inspiration behind Far, Far From Ypres, what it reveals about Scotland’s military history, and why touring in the centenary year of the end of the First World War is so special to him. Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the Far, Far From Ypres show? Back in 2011, my friend Ian Green from Greentrax Recordings was working on a double album called Far, Far From Ypres, which featured many World War One trench songs. After helping to produce many of these songs, I was inspired to include them in a show that followed the life of a fictitious everyman soldier, Jimmy MacDonald, throughout the First World War. I wrote a script that connected these songs to Jimmy’s journey and sent it off to Donald Shaw at Celtic Connections. It was accepted for the 2013 festival and the show has continued to gain momentum from there. The 2018 tour of Far, Far From Ypres feels like such a fitting way to recognise the achievements of World War One servicemen in the centenary year of the conflict’s end. What can audiences expect from the show? Far, Far From Ypres features 35 songs connected by a narration of Jimmy’s journey by BBC Radio Scotland’s Iain Anderson. An array of 26

Far, Far From Ypres casts no judgement; it only provides the facts of what happened

performers, including some of the brightest lights in the Scottish folk music scene such as Siobhan Miller and Barbara Dickson, are on stage with me while archive photographs of battlegrounds and servicemen, devised by Pete Heywood, are projected on the stage behind us. My colleagues and I always leave each performance with half of us in floods of tears. Listening to the songs we play, seeing the photographs of those who served and the reaction of the audience is always really emotional. However, the production isn’t unrelentingly gloomy. Soldiers serving in the trenches weren’t above laughing at themselves and many of their songs reflect their dark sense of humour, which probably helped them to cope in these dire situations. Far, Far From Ypres casts no judgement on the war; it only provides the facts of what actually happened. How did you go about creating the show? My neighbour, Francis Law, wrote a book called A Man at Arms, which detailed his experience of serving in the First and Second World Wars. He was a great character and his memoirs captured the tragic realities of World War One and servicemen’s shifting attitudes to the conflict as it raged on. This helped me develop the narrative for the stage show. All of the musicians on the show fed in their own ideas, so it has been a highly collaborative project. I started recording trench songs in my studio to help me choose tracks for the show and stitched the ones I felt worked well together to form a cohesive story. What do the trench songs reveal about the realities of World War One? The conditions that soldiers on the front line experienced were terrible. Trenches were often flooded, muddy and full of death. Soldiers experienced long SUMMER 2018 www.legionscotland.org.uk 23


periods of boredom before being thrown into the heart of extremely bloody battles. Songs like ‘Bombed Last Night’ reflect the resolute ability of servicemen to rise above the boredom and fear they experienced. Amazingly, many of these songs were used by British troops to direct their hatred to their own high command rather than German soldiers – there’s even a song that tells German soldiers to keep their heads down to prevent them from being shot. Soldiers knew that those in command back home were feeding the public this fantastically optimistic view of how well everyone was doing on the front lines – a far cry from what was actually happening. Coupled with the fact that commanding officers didn’t serve in the trenches, many soldiers resented those in power. The trench songs became a way for soldiers to express their discontent, much to the disapproval of those in command.

It’s vital that we pass this knowledge on to our younger generations

How have audiences reacted to previous shows? At one show an audience member recognised a relative whose photograph was projected in the background while we were playing, which was nice. People always come up to us afterwards to tell us that Far, Far From Ypres has opened their eyes to the reality of World War One, as their family members who served in the conflict never spoke about it. Each of these stories helps complete a picture that will never be fully finished. Why is it so important that the show is touring during the centenary anniversary? It ensures that the achievements of the servicemen who served in World War One are never forgotten and encourages people to research how the conflict affected their own community. For me, it’s vital that we pass this knowledge on to our younger generations to ensure that the legacy of those who served in the First World War lives on. We can never fully comprehend what servicemen endured during the four bloody years of World War One but the songs of Far, Far From Ypres are historical documents that offer a harrowing, sometimes humorous, insight into the events that unfolded.

