Old pals reunited .

TomTaylor, Bill Gault and Don Shanks

It’s great to meet folk again ! Yesterday I met 3 old pals and had a cup of tea in Forres. Tom Taylor organised it as Bill Gault was up visiting with his wife Roberta. Bill was our Boss he held the title “Inspector of Land Rescue” ILR . To some they were told to do the job by there lords and masters at MOD many had no mountaineering experience. Bill was not one of them in my mind he was one of the best we ever had. He knew us from his early days on helicopters and we trusted him to back us up.

Bill is a great man Ex Officer ic Cyprus Team and helicopter Navigator. He looked after us in the teams as our man from the MOD. In these days teams were run by Team Leaders and Bill was the ideal man to Look after us. Not an easy task in these days there were 6 team leaders and each one was very different.

He was the main man at Lockerbie as he passing as the aircraft hit the town. He was our contact with the Police and security services and he was the right man for the job. We were so lucky. Bill went on to run the ARCC where he was well thought of by all the teams and helicopter crews. He had many friends in the Civilian teams and was a great listener and other Rescue Agencies where his calming influence after a big rescue he was the ideal man to have about.

We had some laughs yesterday some stories about passed epics growing bigger as the afternoon drew on. It was great to see Tom Taylor and Don Shanks and a few others from the past.

Sometimes you look back and meet folk that mean so much to you yesterday was one. We had some awful leaders at times but many great ones. It is a skill when you see what’s about in the world today that’s sadly missing despite all the leadership talk.

I learned so much from these guys I was certainly not easy to handle but there was always a strong hand to keep you in check.

You trusted these folk with your lives like they did with yours. I wish at times I had hindsight to go back and do things better ? But that’s life. Thanks to you and to Roberta Bills wife for being a great influence in my life. I think you taught us a lot and we despite giving you many sleepless nights still laugh about it.

Heavy, Bill and Don.

Comments welcome :

Nige Hughes “ Remember Bill on an ILR visit to the Saints team during a weekend ex in the ‘Peaks’ It was January 1990; cold and raining. Bill and I were enthusiastic runners and shared a passion to sing folk songs out of tune without embarrassment; hence destined to get along. We were climbing partners on the Saturday, the first time we had shared a rope. On departure from the bothy Bill immediately got into the back seat of the land-rover. I firmly offered to swap him the passenger seat (I believe Rob Hannam was driving) but he would have none of it and remained in the back until we parked up at Stanage popular end. It was raining so we elected to climb in boots and started off on Balcony Buttress, a classic route put up a 100 years ago (68 years at the time). I climbed up and belayed; then as Bill followed and was moving out on to the arete, the heavens opened and torrential rain greeted him for his final moves. I leant over the top and saw Bills soaked body and water wrinkled fingers grasping onto the rock flake. I concluded it was my opportune moment to state that I really didn’t mind if he sat in the front on the way back. Bill looked up and said ‘Nige, if we make this the only climb today I’ll gladly walk back to the bothy!’

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Family, Lockerbie, Mountain rescue, Mountaineering, People, Recomended books and Guides, Views Mountaineering, Views Political?, Weather, Well being. Bookmark the permalink.

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