Airborne Engineers Association

Roll of Honour



Donald (Brian) McKean


Donald succumbed to renal cancer on 18th June 2004

Donald Brian McKean

Brian, as everyone knew him, was born in 1940 in Edinburgh where he later attended Moray House Primary and Boroughmuir High schools. On leaving school he joined the Post Office which at that time was a very fertile recruiting ground for 2 Troop of 300 Para Sqn RE (TA). Brian
was soon in the Troop where he quickly rose to the rank of Corporal. On a personal note I was in Brian's Section and can vouch for his courage and leadership when we came under attack in Aden in 1965.

Like a lot of guys Brian was stunned by the reduction in size of the Para RE (TA) in Scotland from a Sqn to a Troop in 1967 and decided to take his talents elsewhere. He joined the TA Military Police, was commissioned and ended up as a Major. Two of Brian's endearing qualities were his sense of humour and his modesty and these were demonstrated by his ready agreement that a Major in the MPs just about equated with a Cpl in the Para REs!

In his professional life Brian progressed from the Post Office to the Civil Service but found the constraints of the public sector a bit much for him. He left the civil service and took a job in sales and had posts with various firms where he travelled extensively. Brian joined his last firm as a salesman, was promoted to Sales Manager and ended up as Managing Director and a major shareholder of the firm. You can't keep a good Para RE down.

Despite going through a rough time due to the illness and later death of his wife, Brian was a founder member of the Edinburgh Branch of the Association and our second Chairman. At all times he was a regular at meetings and social events. In his (all too brief) retirement Brian furthered his love of sailing and kept a boat at South Queensferry. Many of us joined him for weekend and evening sails where the bar was always well stocked.

Brian did not let his inoperable illness get him down. He attended the May meeting of the Branch, was out at friends later that month and was at church on the first Sunday in June.

A Service of Thanksgiving was held for his life in Crammond Kirk followed by Committal at Warriston Crematorium. No anonymous undertaker staff for Brian - his coffin, topped by his beret, was carried into the Crematorium by 6 AEA members in Blazers and Ties. The bearer party included both his predecessor and successor as Chairman of the Branch.

His first wife Jill predeceased Brian. His mother Kit, daughter Jacqueline, granddaughter Laura and second wife Val survive him. The strength and courage of Val over the mercifully short period of Brian's illness won the admiration of all who witnessed it. Our thoughts are with them all.

He will be sorely missed.



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