TOUR DATES SUN 5 AUG Selkirk, Victoria Halls THU 9 AUG Aberdeen, His Majesty’s Theatre WED 29 AUG Oban, Corran Halls FRI 31 AUG Portree, Aros Centre SAT 1 SEP Ullapool, Macphail Centre

SUN 7 OCT Dundee, Whitehall Theatre SUN 14 OCT Stirling, Albert Halls SUN 21 OCT Inverness, Eden Court SUN 28 OCT Dumfries, Theatre Royal SUN 11 NOV Edinburgh, Usher Hall

Contact venues for tickets or see bit.ly/FarFarFromYpres and bit.ly/WW100ScotEvents

Ian McCalman (third from right) and others involved in Far, Far From Ypres at the launch event

SUMMER 2018 www.legionscotland.org.uk 25


“WE JUST GOT ON WITH IT” Recent Légion d’Honneur recipient John Aitken from the Knightswood branch reflects on his WWII experience WORDS: JOAN MCFADDEN

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After serving with the Navy John worked as a joiner

26 www.legionscotland.org.uk SUMMER 2018

E WAS only 18 when he was called up in 1943, but John Aitken took his change of career from apprentice joiner to able seaman in his stride. He could never have imagined that 74 years later as a D-Day veteran he would receive France’s highest decoration, the Légion d’Honneur, from the Consul General of France. “I was born in Newton Mearns and was one of 10 children, though I’m the only one left,” says John, who is now 93. “I had seven sisters and two brothers but my older brother was a farmer, which was a reserved occupation, and my younger brother was too young to be called up.” He is surprised at the suggestion that his parents might have been concerned for him, pointing out that they simply accepted it, as every parent did. “It was happening to everyone and we just got on with it,” he says. “I don’t think my mother worried about me because we couldn’t change it and she certainly never said anything. It was a big change for me but most of it was really interesting.” His initial training took place in Butlins in Skegness followed by a spell in Portsmouth, though he joined HMS Enterprise closer to home at Dalmuir Basin. “From there we went to Scapa Flow for gun training, where my role was loading the munitions into the guns,” says John. “The hardest part was that we were below decks so we didn’t know what was going on. You didn’t have time to worry – you got your head down and got on with it.” He was more aware of the war when he was home on leave in Glasgow. “I lived in Old Pollok and when I’d be walking


John’s Légion d’Honneur medal

John with Lord Provost Eva Bolander

along Barrhead Road on my way home I’d hear the planes going overhead and be aware of the bombing raids,” he says. “I knew I was playing a part in defending the country but we were all carrying on with life as normal because you couldn’t do anything else. When I was on the ship all my concentration was on the job because it needed all your energy. Shells and cordite would come up and I’d run 40 feet along the corridor with the pulley and run back and do it again. There was no time to think about anything else.” He laughs as he recalls a colleague having to cover for him one night. “Despite all the racket going on I was fast asleep in my hammock and they gave up trying to waken me.” Operation Overlord was something they were all aware of and geared up for, so it came as no surprise when they left Loch Ryan near Belfast and headed for Portsmouth, taking “a sharp right turn” as John describes it and heading for

The hardest part was that we were below decks so we didn’t know what was going on

Normandy. “HMS Enterprise and HMS Glasgow were detailed to take out the big guns at Cherbourg,” says John. “As usual, I was below decks and couldn’t see what was going on. There was a war reporter on board who kept saying ‘Nothing coming near us’, but we could hear the shells overhead. He was probably trying to reassure us but we had a good idea what was happening. I wasn’t scared and I don’t know if that was my character or my training. We were part of a team and we knew what we were doing.” John admits he wasn’t much taken with Winston Churchill, who spent a night on board. “He was sleeping in the captain’s cabin and there was a gun above it which was disturbing him, so he asked them to silence it,” he says, still clearly unimpressed. “We had to line the ship and cheer him off.” His saddest memory is of the burial at sea of two Americans. “These were the most moving funerals I’ve ever attended. They had been brought to us as we had surgeons on board but they didn’t survive and I think that brought home the reality of what we were facing.” John came out of the Royal Navy in June 1946 and went back to a job as a joiner. He married Margaret and they had a daughter, Carolanne, who has given him four granddaughters on whom

he clearly dotes. He was widowed 19 years ago but is as independent as ever, playing bowls and enjoying a wee dram at Knightswood Legion. It was Raymond McGuire, another branch member, who put John’s name forward for the Légion d’Honneur. “I got a letter from the French consul and I was invited to the ceremony at Glasgow City Chambers with two other veterans. I really enjoyed it and I feel very honoured to be awarded it.”

