Welcome to the Scotland branch


Scotland Branch News

Scotland - December 2020
Gil Nicol - Secretary

Since ‘Lockdown’ we have all been keeping in contact with each other and happily none of our members, including wives/partners have been infected by Coronavirus - long may that continue.
In June we had a new member join our branch. He is Robert Stewart and served with 9 Para Sqn 2005-2008. We welcome him to our branch and look forward to meeting up with him in the near future.
On 12th June 2020 one of our members, Mick Walker, visited the Edinburgh Eastern Cemetery and attended the grave of Scott Wilson. (KIA Falklands 1982). Scott was killed during the battle for Mount Longdon whilst serving with 9 Para Sqn RE. Mick paid his respects on the behalf of the AEA Scotland members.

Due to the Coronavirus and in consultation with our members, it was felt prudent to cancel our Annual Lunch due to be held at Saturday 5th September at the Royal Scots Club, Edinburgh.

Unfortunately, the pandemic resulted in most of our programmed events being cancelled, but we did manage to hold a reduced format of remembrance at the Cromwell Memorial Service held at Zetland Park, Grangemouth on Sunday 20th September, where our members paid their respects on the behalf of our branch members. Keeping within the Scottish Government Official Guidelines for outdoor gatherings, representa­tives from Falkirk Sappers, The Royal British Legion (Grangemouth) and the Airborne Forces Association (Scotland) were also present. Following the service we retired to the RBL Grangemouth Hall for refreshments.

Sadly, due to the virus situation, the Cromwell Lock Memorial Service at Newark was cancelled. So too are all events for 2020. We live in hope for a healthier 2021.

Hearty and Healthy good wishes for the coming festive season are extended to our colleagues and their families South of the Border.

Scotland - June 2020
Gil Nicol - Secretary

Some members and their wives attended the annual P.R.A. Lothian Branch Christmas Dinner Dance, on Friday 6th December 2019 at The Royal British Legion, 33 Rodney Street, Edinburgh. They had a wonderful time and were successful with the raffle prizes.

On Friday 13th December 2019 some members attended the funeral service of a PRA Lothian member at Warriston Cemetery, Edinburgh

Some branch members attended the funeral of an ex 1 Para. Member who served in Suez, Aden & Cyprus, and his funeral was held on Thursday 16th January 2020 at Falkirk Crematorium. His death was brought to our attention via Andy Nelson, a new member, who received a communication from The Royal British Legion Branch, Grangemouth.

On Thursday 27th February 2020 the funeral was held for “Jinty” Murray the wife of the late Frank Murray, who was a member of AEA Scotland .The funeral was held at Warriston Crematorium, Edinburgh and some members, with wives, attended. “Jinty” had been ill for a couple of years.

Another of our members, Brian Earl, lost his wife recently who had been ill for quite a long period of time.

Our commiserations and condolences go to all families.

We had an Ordinary General Meeting on Sunday 15th March 2020 where we decided to carry on as normal, however The Scottish Government has since suggested restrictive movements for everyone and only to make journeys when necessary. In view of this decision we have agreed to cancel all meetings and events until further notice effective from Tuesday 17th March.

Since “lockdown” we have all being keeping in contact with each other and happily none of our members, including wives I partners have been affected by the Corona virus. Long may that situation continue.

Best Wishes to our colleagues and their families South of the Border

Scotland - December 2019
Gil Nicol - Secretary

Wednesday the 12th June saw branch members attend a memorial service for Scott Wilson. Scott was a member of 9 Sqn. who, tragically, was killed whilst attacking Mount Longdon during The Falklands Campaign. Some of Scott’s ex colleagues and friends, Paul Moore and Charlie McColgan, as well as other friends, were in attendance at The Guards Club after the memorial service as their train was delayed at Newcastle, due to a fatality on the line just outside Newcastle. We managed to raise a glass or two in Scott’s memory.

