RAF  EDZELL  REUNION

     

by:  Ken Cadran

 An American and a Scot were walking the site of the Highland Games in

 Montrose, Scotland.  It was the day following the 2002 Edzell Reunion.  The

 American, who had previously been observing the size and beauty of the

 Clydesdale horses, wanted to know more about the animals.  He opened the

 conversation: "Dave, what do you know about the Clydesdales?"  Dave, being

 the epitome of Scottish wit, immediately replied: "I know that they have a leg

 on each corner!"  Such a blend of sharp intellect, shrewd wit and open

 character is what sets the Scottish people apart from their fellow man.

  

In 1997, Naval Security Group Activity, Edzell, Scotland was decommissioned.

 That same year in Bethesda, Maryland a reunion was held of former members

 of the base,  more commonly  known as RAF Edzell.  Five years later on

 August 3, 2002 at the East Links in Montrose, Scotland, 363 "Edzellites" assembled

 under a marquee. Of that number, 198 Americans, coming from as far as

 California, with one individual arriving from Bahrain, combined to dine, dance

 and renew friendships.  Betty Morton, former Community Relations Advisor

 at RAF Edzell, and Janet and Fred Demech of Oakton, Virginia were among the

 primary coordinators of this unforgettable event.

 

Piper Mark Lumgair was on hand to serenade the guests as they arrived.  Mr.

John Smart, Lord Lieutenant of Kincardineshire and a former Chairman of the

Scottish-American Community Relations Committee, and Chairman of the

Reunion Committee, welcomed the guests on behalf of the Scottish hosts. 

Captain Fred Demech, USN (Ret), one of the former base commanding officers

present, provided the reply on behalf of the Americans.  Grace was provided by

 

Captain P.S. Spain, CHC, USN (Ret) who also served at the base.

 In 1847, Queen Victoria took lease on an estate on the banks of Loch Loggan.

 On her arrival, she wrote in her diary: “Alas!.  The country is fine, but the

 weather is most dreadful.”   Conversely, her husband, Prince Albert wrote

 in his diary: “The country is full of beauty, of a severe and grand character

 ...and the air remarkably pure and light... .  The people are more natural, and

 are marked by that honesty and sympathy which always distinguishes the

 inhabitants of mountainous countries.”

  

If one has served in Scotland, one can agree that prominent to visiting this land

 is the friendliness of the people.  Through association at work and social events,

 strong bonds developed.  American service personnel and their families who served

 in this land of the haggis, tartans, short bread, whiskey, bag pipes, highland dancing

 and the tug-o’war, were able to experience the spirit of these people.   The 2002

 Edzell Reunion was a time to renew friendships and re-experience the flavor of

 this land called Scotland.

  

The day following the reunion, the annual Highland Games (which can be traced

 back at least one thousand years) were held adjacent to the marquee.  The activities

 consisted of caber tossing, tug-o’war, piping contests, heavy horse display, cycling

 races, field events, dog show, highland dancing, and the crowning of the

 60th Rose Queen.  Pipe bands marched from the Town House to the Games,

 providing the unique sound of  a bagpipe band.   The visiting Americans were

 publicly welcomed  at the beginning of the Games.

  

A welcome it was.  A joyful time it became.  A fond memory it shall be.

 

Ken Cadran