Category: Passing’s

TOMMY WHYTE 1934-2023TOMMY WHYTE 1934-2023

The President, Executive and all in the Buchan Battalion were saddened to learn of the passing of Tommy Whyte, one of our long-standing Honorary Vice-Presidents, at the age of 89 years.

Tommy was a popular and hard-working officer of the Battalion who always strived for the Battalion’s betterment and for what was best for the Boy. Tommy enrolled as an Officer of the 5th Fraserburgh Boys’ Brigade (Congregational Church) in 1977, immediately taking on the role of Officer-in-Charge of the Junior Section. Joining under Captain Alex Bruce, Tommy looked after the Junior Section whilst the new Company Section was in its infancy and his success ensured the steady flow of boys to the older section. He remained as Officer-in-Charge until he stepped down in 1991, ever keen for the younger generation to take the BB forward.

At Battalion level Tommy quickly made his mark in the Junior Section Committee at first working alongside Sid Newlands until the latter’s sudden death. Tommy then became the Chair of the Junior Section Committee in 1984, his dedication seeing the Committee and its competitions and trips flourish. Tommy is still fondly remembered by some of our more senior officers for the work he undertook in organising the Officer’s Dinner Dances, which were always a highlight of the BB year in Buchan. They were also extremely profitable, his work helping to keep the Battalion in the black for many years.

The high esteem in which Tommy was held was proven in 1988 when he was elected to the post of Vice-President of the Buchan Battalion, a role he undertook whilst still attending to his roles in the Junior Section Committee. He served a full five-year term as Vice-President but made clear he had no interest in taking on the Presidency.

The Battalion were not, however, prepared to let an asset like Tommy Whyte disappear. Soon after the end of his term as Vice-President, Tommy was elevated to the role of an Honorary Vice-President. For thirty years Tommy held this distinction, being reappointed by each consecutive Battalion Council to this honorary post. Many Presidents were lucky to receive his wise counsel as he rarely missed a meeting. This was until about 10 years ago when frail health began to take its toll; at this point the Battalion Council continued to reappoint Tommy to the Executive as reward for his great and loyal service to our Battalion.

The President sends the Battalion’s condolences to Tommy’s family at this sad and difficult time and we pray that they will find some comfort that Tommy’s life was a life well lived.

STUART PRATT 1952-2022STUART PRATT 1952-2022

The President, Executive and all in the Buchan Battalion have been extremely saddened to learn of the death of Stuart Pratt.

Ex-Captain Pratt gave 45 years service to the 1st New Pitsligo Company, only retiring from the Company earlier this summer.

A long-time Captain of the Company, Stuart started volunteering with the then minister Rev. Ralph for 2 years from 1977 before becoming an officer in 1979.

Last year Stuart took the decision to step down from the captaincy of the Company after a considerable number of years as Skipper. On stepping down Stuart continued with the Junior Section.

Just a few weeks ago we reported that Aberdeenshire Council had recognised his 45 year voluntary service with the BB with a Pride of Buchan Award.

The President and Executive send their condolences to Stuart’s wider family as well as to his BB family at the 1st New Pitsligo.

ANDREW N. WEST – 1936-2022ANDREW N. WEST – 1936-2022

It was with great sadness that all in the Buchan Battalion learned of the passing of one of our most respected officers, Lt Andrew West, at the age of 86 years.

Andrew’s path to the BB was not, perhaps, the most straight forward one. He had tried to join the 1st Fraserburgh Company in the 1950s but in those days of a booming roll Captain Sinclair put him on the waiting list. Never one to dwell on disappointments, he instead joined a rival organisation demonstrating a life-long trait not to allow himself to be held back but instead to get on with it!

Thankfully for us, he came back. Andrew’s BB career finally started the mid-1970s as a married man and father of two. His sons, Malcolm and David, were members of the 1st Fraserburgh but with a fledging Company Section, parents stepped in to help the company grow. Andra and his late wife Chris joined the Parent Fundraising Committee, neither of them leaving Christian Youth Work for the remainder of their lives. After Andra’s initial involvement, it wasn’t long before he was asked to instruct badgework classes for the Company and then, in 1983, he was invited to join the Company staff as a Lieutenant by Captain Sinclair the younger! He therefore had a 45 year association with the 1st Fraserburgh Company, 39 of those years as an Officer. For 28 years, from 1994, he was Company Treasurer.

It would be fair to say of Andra that he never occupied the centre stage. That was not ‘Mr West’. He typically worked behind the scenes, occupying important jobs on a Friday night, particularly the badgework. Like a good minister, Mr West gave a ‘long sermon’ in his classes providing genuine life-stories from his own experience for any topic or question that may arise. He was content being useful, doing his bit and helping others with no appetite for plaudits or recognition.