Our Chairman, Gordon McLeod, was invited by the P.R.A. Lothian Branch to attend the unveiling of the new memorial
to Airborne Forces. This event took place on Saturday 6th July at Aldershot which was the home of Airborne Forces for 50 years before the move to Colchester. The new memorial is a life sized statue of The Airborne Soldier in jump order and mounted on a stone block from The Falkland Islands. Gordon had a wonderful time and felt privileged to be invited to attend on behalf of A.E.A. Scotland.

We had a “Future Development” meeting on Wednesday 8th August 2019 at The Guards Club, Edinburgh to look at ways that we can keep the branch alive and kicking. This meeting was well attended. We had a very good meeting with some interesting points being raised. The Committee are still looking into some of these matters and will report back to the branch members in due course. Our branch Secretary has been in contact with our colleagues from “South of the Border” and is pleased with the response he has had. Full details will be available to all members.

On Monday 2nd September 2019, members attended a funeral service for Lt. Col (Retd.) Stanley Peake who passed away only last week. He was the OC for 300 Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers (T.A.) He was not CO of 131 Parachute Engineer Regiment (T.A.) .He was 92 years of age and had been suffering from Dementia His son and remaining family were pleased to see a representation from Airborne Engineers Asso­ciation (Scotland).The funeral service was held in The Pentland Chapel of Mortonhall Crematorium, Edinburgh.

The A.E.A. Scotland branch had their annual lunch at The Royal Scots Club, Edinburgh on Saturday 7th Sep­tember 2019 where a good time was had by all. We had 19 persons in attendance. Jinty Murray, an invited guest and the wife of the late Frank Murray who passed away recently, had a wonderful time meeting up with old friends. Frank had been a past Chairman of our branch and was a very strong supporter of all that we did .The ladies, as usual, were very smartly turned out.

Joe Davidson Ex 9 Sqn member, on behalf of he and his mate Dougie, also an Ex 9 Sqn member, presented John Donaldson with a special bottle of “Jura” whisky in recogni­tion of all the good work he has done regarding the awarding of the GSM. Aden Medal for the lads who were wounded or killed in Aden in 1965.

On Sunday 22nd September 2019 we had our annual remembrance service at Zetland Park, Grangemouth in remembrance of the ten sappers killed whilst participating in “Operation Trent Chase” in 1975. This service was very well attended and we also had representatives from P.R.A. Lothian (with Standard), SAS., RBL Grangemouth (with Standards), Ex 9 Sqn. Guys, Ex 131 Commando Engineers, Marine Commando, Royal Engineers, Army Cadets, Air Force Cadets and Sea Cadets. The piper was supplied by R.B.L. Grangemouth .There were a number of independents in attendance.

There was approximately 30 - 40 personnel turned up on a very wet day. After the service we retired to The Royal British Legion (Grangemouth) Hall for refreshments. Some members travelled a fair distance from Kilwinning, Ayrshire and Coldstream for which we thank and commend them.

While we were in the RBL Grangemouth Hall we took the opportunity to present a framed photograph of the plaque that was installed on Toscaig Bridge, in memory of the lads who were killed in 1975, to a the son of Terry Smith and another framed photograph to the RBL Grangemouth, as a fitting tribute since the sappers killed were local lads. Terry was only 4 Vz months old when his father died and did not get to know him .He thought it was amazing that so many people came out to remember his father and colleagues , especially after such a long period of time. It was explained to him that a similar service was being held at Cromwell Lock, where the unfortunate incident took place. He asked me to pass on his families heartfelt thanks to all involved. We thank Alan Lochrie (Chairman of RBL Grangemouth) and his staff for the hospitality shown towards everyone on this day.

Before we all broke up to go our separate ways our Secretary (Gil) was pleasantly ambushed and presented, by Joe Davidson , with a wonderfully handcrafted timber container (made by Joe Davidson himself) complete with a bottle of Rum on behalf of all present in appreciation for the effort and work put in over the years. Gil was very surprised and for once, at a loss for words, however once recovered thanked all present for this gift and wonderful show of kindness.

The Garden of Remembrance ceremony took place at Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh on Monday 28th October 2019 at 1100hrs. Some members, along with P.R.A. Lothian Branch members, were in attendance.

