Poignant poppy visit for Kirkcaldy former soldier

With the poppy installation at Balhousie Castle
With the poppy installation at Balhousie Castle

An old soldier from Kirkcaldy became a bit of a celebrity when he visited the Black Watch Museum in Perth recently.

When 97-year-old Douglas Denwette turned up at Balhousie Castle in his Black Watch beret and hackle, to visit the Poppies sculpture in honour of those who gave their lives in the First World War, he was approached by many visitors who were keen to hear his story.

Mr Denwette in the Black Watch museum

Mr Denwette in the Black Watch museum

And Douglas, a former soldier of the Black Watch 51st Highland Signals Regiment and the last remaining member of the 5th Battalion who served during the Second World War, was happy to oblige.

Douglas, who is currently a resident of Methven House nursing home in Kirkcaldy, wanted to visit the Museum to see the Weeping Window poppy sculpture that opened there at the end of June, and when his daughter Linda Carr put a request into the home’s ‘wishing well’, staff there were delighted to assist.

Douglas was given the use of the company’s minibus for the day and was accompanied by driver Tom Slowey and Morag McGeehan, passenger assistant on his trip to the museum where they met up with Linda.

Douglas had lots of photographs taken as a reminder of his day and spoke to many of the other visitors and staff who were delighted to meet the old soldier.

“My dad had an absolutely brilliant day out and loved every minute. He has been raving about it ever since,” said Linda.

“So much so that I think they are planning to take some of the other residents up to see it for themselves!”

Douglas, who worked for John Menzies newsagents, starting as a message boy and working his way up to become an area manager, was called up in 1939 and served with the Black Watch through the Second World War and into 1946.

Since then he has maintained close links with his regiment and only recently stopped meeting up annually with fellow members in Perth as their numbers dwindled.

On his visit, as well as enjoying lunch and a tour of the museum, he listened to a recording of Neville Chamberlain’s historic announcement that Britain was at war.

Morag McGeehan added: “Douglas was so excited about his trip and loved every minute. People saw his beret and kept stopping to speak to him, and some were quite emotional.

“He tells everyone about it, and the staff at the home have made a collage of the photographs which were taken on the day which they have put up on his bedroom wall.

“When we were walking around the museum he picked up a leaflet about recruitment for the Black Watch and one of the soldiers told him ‘I think you have already done your part’ which was lovely.”