SHARE YOUR STORY Voices of Veterans is a Legion Scotland campaign that pays tribute to veterans of all ages by sharing their stories. If you have a tale to tell, whether you left service yesterday or 50 years ago, or know someone with a story and would like to nominate them, let us know. Please call 0131 550 1586 or email magazine@legionscotland.org.uk

SUMMER 2018 www.legionscotland.org.uk 27


POPPYSCOTLAND NEWS FUNDRAISING

FIGURES FOR 2017 POPPY APPEAL REVEALED THANKS TO the continued hard work, dedication and support of many Legion Scotland branches and members, the following totals were collected for last year’s Scottish Poppy Appeal. Overall, you collected £859,126 for the appeal. Poppyscotland continues to appreciate your ongoing support, which helps to make a real difference to the lives of Scotland’s Armed Forces community. Thank you. Aberdeen & District............................... £66,680 Aboyne..........................................................£2,424 Alford............................................................£2,048 Alloa..............................................................£6,113 Alyth................................................................. £788 Annan...........................................................£5,988 Arbroath.................................................... £12,796 Assynt.............................................................. £326 Aviemore......................................................£4,764 Banchory & District .............................. £10,000 Bathgate .................................................. £13,012 Beauly...........................................................£2,140 Biggar ..........................................................£3,279 Black Isle.....................................................£4,652 Blairgowrie, Rattray & District..............£6,036 Braco & Greenloaning................................ £771 Brechin.........................................................£2,660 Bridge of Weir............................................£2,238 Buckie...........................................................£6,002 Callander.....................................................£2,792 Campbelltown............................................£3,334 Carnoustie...................................................£6,398 Castle Douglas...........................................£5,839 Cockenzie & Port Seaton........................£3,029 Coldstream.................................................£1,320 Crail (WS)....................................................£1,235 Creich & Kincardine ................................£1,344 Crieff ............................................................£3,637 Crossgates..................................................... £721

Cumbernauld............................................. £8,879 Cupar........................................................... £6,018 Dalbeatie ................................................... £2,765 Dingwall...................................................... £9,728 Dufftown..................................................... £1,078 Dumfries...................................................£18,357 Dunbar (WS).............................................. £3,381 Dunfermline.............................................£50,236 Dunoon........................................................ £9,642 Duns............................................................. £3,115 Earlston (WS)............................................ £2,076 Easdale....................................................... £1,557 East Kilbride ...........................................£18,556 Ellon (WS)................................................£12,740 Eyemouth................................................... £3,421 Forfar........................................................... £7,978 Forres.......................................................... £7,717 Fort William.............................................£12,506 Fraserburgh............................................... £6,873 Fyvie............................................................. £1,496 Galashiels (WS)......................................£10,260 Gatehouse of Fleet.................................. £1,926 Glenrothes................................................£12,721 Glenurquhart ............................................ £1,040 Golspie........................................................ £1,565 Grangemouth..........................................£31,696 Hamilton...................................................£45,737 Hawick......................................................... £7,053 Inverary....................................................... £1,209 Invergordon............................................... £2,604 Inverness..................................................£56,969 Inverurie...................................................... £6,339 Irvine............................................................ £9,978 Jedburgh.................................................... £2,483 Keith & District......................................... £5,117 Kelso............................................................ £4,738 Kennoway.......................................................£759 Killin.................................................................£734 Kilwinning................................................... £8,678 Kincardine O’Neil ..................................... £1,257 Kingussie (Badenoch)............................ £1,051 Kirkwall......................................................£14,030 Larkhall (WS)............................................. £7,242

Mark Bibbey, CEO of Poppyscotland, presents a fundraising plaque to Legion Scotland National Chairman Charlie Brown