Our Annual General Meeting was held on Sunday 17th November 2019 and was well attended. Our Office bearers were selected for the following year. Gil Nicol was surprised when he was presented with The Presidents Commendation as a reward for all the work he has put in over the years. He was very surprised but delighted that his fellow members thought so much of his efforts, he stated that he believes strongly in our motto “Service not self” and that others before him have done sterling work worthy of equal recognition.

Some members and their wives are looking forward to attending the annual P.R.A. Lothian Branch Christmas Dinner Dance, on Friday 6™ December 2019 at The Royal British Legion, 33 Rodney Street, Edinburgh.

We have had 2 new members join AEA Scotland branch and they are Bill Pagan (EX 131 Parachute Engineer Regiment/131 Commando Engineer) and Joe Davidson (Ex 9 Sqn.). This is encouraging as we strive to look towards the future of the branch. We have also taken out an advert in The Falkirk Herald to make people aware of our existence. Unfortunately, to date, this has not resulted in any enquiries. We have however an ex 9 Sqn member interested in joining and he will come along to one of our future meetings.

Seasonal Greetings & Best Wishes to our colleagues South of the Border

Scotland - May 2019
Gil Nicol - Secretary

Friday 7th December 2019 several members and their wives attended the annual P.R.A .Christmas Dinner Dance, hosted by PRA Lothian Branch, which was held at R.B.L. Rodney Street, Edinburgh. Everyone agreed that it was a most enjoyable evening much enjoyed by in excess of 100 attendees.

On Sunday 16th December a medal presentation was held at Edinburgh Castle. This was the presentation of the GSM 1962 with clasp South Arabia presented to Captain (Ret'd.) Eoghann MacLaglainn who was wounded whilst attending the 131 Parachute Engineer Regiment overseas camp in Aden.

This presentation came about after dogged representation, to the government, by (mainly) John Donaldson. There were members of his family in attendance as well as colleagues from AEA Scotland, Airborne Signals, PRA Lothian Branch and 2 ex 9 Sqn members who all though they are considerably younger than our members were pleased and felt privileged to be invited to attend. Also present, with his daughter, Annie, was Angus MacNeil M.P for The Outer Hebrides who assisted in the awarding of this medal. Not to be outdone Capt. Maclachlainn's wife, Sheilagh, was presented with a bouquet of flowers on behalf of AEA Scotland at the much appreciated buffet lunch in the Governors Castle Residence. Thanks were given to Mrs Linda Lyness for the preparation of the buffet and it has been arranged for a bouquet of flowers to be delivered to the castle for Mrs Lyness. It should be noted that some members travelled from as far as Coldstream, Helensburgh, West Kilbride, Ayrshire, Newcastleton (The Borders), Dunfermline, Perth, Glasgow and local areas. Captain MacLachlainn and family had travelled from South Uist for the presentation.


We are pleased to welcome Peter Long, a former officer in 2 Troop, to be our newest branch member. We look forward to meeting up with him in the near future.

Sadly, on 27th December 2018, we were informed that Kim Panton had passed away. Kim had been ill for quite a considerable period of time with Throat Cancer. He was a founder member of A.E.A. Edinburgh before we became A.E.A. Scotland and was formerly a member of 2 Troop, 300 Squadron, 131 Parachute Engineer Regiment (T.A.). Until his illness took over he had been a regular attendee at our meetings and contributed to the proceedings of the branch. Our commiserations go to his wife Rose and his children Lesley, Shirley and Grant as well as his grandchildren. Kim's funeral was held on 8th January 2019 at Mortonhall Crematorium, Edinburgh and was well attended by his colleagues from AEA Scotland, PRA Lothian as well as independent personnel.
"We will remember him "

We have been informed that Jinty Murray, wife of the late Frank Murray (Ex AEA Scotland Chairman) is ill and we have sent a get well card on behalf of A.E.A. Scotland with our best wishes. Frank was a stalwart member and supporter of AEA Scotland and whenever we had occasions where wives were attending Jinty was always by his side.