Most of our readers across the Battalion will know Mr West best of all for his role as Queen’s Badge Advisor; a duty he undertook for almost 24 years. Between 1997-2020 he guided hundreds of young men in Buchan through their Queen’s Badge journey. He was dedicated to that post and extremely thorough, ensuring that all his candidates had the best chance of achieving the highest award in the BB. His candidates were noted for the quality of their work, thanks in no small part to his role in ensuring that the agreed programme and the books were completed correctly and to the highest standard to the candidate’s ability. He became so respected by the Battalion Executive that in 2014 the Constitution was changed specifically to make the Queen’s Badge Advisor an Executive Office-bearer. Further, when he was finally able to leave the role in 2020 he was co-opted onto the Executive without portfolio, so valued was his wisdom and knowledge.

Andra was a dedicated Christian and on Sundays was always found in the Auld Kirk. He was ordained an Elder by the late Rev Douglas R. Clyne in 1976 and served his district dutiful for 45 years. He will be sorely missed by the Church.

Away from BB and Church his main passion was photography, serving as President of Fraserburgh Photographic Society for 43 years until he retired in 2019. Andra then served as Honorary President until his death. In October 2021 he was named on the Scottish Photographic Federation’s (SPF) Roll of Honour for 60 years service to the Fraserburgh Society – a lifetime achievement. The combination of Andra’s two life passions led to him building an archive of BB photography from the last 40 years; as in BB life, he preferred to be working away behind the camera rather than being in front of it.

Andra was predeceased by his beloved late wife Christabel in 2015 after 54 years of marriage. The President, Executive and all in the Battalion send our condolences to his sons Malcolm and David and to his wider family of whom he spoke often and was extremely proud. Always helpful; usually with smile; Mr West’s gentle humour and kind nature will be missed by all in our Battalion, and far beyond.

M A W Strachan

Queen’s Badge Advisor

Duncan Leel Jnr – FuneralDuncan Leel Jnr – Funeral

We were all shocked and saddened to hear the news about Duncan Leel Jnr last week. Our thoughts and prayers go to Duncan Snr and Jessie at this very sad and difficult time.

Funeral arrangements have now been confirmed and are posted below. Could we ask all officers/boys past and present, who plan to attend to wear BB uniform/tie if at all possible? This will be very much appreciated.



Suddenly and sadly at home on Saturday June 4, 2022, Duncan Scott, aged 40 years, beloved son of Duncan and Jessie, loving grandson, nephew, cousin and good friend to many. Funeral service from Fraserburgh Old Parish Church on Thursday June 16 at 10am, thereafter to Rathen Cemetery, to which all family and friends are respectfully invited. Coaches will be leaving from the church to the cemetery and back to the church centre, the family have requested these be used to ease congestion. Family flowers only please but donations may be given in lieu, if so desired at church door in aid of 1st Fraserburgh Boys Brigade. Very sadly missed.

Alexander Buchan & Son, Funeral Directors

DUNCAN S. LEEL 1982-2022DUNCAN S. LEEL 1982-2022

It was with a deep sense of shock and sadness that many of us heard of the sudden passing of Duncan Leel Jnr, aged only 40 years.

Duncan was a long-time member of the 1st Fraserburgh Company after briefly starting his BB journey in the 1st New Pitsligo Anchors. In 1992/93, when the 1st Fraserburgh Company Band was reformed, Duncan was quick to sign up. Learning the snare drum under Alastair Sinclair, he would go on to become senior drummer to the band. In 2002 he was appointed Bandmaster of the Company Band and served in that post for the next 20 years. Under his tenure the band had a number of successes at the BB Scottish Band Contests.

Followers from further afield will remember Duncan from the many Scottish Band competitions he attended as a boy, officer and bandmaster. In many respects many of his old boys will remember him most fondly for the same thing, from the days when the pilgrimage to the contest was an annual event. His band was also the Band for the Buchan Battalion, being called upon to cover our parades.

Between 2016-20, Duncan served as Officer-in-Charge of the 1st Fraserburgh Junior Section. It was something of a return, being a long-standing senior officer of the section for the decade between 2000-10. A popular officer in Juniors, he won the Officer of the Year award on a number of occasions. In total, Duncan gave upwards of 20 years service to the Boys’ Brigade as a staff member and Lieutenant in his company.

Away from BB he is perhaps best known for managing and then owned the Dick’s Sports business. Many an officer will know of his kindness in business, as there was always a wee BB discount of some description added to the final bill. This was a kindness and helpfulness he had in all spheres of life and something that will be missed by his many friends. Very recently Duncan had embarked on a new career as a bus driver, something he loved and was proud of, which makes his untimely passing all the more cruel.

The only son of Jessie and Duncan Snr, lately Battalion President, the thoughts of all in Buchan are with them both at this incredibly sad and difficult time. Their family within this Brigade will be there to support them, always.