Latherton....................................................... £542 Lerwick.........................................................£5,119 Leven............................................................£5,407 Lewis............................................................. £7,326 Liddesdale...................................................£1,281 Livingston................................................. £31,097 Loanhead (WS)..........................................£3,298 Loch Broom................................................£1,585 Lochalsh......................................................£4,592 Longside......................................................£2,250 Lossiemouth..............................................£2,400 Lumphanan................................................... £669 Maybole........................................................£1,695 Methhill (WS) ............................................£2,471 Methlick.......................................................... £549 Millport.........................................................£1,019 Moffat...........................................................£3,742 Montrose.................................................. £10,694 Nairn ......................................................... £10,996 New Deer & District..................................£2,260 New Pitsligo................................................... £665 Newbattle & Gorebridge..........................£1,798 Newton Stewart.........................................£3,707 Newtonmore ................................................. £715 North Skye...................................................£4,048 Oban.............................................................£8,203 Old Meldrum ..............................................£2,767 Peebles .......................................................£8,402 Penicuik.......................................................£6,366 Peterhead & District................................£8,279 Pitlochry & Blair Atholl ...........................£5,841 Portobello................................................. £13,289 Prestonpans............................................... £7,750 Prestwick.....................................................£9,247 Roslin............................................................£1,521 Rothesay.....................................................£4,006 Saltcoats.................................................. £16,912 Sanday............................................................ £832 Sanquhar.....................................................£1,719 Selkirk...........................................................£3,599 Stonehaven (WS)......................................£6,901 Strachur.......................................................... £208 Stranraer.....................................................£1,514 Strathpeffer ...............................................£1,635 Strathspey .................................................£1,756 Strichen (Mintlaw)....................................... £593 Stromness .................................................£2,854 Tain................................................................£4,112 Tarves.............................................................. £830 Tayport.........................................................£1,357 Thurso.......................................................... £7,928 Tomintoul & Surrounding Area................ £359 Turriff & District.........................................£9,238 Uist................................................................£1,327 Upper Donside Branch............................... £774 Wick & Cannisbay.....................................£3,417 If your total does not appear here or is incorrect, please contact Poppyscotland on 0131 550 1553

28 www.legionscotland.org.uk SUMMER 2018


Usman Ali collating views from members of the Armed Forces community for Poppyscotland’s response to the Scottish Government on the draft Social Isolation and Loneliness Strategy

WELFARE

MAKING POSITIVE CHANGES Supporting Armed Forces community the top priority for Usman IN JANUARY, Usman Ali took up the post of public affairs and campaigns manager at Poppyscotland. This role is a first for the charity. With Usman in place, Poppyscotland aims to raise the key public policy issues facing the Armed Forces community – including employability, housing and social isolation – with the Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament. Usman will also take a lead role in designing and delivering public policy campaigns to bring about positive change for Scotland’s Armed Forces community. Working with partners across the Armed Forces sector and others will be vital to achieving successful outcomes for military personnel past and present. “I am delighted to work for Poppyscotland and our Armed Forces community,” says Usman. “I am passionate about ensuring current and ex-service men and women and their families have their specific needs recognised by

governments, parliaments and agencies. “We all want them to be supported to have fair and equal access to education, health, employment and housing services. We want their voices heard and respected by decision-makers at all levels, as well as wider society. This is what the surveys we are conducting and the focus groups we are facilitating will achieve.” Just a few months into the job, Usman has made strides towards making positive changes happen. Activity to date includes: ●W  orking with Poppyscotland colleagues to collate the views and experiences of its Armed Forces community to respond to the Scottish Government’s consultation on social isolation and loneliness. ● Setting up public policy round-table discussions involving partners in the Unforgotten Forces consortium to encourage joint working and enhance knowledge and understanding about

key public policy issues affecting veterans aged 65 or over. ●P  romoting Poppyscotland’s range of welfare services, the Lady Haig Poppy Factory and Poppy Appeal to MSPs and MPs by setting up visits and meetings so that they can learn more about how Poppyscotland supports the Armed Forces community. ● Taking forward the Count Them In campaign, which calls for the inclusion of an Armed Forces question in the next census in 2021. Doing what is needed and what is right for the Armed Forces community is at the heart of all of Poppyscotland’s public policy and public affairs work. Poppyscotland is an essential part of the national tapestry of support available to the Armed Forces community. Its policy and public affairs work will continue to reaffirm this commitment to the entire community. SUMMER 2018 www.legionscotland.org.uk 29