AEA Scotland members attended the funeral of Robert Mitchell, (P.R.A.Lothian Branch member), on 1st February 2019 at Mortonhall Crematorium. There was very good representation of AEA and PRA Lothian members, so Robert had a good send off. Well done lads.


On 12th April 2019 we had a get together at The Guards Club, Edinburgh to remember the events at Al Milah, Aden, which occurred in 1965. We also took the opportunity to present John Donaldson with a Crystal decanter with glass­es and a bottle of his favourite whisky "Isle of Jura" as a thank you, from his colleagues, for all the good and out­standing work he has done on behalf of 300 Squadron in getting partial recognition for their sacrifice whilst in Aden at their annual overseas camp in 1965. The decanter and glasses were engraved with a set of wings and APJI. Con­gratulations were received from Angus Mac Neil (MP for the Outer Hebrides) and Major General Michael Riddell-Webster CBE, DSO (The Governor for Edinburgh Castle). John is still fighting to get recognition for all members of 300 Squadron who were at Al Milah at that time. It was especially good to see John in attendance as he had a fall, about 10 days previous, injuring his knee, arm and bashing his head .We thank him for his effort and wish him all the best in his endeavours.

It was a very good turnout from our members with some members travelling quite a distance (Coldstream, Dumbartonshire, Ayrshire and various other areas) to be present.

We have programmed a wreath laying ceremony on the 12th June at The Eastern Cemetery, Edinburgh in memory of Cpl Scott Wilson (Ex 9 Sqn) who was tragically killed during the battle at Mount Longdon, Falkland Islands. More details will follow in our December issue.

Later in June there will be an Armed Forces Day Parade - details will follow in our December Issue

Best Wishes to our colleagues South of the Border

Scotland - December 2018
Gil Nicol - Secretary

On Saturday 23rd June 2018, members attended a memorial service in memory of Cpl Scott Wilson, in Edinburgh East Cemetery, who was tragically killed at the battle for Mount Longdon during The Falklands Conflict in 1982. Scott was a member of 9 Sqn attached to 3 Para at this time. We were also joined by John Ferry and his wife Sandra as well as Paul Moore. John and Paul served beside Scott Wilson. After the ceremony we all retired to The Guards Club where we had a nice finger buffet and a few drinks in memory of Scott. Some of our members travelled a round trip of 250 miles to attend this ceremony. This does not take into account the fact that John Ferry travelled from Aldershot and Paul Moore from Durham. Member's wives were also in attendance. This is a ceremony that we, at AEA Scotland, feel very privileged to be able to attend and will continue to do so.

An Armed Forces Day Parade was held in Edinburgh on Saturday 30th June 2018, where some of our members met up with our PRA Lothian Branch colleagues. This was an enjoyable day especially the free food and drink that was on offer after the parade.

After our OGM on Sunday 15th July we attended an informal presentation on the exercise, held in 1974, at Kiel Canal where members of XV Para were killed. This was a presentation of the reports submitted by The British Army Officials and the Representatives from other countries (mainly German) who were involved. We found it very informative and educational as well as a good demonstration of "covering your back" techniques.

Saturday 1st September our branch held our annual lunch at The Royal Scots Club, Edinburgh, which was well attended. As usual the ladies were very well turned and we all had a good time.

A memorial service was held on Sunday 23rd September 2018 at Zetland Park, Grangemouth in memory of the 10 No Sappers who were killed whilst participating in the exercise Trent Chase" in 1975. We had representatives from AEA Scotland, PRA Lothian Branch, RBL Grangemouth, The Falkirk Sappers and some independents. In attendance were various standard bearers as well as members of the public. During the service we had input from a piper and bugler. The Piper (Colin Campbell') is an Ex 9 squadron member who lives in Bedford. He is a friend and colleague of one of our members, Alex Cockburn (Ex 9 Sqn).The piper made the round trip at the request of Alex, for which we are very grateful.

Wreaths were laid by members of the above organisations as well as a wheelchair bound lady representing the lnness family and also by a member from another family.


