Reminiscence by Major R I Elder TD

Major RI Elder served as a subaltern in 8th Royal Scots in Normandy, and was mentioned in dispatches. In the 1950s he was company commander, first in Tranent and later at Dalkeith.

‘Originally A Company had close connections with Haddington and its environment while B Company had connections with Musselburgh. Among those with Dunbar links were three notable personalities, all of whom survived the war. The Rev Alec Sawyer MC, minister of Dunbar parish church was chaplain for a long period before being transferred to 6 KOSB One of the subalterns was a giant of immense physical strength, Alec Campbell, who had served in the Glasgow police; his ability and personality led to a meteoric rising in seniority culminating in appointment as Chief Constable of Dumfries and Galloway. From West Barns came Adam Lothian, quickly promoted shortly before D-Day to CQMS, (Company Quartermaster Sergeant), who having served throughout the campaign was commissioned in 8th Royal Scots when it was re-formed; he eventually became company commander at Tranent. He became the heart and soul of regimental reunions maintaining contact with numerous ex-Royals [Scots] throughout the country. He died in 1998.

Among local young lads who were victims of the war was Pte William Archibald, likewise from West Barns, whose death in July 1944 at the age of 18 is commemorated on the war memorial there.’

The Royal Army Service Corps (RASC)

529 Coy RASC was reformed in 1947 as an RASC general transport company TA, based at Leith fort. In 1955 it moved to Newhailes camp to provide transport for 52nd Lowland Division. Like the rest of the TA, the 52nd Lowland Division came to an end in 1967.

The Royal Navy

A detachment of the Royal Navy was accommodated in the hospital block of Dunbar barracks (by 1959 this was the ACF building, and remained so until 2000). They manned the radar research station at Canty Bay until c1954. It was decommissioned by 1958 and was then operated by a civilian company.


Thanks are due to the following for their assistance

  • Lt Col A Waterston MC TD
  • Lt Col A Guinan TD
  • Major R I Elder TD
  • HQ Royal Scots

and others.