IN MEMORIAM

LAST POST

Tributes to recently departed Legion Scotland members from across the country NEWTON MEARNS

BLAIRGOWRIE

ARCHIE WHYTE Archie, who passed away in March after a long period of ill health, served in the RASC and was a stalwart member of the Blairgowrie branch, serving on the committee for many years and holding the position of standard bearer. Many branch members attended his funeral, at which the presence of a piper and standard bearer was much appreciated by his widow and family. Archie’s passing leaves a poignant gap at his favourite spot at the Lounge Bar. CARNOUSTIE

DAVID K LAIRD David, who died at the age of 92, was a stalwart of the Carnoustie branch and a member of the Tayside branch of the Aircrew Association. Born in Glasgow, he studied at Jordanhill College and Glasgow University, where he joined the air squadron. David served as a pilot in the RAF with XV Squadron towards the end of WWII and later transferred to the Territorial Army. David was also an inspirational teacher and sportsman. All will remember him for his sense of humour and engaging nature. DUNFERMLINE

DAVID CAMBURN David passed away in March at the age of 80, having fought mesothelioma with the bravery instilled in him by his military service. He was a member of the REME from 1960 to 1972 and was stationed in Malaya and the RA Range Hebrides, where he reached the rank of 30 www.legionscotland.org.uk SUMMER 2018

GEOFF SHELTON Geoff, who was a member of the Newton Mearns branch, passed away earlier this year. He joined the Royal Navy in 1943 at the age of 18 and soon found himself serving on HMS Vindex as it participated in the Arctic Convoys, transporting food and military supplies to the Eastern Front. Geoff later wrote a book based on his experiences, entitled Masthead Lookout. While on

shore leave in Scotland he met Anne, whom he married in 1947. The couple moved to England where Geoff spent his working life with Lloyd’s of London. Upon retirement Geoff and Anne moved to Netherlee in Glasgow and quickly integrated with the local community. Anne died in 2011. Geoff is survived by his nieces Catherine and Anne, nephew John and his wife Jacqui and their five children.

sergeant. Quiet and considerate, David was much loved by his wife, who died in January, and is fondly remembered by his daughters Hazel and Lorraine and four grandchildren.

away in May at the age of 89. He was a dedicated legionnaire who held several positions at the Fraserburgh branch, notably as secretary for 38 years. At the time of his passing he was vice president. John will be greatly missed at Fraserburgh Royal British Legion Scotland, whose thoughts are with his family.

FORRES

JOHN MOORE John was a key figure in the Forres branch, serving for many years as secretary before becoming president. He was also a standard bearer and area and conference delegate. John joined the RAF after leaving school and served around the world in some 30 years of service. He and his wife Effie, who died a few years ago, settled in Forres and John completed his service as a Warrant Officer in the Nimrod Major Maintenance Unit at RAF Kinloss. John will be much missed by his friends in Royal British Legion Scotland. FRASERBURGH

JAMES (JIMMY) GORDON Jimmy died in October 2017, just weeks after his 80th birthday. He saw National Service with the Cameronians and was a stalwart of the Fraserburgh branch, serving as chairman at the time of his death. Along with that of his wife Ann, Jimmy’s passion was as poppy convener and welfare officer. He will be missed by the Fraserburgh branch, whose thoughts are with Ann and her family. FRASERBURGH

JOHN EDDIE John, who did his National Service with the Royal Engineers in Palestine, passed

GATEHOUSE & DISTRICT

WILLIAM ERSKINE MCKIE Willie, who died in April, served as secretary, chairman and president of the Gatehouse & District branch, organising its fundraising efforts for 25 years. He was commissioned into the King’s African Rifles as a National Service Officer and served during the Malayan Emergency. He subsequently graduated from Oxford University and worked for BOAC and then BA. On retirement Willie came to live in Gatehouse of Fleet. He will be much missed by all branch members and the wider community. HAMILTON

BILL ARTHUR Cameronian, Glasgow policeman and branch standard bearer: just three of the many roles that meant much to Bill, who served his time in Malaya. He was born and raised in Bridgeton, Glasgow, and attended Bernard Street Secondary School, where he claimed to have been the star pupil on the occasions he attended. He leaves behind his wife Cathy and four sons. Bill is missed not only by his family and friends but also by the many branch members who tried to outdo him in the art of storytelling.