Gil sorting out the parade

There were, including the standard parties, 30 No in attendance as well as members of the public who were in the vicinity and gave full respect to the proceedings. Zetland Park is within a mile of Central Avenue, Grange­mouth where we relocated to in 1967. It should be noted that our Chairman, Douglas Archibald, attended and officiated at this memorial service even although he only arrived home from holiday a few hours beforehand. After the memorial service we retired to The Royal British Legion, Grangemouth where refreshments and sandwiches were provided

One of our Branch members, Kenneth Wratten, attend ed the AEA Annual General Meeting and Reunion during 12th to 14th October 2018

Some members attended an Old Comrades Dinner at XV Para premises in Houldsworth Street, Glasgow on Saturday 20th October giving us a chance to meet up with some old friends from XV Para.

Members attended the opening of the Garden of Re membrance at Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh on Monday 29th October 2018. As usual this was dry but very cold and windy day, not for the faint hearted.

Gathered at the Zetland Park Memorial

On 2nd November 2018 a member of our branch, John Donaldson, received a letter from The Ministry of Defence via Angus Mac Neill MP to the effect that those members of 300 Parachute Field Squadron Royal Engineers who were killed and wounded in action at Al Milah, Radfan on 12 April 1965, will now receive the General Service Medal 1962 with Clasp South Arabia. This comes 53 years late, but better late than never. John has informed Eoghann Maclachlainn and will inform the late WO2 John Lonergan's son. He will have to continue this fight for the rest of the squadron. John Donaldson has been campaigning for this award for several years and it is good to see it come to fruition (even partly). Well done John!

Unfortunately members from our branch could not attend the Remembrance Parade held at The Cenotaph, London this year due to a combination of over larger than normal applications to attend coupled with a cut back in allocation of tickets by The Royal British Legion. However members attended local parades and services where possible. In particular two of our members attended a memorial service in Tenerife, whilst on holiday there.

Sunday the 18th November 2018 was our Annual General Meeting where, amongst other things, new Office Bearers were selected for the year 2018-19. There will also be a presentation to Ronnie Drummond the recipient of the Presidents Commendation for service. Ronnie has been a member of our branch since its founding. He served in Korea as well as other areas.
We will complete our year by attending the PRA Lothian Branch Christmas Dinner and Dance, on 7th December 2018, where a good time, I am sure, will be had by all.

Seasonal Greetings & Best Wishes to our colleagues South of the Border

Scotland - June 2018
Gil Nicol - Secretary

We finished off 2017 by attending the P.R.A. Lothian Branch, Christmas Dinner Dance held at Royal British Legion, Rodney Street, Edinburgh on Friday 8th December 2017 where we all (ladies included) had a very good time. As usual we won a few raffle prizes.

2018 has seen the start of a New Year and before we knew it we had our first meeting in January.
Unfortunately we had to cancel our March meeting due to severe weather conditions, which was rescheduled for 15th April 2018.

On 20th May 2018 after our regular meeting we were treated to a presentation, by Lt Col. Chris Warhurst (Airborne Engineers) Army HQ Andover, of his time in Afghanistan coupled with the current equipment and capability of The Royal Engineers. He presented some airborne vignettes on Herrick 4 and also spoke about the future of The Corps.
He is currently in charge of all the equipment used by The Royal Engineers. Members from PRA Lothian Branch were also in attendance. This presentation was a great success and much appreciated by everyone present.

Unfortunately the severe weather conditions, over the last few months, has curtailed our activities.

Best Wishes to our colleagues South of the Border

Yours Aye — Gil Nicol

Scotland - December 2017
Gil Nicol - Secretary

On the 12th June 2017 members attended a memorial/wreath laying ceremony in remembrance of Corporal Scott Wilson (Ex 9 Squadron) who was tragically killed at the battle for Mount Longdon during the Falklands campaign. Paul Moore and Charlie McColgan travelled up from Durham to pay their respects as they had fought alongside Scott during this battle. The ceremony was held at The Eastern Cemetery, Edinburgh at 1300hrs. We then retired to The Guards Club where we toasted the memory of all the fallen service personnel. Paul and Charlie presented our Chairman, Douglas Archibald, with a photo montage regarding Scott Wilson which was gratefully received and will be hung at our meeting place of RBL Rodney Street, Edinburgh. "We will remember them."

