Airborne Engineers Association

Roll of Honour



lain Maclellan - 21st June 1939 to 16th January 2011


lain Maclellan was born on 21st June 1939 in Falkirk — although having moved as a very young child he considered himself to be a true Glaswegian.

His army career started in the late 1950's as a Royal Engineer serving with 5 Field Squadron in Paderborne, West Germany where he obtained the rank of Corporal. He was very fit and often won the cross-country events for the unit.

He decided to transfer to 9 Indep Para Sqn RE and passed 'P' Company with flying colours. Many of you may remember that he ended up as an instructor alongside Tom Downie and together they became quite a duo doing their best to make sure that only those good enough or fit enough would pass selection.

lain was known for being a quick witted, fun loving man who in his early army days appeared to have an incredible lucky streak when matters needed to be settled on the toss of a coin. When decimalisation was introduced in 1971 the truth behind this lucky streak was revealed, as he had to finally give up his double-headed penny!


After several years he was posted out the Sqn to Chatham to be an instructor teaching his trade as a painter and decorator at which he excelled. However, even though he made the rank of Sgt and would certainly have gone on to be WOI he could not stand the thought of not being AIRBORNE.

He knew getting back to the Sqn would have been out of the question but as he was so desperate he said he would buy himself out of the army. The CO was persuaded to transfer him to the Parachute Regiment, as they did not want to lose such a good soldier. This of course caused a problem for the CO of 2 Para as lain had to lose his rank and become a 'Private'.

As a highly skilled combat Royal Engineer and a former Sgt his CO did not know quite what to do with him so lain suggested he would like to join the Anti-Tank Platoon which meant he could have his beloved maroon beret back firmly on his head. lain often said that he loved 2 Para and if he could have started his army career again he would have started with them.

The courage and determination that had made him such a well loved and respected soldier was also shown in his battle with his short illness. He kept in tact his unique sense of humour, which can be illustrated in this verse called "Life is the wrong way round" which he sent on a birthday card.... "How much better to start out dead and get it out of the way. Then, you wake up in a nursing home feeling better every day. You get kicked out for being too healthy, collect your pension, get a gold watch on your first day at work. You work 40 years, and then start to party. You booze, sow your oats and get ready for secondary school. Then you become a kid with no responsibilities, they you become a baby. Your last nine months is spent floating peacefully in spa-like conditions. Then your finish off as an orgasm."

lain Maclellan passed away on 16th January 2011. It was a fitting testament to the man and the soldier that he was given a guard of honour at his funeral by former comrades from 2 Para and there was also representation from ex 9 Para Sqn RE as well as many friends both past and present.

Our sincere condolences go to his wife Una, daughter Caroleann and many friends who consider themselves to be part of his army family. He will be missed.



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