HELENSBURGH

FRANCIS MICHAEL KINSEY Mike, who died in February at the age of 83, was a member of the Helensburgh branch, serving as president for several years. He also served as vice chairman of the West of Scotland branch of the Submariners Association. Mike joined the Merchant Navy as a teenager before volunteering for the Royal Navy, where he served as a submariner. He and Meg, who died in 2015, were married for around 50 years, and ran three shops on the Rosneath Peninsula. He is much missed by friends and family. KIRKCALDY

THOMAS N NORCROSS A former president of the Kirkcaldy branch, Tom passed away in February at the age of 90. He did his National Service with the RAF and thereafter made the Royal British Legion Scotland a central pillar of his life. During his time as branch president the club had more than a thousand members. He will be greatly missed by members of the Kirkcaldy branch as well as the other branches in Fife. KIRKCALDY

JOHN (JACKIE) RENNIE Jackie, an ardent member of the Kirkcaldy branch and standard bearer for more than 20 years, passed away in March at the age of 86. He was called up for National Service with the RASC in 1949 and discharged in 1953. He attended branch meetings when he could and rarely missed annual general meetings. Jackie will be greatly missed by all members of the Kirkcaldy branch, whose sympathy

goes to his son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren. KIRKWALL

DAVID ALEXANDER WYLIE Davy, who passed away in April at the age of 87, was a staunch member of the Royal British Legion Scotland and served on the Kirkwall branch committee for a number of years, eventually becoming a life member. He saw his National Service with the 47th Coast Training Regiment Royal Artillery in 1949 and on completion of his term of duty returned to Orkney, where he worked as a master butcher. Davy is survived by his four daughters and their families, and will be greatly missed by all who knew him. KNIGHTSWOOD

HUGH MCKINLAY A stalwart member of the Knightswood branch, Hugh passed away in April at the aged of 98. He served as an instructor at Bletchley Park with the Royal Signals and was also a Signals Piper. TAIN

JOHN (JACK) SWANSON A longstanding member of the Tain branch and enthusiastic participant in fundraising events, Jack passed away in April at the age of 79. He was a member of the Royal Artillery and served in Germany and Wales. Jack was also a well-respected figure in the farming community, winning many trophies at local ploughing matches. The thoughts of the Tain branch are with his wife Binks and his family at this sad time.

Submitting a Last Post Please submit dedications to recently departed Legion Scotland members to magazine@ legionscotland.org.uk. We will endeavour to include these in the next issue, based on the following deadlines: 13 August 2018 (autumn), 14 November 2018 (winter). Submissions will be edited so as to give as fitting a tribute to each and every one as we can. We recommend a word count of around 100 words. If you are able to attach a photo, we will make every effort to include this as well.

Legion Scotland key contacts Main Switchboard 0131 550 1586 Membership and Branch Support Alastair Duff / Claire Armstrong 0131 550 1586 info@legionscotland.org.uk Disablement Pensions Service James Johnston 0131 550 1566 j.johnston @legionscotland.org.uk Veterans Community Support Stephen Baird 0131 550 1560 s.baird @legionscotland.org.uk Events and Remembrance Stephen Elliot 0131 550 1562 s.elliot @legionscotland.org.uk Legion Scotland Today Magazine 0131 550 1586 magazine @legionscotland.org.uk Accounts Lorna Kane 0131 550 1548 l.kane@legionscotland.org.uk

