Airborne Engineers Association

Roll of Honour



James Alexander 'Jimmy' Simpson


Jimmy departed this life on 03 March 2014. His health had not been of the best for a few years and on-going into hospital for a scan on an unrelated maL/Cplthe medics found he had advanced terminal cancer. Both Jimmy and his family were very grateful for the co-operation and assistance of the NHS and Marie Curie Foundation, which allowed him to return home and spend his last few days with his family and friends. Although clearly in physical distress his spirit never wavered and he remained as sharp as ever; in the week of his passing he and I sorted out the Scotland rugby team's problems.

He was born on 12 December 1936 as the first of four children in Dallas, Morayshire. His dad was an estate worker and Jimmy never lost his love of the countryside and outdoors.

On leaving school Jimmy joined the Boys Service and then 9 Para Sqn. Army life suited Jimmy and it allowed him to pursue both of his sporting interests — rugby and cross country running. When on leave at home in Dallas as a young sapper Jimmy met Joan, who was on holiday from Glasgow, at a local dance.

Never one to let the grass grow under his feet Jimmy married Joan six months later. This proved to be one of his better moves as the union lasted for 57 years until his passing. Times have changed — Jimmy was adjudged to be too young to be awarded a quarter and he and Joan set up home in rented rooms in Gillingham.

Three children, Alison, Karen and Hazel followed. I smiled at the crematorium when the Humanist celebrant mentioned they were born when Jimmy was a LJCpl, Cpl and Sgt respectively. Given how his career progressed it was just as well he did not mark each promotion with a new baby!

This career saw Jimmy serve in Suez, Aden, Lebanon, Oman, Cyprus and Bahrain along with two 4 month postings to Northern Ireland. He also did two 2 year stints in Germany where he was accompanied by his family. After the second of these tours (with 29 Fd Sqn) the family moved to their new home in Kinross and Jimmy took up an appointment at RSME at Chattenden Barracks in Upnor, Kent. He retired a year later as a WOI and joined his family.

On leaving the army at 40 Jimmy briefly worked for Securicor before taking up a post with a well-known chicken producer. True to form he used his ABI and worked his way through the ranks to become farm manager. Only that post took him away from the family home but he managed to let his house and returned to it on retirement at age 62.

Jimmy immersed himself in local life in Kinross where he and Joan had an interest in gardening, the outdoors and the local horticultural society. He was friendly with another ex 9 Sqn local resident, the late Ian Muirhead. Tom Robertson, also formerly of 9 Sqn, was born in the adjacent village of Milnathort and all three occasionally shifted a pint (or two, or three!).

Jimmy joined the AEA in Scotland at the first opportunity and served as our Chairman for two years when only very occasionally did he let his exasperation show! Six of us in full AEA regalia carried his coffin through a similarly attired honour guard to the crematorium. Joan subsequently took his ashes to his original home in Dallas where they were interred.

Jimmy leaves his wife Joan, three daughters and four grandchildren who were the centre of his life. A goodly few others will miss him as well. Farewell friend.



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