Presentation from Charlie McColgan & Paul Moore to the chairman - Douglas Archibald

Armed Forces Day was held in Edinburgh on Saturday 24th June 2017. Members who attended joined up with some of our colleagues from PRA. Lothian Branch .We met at Johnstone Terrace, Edinburgh at 1100 hrs and marched off at the City Chambers.

Thursday the 3RD August saw the "Westies" (West Coast members) meet up in a local hostelry in Glasgow for a pub lunch and a few refreshments. Some of the East Coast members were also in attendance. We had a very good social day.

On 25th August some members met up with Alan Lochrie, RBL Grangemouth to finalise details of our remembrance service being held at Zetland Park, Grangemouth in memory of the 10 sappers killed whilst participating in Operation Trent Chase in 1975. While we were there our Chairman, Douglas Archibald, presented Alan with an Airborne Engineers Association Crest as well as crests from XV Para and The Cameronians ( Scottish Rifles ) Regiment. The last two were donated by one of our members, Gordon McLeod.
Our annual lunch was held on Saturday 2nd September 2017 at The Royal Scots Club in Edinburgh. The lunch was very well attended and the ladies were a credit to everyone .This was the most attended since we started having these lunches and it was gratifying to see such a good turnout. Some of the ladies who attended had lost an AEA Scotland husband or partner and were invited along as guests of our branch. It was good to see them attend.
A Remembrance / Wreath laying ceremony was held at Zetland Park, Grangemouth, on Sunday 24th September 2017, in memory of the 10 Sappers who were tragically killed whilst participating in "Operation Trent Chase" in 1975. This was well attended as The Royal British Legion supplied a piper, bugler, standard bearer party and a contingent from RBL Grangemouth formed an additional honour guard .The local Cadet Forces (Army, Navy and Airforce) plus standard bearer were also in attendance as were some members from PRA Lothian Branch including their standard bearer. We also were privileged to have a 95 year old Sapper (non para) who turned up to pay his respects. There were also miscellaneous personnel in attendance.

Remembrance / Wreath laying ceremony Zetland Park, Grangemouth

When we were back at The RBL Grangemouth one of the members thanked us for remembering her brother (Raymond Buchanan) who was one of the sappers killed. We did not realise that she was a relative and were gratified to receive her thanks .There were approximately 50 personnel on parade. Although we at AEA Scotland had a lot of members missing due to illness, etc. we still had a good turnout. Some members travelled from Coldstream, The Borders and other distant places to attend. It was agreed that we keep this format for years to come.
We were informed that Frank Murray (Ex AEA Scotland Chairman) had passed away suddenly as well as a former member Peter Watt-- details in the Obituaries Section.
Some of our members attended the Airborne Engineers Association A.G.M. at Hull and had a very good time.
The Field of Remembrance, Princes Street Gardens,Edinburgh was officially opened on Monday 30th October and some members, from A.E.A. Scotland were in attendance. This was an all services gathering and it was good to see a fair show of "Cherry" Berets.

The Cenotaph Parade, London was held on Sunday 12th November and 4 members (Craig McQuade, Gordon McLeod, David Henderson and Gil Nicol) attended. It is always a privilege and honour to be allowed to participate in this memorable event.

AEA Scotland has been meeting regularly on the 3rd Sunday of the alternative month of the year with our forthcoming AGM to be held on Sunday 19th November 2017 at The Royal British Legion, Rodney Street, Edinburgh at 1230hrs.

Friday the 8th December some members will attend the PRA. Lothian Branch Christmas Dinner/Dance with their wives or partners, where they will hopefully have a good time and win some raffle prizes.

Best Wishes to our colleagues South of the Border.

"A Merry Christmas and A Guid New Year to Yin and A' "



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Airborne Engineers Association