Royal British Legion Scotland: at the heart of Scotland’s veteran community

SUMMER 2018 www.legionscotland.org.uk 31


COME AND SEE US FIND YOUR NEAREST LEGION SCOTLAND BRANCH

ABERDEEN, BANFF & KINCARDINE 01224 707768 Aberdeen Aboyne Alford Ballater & District Banchory 01330 822347 Buckie & District 01542 832636 Bucksburn Dufftown 01340 820711 Ellon & District 01358 720512 Fraserburgh 01346 518964 Fyvie 01651 891292 Inverurie 01467 620567 Keith & District 01542 882320 Kincardine O’Neil Longside Lumphanan Methlick New Deer 01771 644701 New Pitsligo 01771 653354 Oldmachar 01224 704717 Oldmeldrum 01651 872527 Peterhead Stonehaven 01569 763655 Strichen 01771 637792 Tarves & District Turriff & District 01888 563231 Upper Donside ANGUS, PERTHSHIRE & FIFE 07530 380545 Alyth Arbroath 01241 873964

Blairgowrie & Rattray (sub-branch Perth)

01250 873882 Braco & Greenloaning Brechin 01356 622562 Callander Carnoustie 01241 854940 Ceres & District City of Dundee Crail Crieff 01764 652937 Crossgates 01383 511478 Cupar Dunblane Dunfermline 01383 723921 Dunkeld & Birnam 01350 727773 Forfar 01307 463204 Glenrothes Kennoway 01333 350332 Kirkcaldy Leven 01333 426058 Montrose 01674 672406 Newburgh Pitlochry & Blair Atholl St Andrews Stirling Tayport EDINBURGH, LOTHIANS & BORDERS 0131 550 1590 Bathgate 01506 631989 Cockenzie & Port Seton 01875 810103 Coldstream 01890 882109 Dalkeith 0131 663 3235 Dunbar 01368 863275

32 www.legionscotland.org.uk SUMMER 2018

ABERDEEN, BANFF & KINCARDINE

HIGHLANDS & ISLANDS

ANGUS, PERTHSHIRE & FIFE

GLASGOW, AYRSHIRE, DUMFRIES & GALLOWAY

Duns Edinburgh Central 0131 557 8164 Edinburgh HQ Eyemouth Galashiels 01896 752457 Hawick Jedburgh 01835 863201 Kelso 01573 224506 Liddesdale Linburn Livingston Longniddry 01875 853241 Melrose Newbattle & Gorebridge

EDINBURGH, LOTHIANS & BORDERS

Peebles Penicuik 01968 672095 Portobello 0131 669 5418 Prestonpans 01875 811446 Roslin 0131 440 2174 Selkirk & Ettrick Forest St Boswells GLASGOW, AYRSHIRE, DUMFRIES & GALLOWAY 01324 872146/ 07979 006536 Annan

Biggar & District Bridge of Weir 01505 613530 Cambuslang Campbeltown Castle Douglas 01556 504499 Clackmannanshire & District Cumbernauld 01236 735263 Dalbeattie Dumfries & Maxwelltown Dunoon Easdale East Kilbride 01355 233545


Forth 01555 811317 Gatehouse & District Glasgow HQ Grangemouth 01324 483040 Hamilton Helensburgh Inveraray Irvine 01294 313164 Isle of Bute Kilmarnock Kilwinning Knightswood 0141 959 2721 Largs Maybole Millport 01475 530052 Moffat Monkton & Prestwick including Ayr Newton Mearns Newton Stewart Oban Paisley Comrades 0141 889 9281 Saltcoats, Ardrossan & Stevenston Sanquhar Stranraer Thornhill Troon HIGHLANDS & ISLANDS 01463 233743 Assynt Aviemore & Rothiemurchus 01479 810892

of Legion Scotland your membership also entitles you to use any other branch across Scotland. A separate fee may apply for using a branch with a club. Branches are listed under five areas, in alphabetical order. Those marked also have a Legion Scotland social club affiliated to them. Clubs that offer accommodation are marked with a .

