Memorial Day At Syracuse More memories .

RAF Leuchars MRT – 1988 – Some of my team who went to Lockerbie. Mostly young folk like many in the tragedy.

Yesterday started with a call from Jill she was worried about me

and organised a visit to the local hospital. I have been poorly for a while and was diagnosed with acute bronchitis . I was treated like Royalty by all the staff and I am now on a course of antibiotics and steroids. The doctors and nurses were superb and when they were told what I was doing in Syracuse there were a few tears. These were trauma nurses and had seen most things. It was then back to the hotel not feeling great for the memorial service .

It was a huge event, when you see 35 memorial scholars all lined up with a rose it brings home the tragedy for the University. Seeing real people in that number That was lost is so visual.

The audience also had badges for all 270 victims of the bombing. They were all remembered and worn by the audience .

There were many speeches and then each scholar said a few words about those who died. It was ended by the two Lockerbie scholars and they spoke about the 11 lost in their town. They spoke with such eloquence it was so powerful.

The seats laid out as they were on the plane !

Our piper Donald played at the end and then we had a short break and a service in the Chapel.

Outside were seats placed where each student had sat on the fate-full night on 21 st Dec 1988. That was hugely impacting on me and each seat had their name.

The service was impressive lots of music more words and we were in the front. Our teamate Brian Asher spoke about the bond from Lockerbie and the plans for the future of the scholarship. His words were inspiring as always and we all sat together dressed up in our uniforms.

Colin the man with the dream, and vision to put this forward in his Police uniform for the last time looked proud. David in his Formal Ambulance uniform and Paul in his formal Fireman’s uniform. Brian was in his suit as rector of Lockerbie Academy and me in my kilt that belonged to my best mate who was killed-climbing 25 years ago.

We were a team and what wonderful teammates.

Outside after the service our Lockerbie Piper from the Scottish Power Band played his tune “Forward “ that he wrote as a local man for the town and the victims. It is powerful as only the pipes can be. Callum is an example of a young man from Lockerbie who will go on to great things.

It was then meet so many relatives , there were ,tears hugs and stories yet all looking forward to the future.

I spoke to so many and was so proud of what they felt towards the Mountain Rescue and SARDA for all we did.

I spoke to many of the students and loved their vision of the future what they wanted to do to change the world. These were just like my team in the RAF and others young folk many of them who inspire you in their plans and open your eyes as only young folk can.

They have the youth and wisdom to make this a better place for the future and I pray the establishment listens to them.

I have never been called “Sir”so much or thanked hugged and told to tell those at home not just the Mountain Rescue Teams the military SAR SARDA and the Army. The families the and relatives are aware of what you did. Many mentioned our families and friends who helped us yet never understood what was happening to us in the years to come with PTSD unknown then .

We all went back to the Hotel after the reception the rest went out to various meals I was tired feeling drained by now and sadly was running on empty. I had a quite night spoke to a few folk that matter in my life family and friends on the phone and tried to relax.
My head was on fire but it soon settled and you look back at what happened .
Josephine one of the Angels of Lockerbie was there she washed clothes of the casualties with many women in the town. She adopted two of the girls who died on the plane and looked after my troops as many did . She was still watching me she most of the day, was this journey was worth all the trauma for me yes without doubt.
I look back and see how Colin our leader has made this mission happen the work and effort beyond belief he and his wife have put in. Colin was like many of my team and other very young men and women. They did what was asked off them and have lived with what they saw and did at Lockerbie. He has now like most of my young troops moved on and done so much good for others.
I hope that for Colin and many including me this is the end of a new beginning that the friends we have made will
be a bond for life that will be unbreakable.

Team work is what it’s all about I belong to and organisation that had Team Leaders in 1944 (a modern buzz word) How visionary I was taught mentored by the best of the best. Great men and women who saw something in me when others did not. They gave me the trust and I took it on. I made huge mistakes learned hard lessons but alway put my team mates first. We have bonds that only Mountaineering can bring. You are joined by a rope that is trust in each other no matter how young you are or inexperienced you are this is team work . Leadership can be taught but true leadership is gained from experience and treating your team like a family in good and bad times.

I was lucky but today I met many who will become true leaders that can change a World that is crying out for them

I presented the University with our shield and it was graciously received .

Again thank you all.

About heavywhalley.MBE

After dinner speaker Lecturer and Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 36 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 4 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer and loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Aircraft incidents, Articles, Cycle to Syracuse Training, Cycling, Family, Friends, Lockerbie, medical, PTSD, Recomended books and Guides, Views Political?. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Memorial Day At Syracuse More memories .

  1. ptsd17 says:

    Thank you, each and every one of you!
    Front row, second from the left is Paul Docherty, Supplier.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jeanette Bryan says:

    A powerful piece of writing. Feel very privileged to know you and will never be able to thank you enough for your support in our own tradgedy. You are a marvel and you and the team have done a wonderful thing with ” Cycle to Syracus”.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mairi Paterson says:

    Well done to you all x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jill says:

    Well done David (Heavy) and team, amazing what you have all done, hope your health improves soon. Best wishes from David W little sister

    Liked by 1 person

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