Decorated veteran dies

A DECORATED veteran of The Black Watch who was Arbroath’s last Town Officer passed away in Arbroath Infirmary last Monday after a long illness.

Bill Fairweather, MM, Keptie Street, was in his 97th year.

He was born at Usan in 1916 and was educated in Inverkeilor School except for a period of three years when he attended Maryton School.

His first job was as a farm hand on a berry farm at Lunan and he also worked at Border Farm, Friockheim, until he was 20.

At that point he joined the 2nd Battalion The Black Watch and, after training at Perth and a spell at Maryhill Barracks, he was sent to Palestine where he remained until after the outbreak of the Second World War.

In Palestine in 1938 he saw action and was wounded in the leg. It was for his conduct in this incident that he was awarded the Military Medal which was presented to him by His Majesty King George VI at the Palace of Holyroodhouse long after the events which led to its award.

Mr Fairweather also served in various other theatres which included Syria, The Lebanon, Crete, British Somaliland, Tobruk and then, from 1942, India and Burma.

He returned to Scotland in January, 1944, and was on the training staff at The Black Watch headquarters in Perth until being demobbed in 1945 with the rank of colour sergeant.

Shortly after his return he married his sweetheart, Nellie Drummond, whom he had met at a dance in the Green Street Hall. They were wed in the West Port Rooms by the Rev. Matthew McPhail, Arbirlot.

They have one daughter, Maureen Leheny, who lives at Dunecht, Aberdeenshire. There are two grand-daughters and three great grandchildren.

After being released from service Mr Fairweather worked for a few months at the mess at HMS Condor then was appointed Arbroath Town Officer and Bar Officer to the Sheriff Court. He remained in post until his retiral in January, 1981.

During his years as Town Officer Mr Fairweather attended six Provosts: John Lamb, J.K. Moir, John Webster, D.A. Gardner, R.R. Spink and David Chapel.

His duties led to him meeting several members of the Royal Family including Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, Princess Margaret, the Duchess of Kent and Princess Marina.

Following regionalisation in 1975, Mr Fairweather’s duties were full-time in the District Council offices at Dewar House, Hill Terrace.

In his younger days he was an enthusiastic footballer and played for Inverkeilor in the Progressive League. He also played football in the army.

He was an elder of the Old Church for 28 years and latterly was a member of West Kirk, just across the road from his home.