Spitfire pilot Andrew (94) at palace celebration

Andrew Morgan pictured in a Spitfire in recent years
Andrew Morgan pictured in a Spitfire in recent years

A Freuchie-born Second World War Spitfire pilot was a guest at Buckingham Palace recently to help mark the centenary of a charity.

Andrew Morgan (94) – the second youngest of 12 children – was raised and educated in the village before finishing his secondary school days in Auchtermuchty.

Andrew training as a pilot in Florida.

Andrew training as a pilot in Florida.

Although he worked in a chemist’s shop as an errand boy and at St John’s linoleum factory in Falkland, the young villager was determined to be a pilot.

When he was 18, he signed up in Dundee for the RAF and soon found himself sitting exams in London before undertaking his pilot training in Florida, where he gained his ‘wings.’

Initially involved in towing gilders, it was while he was training to fly Spitfires that he left a lasting impression on Freuchie!

His daughter, Isabelle Fisher, explained this week: “He made an unauthorised flypast over the village, upsetting the milkman’s horse!

“Dad was reprimanded by his commanding officer, told not to do that again, but also informed by the officer ‘I would have done the same thing!’”

A member of 602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron, he was posted to Kent, flying 40 missions in the legendary single-seat fighter.

In 1943, however, his Spitfire was shot down over France.

“He was captured by Germans and taken prisoner for 18 months in Stalag IVB on the River Elbe until after the end of the war,” said Isabelle.

His captivity was extended by the Russians, as he was taken hostage in a Cossack exchange.

After the war, he returned to Freuchie and worked in the linoleum factory before being posted to London on the sales side.

Married in 1950 to Nita, a teacher, he resumed his love of football, having played for a Falkland team, Cupar Thistle, Dundee and Markinch as a teenager.

“He was asked to sign for Chelsea, but played centre forward for Fulham and other English teams, including Margate. He moved to Guildford to play for Guildford City,” said Isabelle.

Andrew was a handy member of Freuchie Cricket Club and played off a handicap of just nine at Ladybank Golf Club .

He was also a member of Falkland Tennis Club and enjoyed skating at Kirkcaldy ice rink.

His talents extended to drama and, along with most of his siblings, Andrew performed with Freuchie Village Theatre.

Musically, he even managed a stint with Kingskettle Brass Band.

“Dad managed to stay three weeks, playing the baritone (horn) by ear until the savvy band leader caught him out by asking him to sight read a new piece of music!”, revealed Isabelle.

With the family being members of Freuchie Parish Church, he once performed Handel’s Messiah with local choirs.

Mr Morgan also has fond memories of his time with Freuchie Wolf Cubs, in which he was awarded smartest cub in the pack.

Although he has been blind for some years, he exercises every day and is very fit for his age.

He was invited to the palace by the Blind Veterans’ Association, an event also attended by the Countess of Wessex.

Sadly, Mr Morgan’s wife died last year.

He has another daughter, Jane, and four grandchildren, Douglas, Stuart, Fiona and Emmie.