Badenoch Beauly Black Isle Creich & Kincardine Dingwall (sub-branch Strathpeffer)

01349 863278 Forres 01309 672131 Fort Augustus 01320 366247 Fort William & District Glenurquhart Golspie Helmsdale Invergordon Inverness 01463 234378 Kirkwall 01856 873297 Lerwick 01595 692325 Lewis Lochalsh Lochbroom Lossiemouth Nairn 01667 453201 North Skye Sanday Scalloway 01595 880355 Strathspey 01479 873690 Stromness 01856 850731 Tain Thurso 01847 893417 Uist Wick, Canisbay and Latheron

RIDERS BRANCH 07884 004890 Across the country

Visit your local club Legion Scotland clubs are a great place for ex-service people to get together. Clubs across the country may offer some or all of the following:

• Bingo • Dancing • Snooker • Darts • Lunch and dinner • TV lounge • Function rooms

Call your local club to find out about their facilities and forthcoming events

FURTHER AFIELD 0032 (0) 57 365 152 Passchendaele, Belgium HEADQUARTERS BRANCH 0131 550 1586 Ideal for those abroad, or with no branch nearby WOMEN’S SECTION 07826 104879 Arbroath Ayr & Prestwick Bridge of Weir Coldstream Crail Dingwall Dunbar Earlston Ellon Forfar Galashiels Glenrothes Inverness Inverurie Larkhall Loanhead Lossiemouth Methilhill Montrose Oldmachar Oldmeldrum Paisley Stonehaven Turriff

Planning a trip? Legion Scotland clubs are delighted to welcome visiting veterans from across the country. Meals and activities may be available for booked groups. Get in touch with a club in your planned destination to find out what they can offer. For contact details see opposite or visit our website

Royal British Legion Scotland: at the heart of Scotland’s veteran community

SUMMER 2018 www.legionscotland.org.uk 33

THE RED TUNIC

LEGION SCOTLAND has more than 150 branches across Scotland, from Kirkwall to Dumfries, and the Isle of Bute to Edinburgh. Every branch is run by volunteers and every one is different. What they all have in common is their desire to work towards improving the circumstances of ex-service people across Scotland. When you join your local branch


HISTORY

FLIGHT FROM THE FORTH The RAF takes off as WWI draws to a close

TRINITY MIRROR / MIRRORPIX / ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

A Sopwith Camel taking off near the Firth of Forth railway bridge

W

HEN THE ROYAL Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service merged to form the Royal Air Force in April 1918, little were its 300,000 personnel to know that World War One would be over by the end of the year. Preparations for combat therefore continued. Pilots

were taught to fly aircraft such as the Sopwith Camel in our photograph, which is seen taking off from the flight deck of HMS Pegasus on a training flight in 1918. Notoriously difficult to master, the single-seater biplane fighter had been introduced by the British War Office the previous year.

34 www.legionscotland.org.uk SUMMER 2018

Despite its eccentricities and short production run – fewer than 5,550 were made – the Camel remains one of the most iconic aircraft of its era. The Forth Bridge in the background of the picture,

which had opened 28 years earlier, retains an equal power in the public imagination and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015.

The Camel remains one of the most iconic aircraft of its era


Letting you focus on the important things WILLS POWERS OF ATTORNEY LIVING WILLS GUARDIANSHIPS AFTER A DEATH TRUSTS EQUITY RELEASE LEGAL AID

Solicitors for Older People Scotland are a group of firms dedicated to providing legal services for the elderly and vulnerable in Scotland, with Legal Aid where possible.

looking after generations

They can help get those future plans and legal affairs in order so that you and your family can make the most of life. Find a solicitor near you by calling us today or visit our informative website.

☎ 0800 152 2037 www.solicitorsforolderpeoplescotland.co.uk


DONATE £5 TODAY

Text ‘ERSKINE’ to 70660

TEXT YOUR SUPPORT Text ‘SUPPORT’ to 70145 and we will call you

THEIR SACRIFICE SUPPORT OUR VETERANS www.erskine.org.uk Texts to ‘Donate’ cost £5 plus standard network charge. Texts to ‘Support’ cost standard network charge. Erskine receives 100% of your donation. Obtain bill payer’s permission. Customer Care 0141 814 4706. Erskine is a registered Scottish Charity No. SC006609

Profile for Think Publishing

Legion Scotland Today, Summer 18  

The magazine of the Royal British Legion Scotland

Legion Scotland Today, Summer 18  

The magazine of the Royal British Legion Scotland