The D-Day war veterans & debt of thanks we owe

Back row (L-R) David Mundell, Bobby Leitch, Kathleen Linton, Major General Eeles. Front row: Jimmy Richardson, Jimmy Sinclair, Mary Robertson.
Back row (L-R) David Mundell, Bobby Leitch, Kathleen Linton, Major General Eeles. Front row: Jimmy Richardson, Jimmy Sinclair, Mary Robertson.

Ahead of the 70th anniversary of D-Day, Scottish war veterans and their families were the focus of a special event held at

Edinburgh Castle where they were commended for their courage throughout the Second World War.

Fife war veterans and their families were among those invited to a special reception in Edinburgh Castle’s Grand Hall ahead of the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

Kathleen Linton and Jimmy Sinclair, both from Kirkcaldy, and Mary Robertson from Lochgelly, attended the national event for Scottish veterans before leaving for France to take part in an official ceremony at Bayeux.

The veterans and their families, as well as the wider defence and veterans community and political representatives, were all welcomed at the event by Scotland Office Minister David Mundell MP, Major General Eeles, General Officer Commanding Scotland and governor of Edinburgh Castle and David Boe, trustee of Legion Scotland.

Kathleen Linton was married to Private Duncan Inglis Linton of the Gordon Highlanders who was called up in 1942, aged just 18.

He was sent to Normandy in 1944 where he was badly injured by a German shell that resulted in the amputation of both legs above the knee and was discharged in 1946.

He died in 1984 aged 59.

Mary Robertson was a war widow after her husband, William Norrie whom she married in 1940, was killed near Eindhoven in 1944.

Mary celebrated her 99th birthday in March this year.

Jimmy Sinclair, who will be 102 in August, served in the army for 14 years including in the Tubruk Siege from 1941 until 1943, and the invasion of Sicily and Monte Cassino.

Scotland Office Minister David Mundell MP delivered a personal message from the Prime Minister to the veterans:

He said: “Sometimes, it is nearly impossible to put into words the debt which this generation owes to you, our D-Day heroes for the Herculean human endeavour of you and your comrades 70 years ago.

“I cannot imagine what it must have been like for you, landing on the beaches of Normandy and carrying the hopes of our country and the future of the free world on your shoulders.

“Your success was immense. Our gratitude is immeasurable.”

David Mundell MP added: “This anniversary is a very historic occasion.

“D-Day still captures the country’s imagination 70 years on and this was a valuable opportunity, ahead of Normandy events, to show our gratitude to Scottish veterans and their families for their remarkable courage and sacrifice.”

Remarkable career of a Kirkcaldy war veteran

Jimmy Sinclair, from Blackcraigs in Kirkcaldy, was just a young lad when he was called up to serve in the army leaving behind a wife and a three-month-old baby.

He set sail from Liverpool on the Britannica, the sister ship of the doomed Titanic, and six weeks later, dropped anchor in Holland.

Jimmy served in the Tubruk Seige from 1941-1943 and the invasion of Sicily and Monte Cassino.

He spend three years in control commission in Germany, driving through Russian zones.

He served a total of 14 years in the army including in the Black Watch, the Royal Horse Artillery and the RAF.

Jimmy went to visit friends in Germany that he had made during the war and it was then that he was told about the plight of their daughter’s husband who had been imprisoned by the Russians and his current whereabouts were unknown.

Jimmy immediately contacted what was then the international Red Cross, to see if they had any information. They were able to trace him and he was eventually freed.

After his wife died, he was invited to stay with them and did so for 20 years before returning to Kirkcaldy.

Jimmy has many fond memories of the war which he calls “the war without hate”.

He explained that they learned about their prisoners’ family and didn’t always view them as the enemy.

And of course, he has some sad memories of his time fighting for his country which he chooses to try to forget as he has lost many good friends in battle.

He made many friends during his time in the army including the Duchess of Cornwall’s father, Bruce Shand, whom he served with during El Alamein.