Henry Duthie MBE – Guard of Honor – 20th JuneHenry Duthie MBE – Guard of Honor – 20th June

The funeral of Henry Duthie will take place on Saturday 20 June at Alexander Buchan & Sons at 10am. This is restricted to invited guests.

The hearse will travel from Alexander Buchan’s around 10.30am and travel up Watermill Road to pass by Gallowhill Terrace, along West Road and up over Dennyduff Road past the West Church and down to the trafic lights, turning right heading to the roundabout at Tesco’s before heading to Kirkton Cemetery.

The Boys’ Brigade have been asked to form a Guard of Honour from the gates at the Cemetery back towards Lidl’s and depending on numbers back towards roundabout ensuring we adhere to the social distancing rules.

All Boys’ Brigade members past and present who would wish to pay their last respects to the great BB man should be in uniform (past or present). Please be in the area to form the guard of honour by 10.30am on Saturday.

Martin Dunbar
Captain, 4/5th Fraserburgh BB


All in the Battalion were saddened to learn of the passing of BB stalwart, Henry Duthie MBE.

Henry Duthie was a founder member and Lieutenant of the 4th Fraserburgh Boys’ Brigade in September 1952. He would soon become Captain of the 4th Fraserburgh taking over from Joe Ironside circa 1953/54. Henry would remain Captain of the Company for 32 years.

During his time as Captain of the Fourth he was Area President of the Fraserburgh District in the late 1960’s, Vice President of Buchan Battalion 1970-74, before becoming President 1974-79. He stayed on as Vice President from 1979-84.

Henry was also Training Officer/Convener 1980s-c.1993 and was bestowed an Honorary Life Member 1994. Henry was also an Honorary Vice President of the North Scottish Area and has been for many years.

Henry was awarded an MBE 31/12/1992 and presented to him by the Queen in 1993.

We remember Henry for his many years of dedicated service to the Boys’ Brigade in Fraserburgh but also in Buchan area and beyond. Henry also known as “Mr Fraserburgh”
during his time as Chairman of Fraserburgh 400 in 1992 and he did a power of work for the youth in the town. He was also a founder member of the Fraserburgh Junior Arts in 1953 and was involved in the Fraserburgh Heritage Centre.

For those boys who attended the 4th Fraserburgh they would have been one of “Henry’s loons” and a great many young men will remember fondly their time in the BB with Henry as their Captain.

JOE WATT 1938-2019JOE WATT 1938-2019

All in the Battalion were saddened to learn of the passing of BB stalwart, Mr Joe Watt, at the age of 81.
Mr Watt’s service in the BB started on 1st October 1950 when, at the age of 12, he was enrolled in the 1st Fraserburgh Company. He served through the ranks until 1956 when, reaching the upper age limit, he was discharged having given ‘good service‘ to the company. A skilled gymnast he competed with the crack PT teams, winning the Town Council Shield in his final year.
After national service Joe returned to help his company, being officially enrolled as Lieutenant with the Company in 1964. This saw a tough time for the company, which fell into temporary abeyance in 1969. What followed afterwards was perhaps Mr Watt’s greatest accomplishment in the BB: a leading officer in the Company Joe worked hard to revive the 1st Fraserburgh from a Company in abeyance to one of the strongest companies in the area. During his stint as Officer-in-Charge of Company Section from the 1970s until 1989, the section regularly enrolled 40-50 boys.
In 1988 he became Captain of the 1st Fraserburgh, taking over as “Skipper” from his old friend Alastair Sinclair. Serving in that post for 4 years he was clear who the most important people in the company were: “the boys ‐ without you there would be no Boys’ Brigade”. He saw the BB as an important means of delivering new skills to boys and, most important of all, to deliver them to a personal relationship with Christ.
When he retired in 1992, he did so believing it was now the turn of the next generation to lead.
His retirement was, however, virtually non-existent as the next chapter of his BB career opened instantaneously as a bandsman. Between 1992 and 2001 he taught and led the buglers of the award winning 1st Fraserburgh Bugle Band. He briefly served as bandmaster 2001-02 following the death of his great friend Mr Sinclair.
Joe also carried out a great deal of work for our Battalion. While the posts of Battalion high office never appealed to him, Joe worked for many years behind the scenes on the training committee and also as a member of the Company Section committee. By doing so he again worked hardest for the most important people in the organisation: the boys.
Following his second retirement in 2002 Joe did take more of a back seat but remained a dedicated supporter of the BB. As a respected Elder of the Church and BB he was often called upon as Inspecting Officer and his wife Sheila always had a job for him at the Anchor Boys parents night. There are hundreds of young men ‐ and some not-so-young ‐ around our Battalion who owe a great deal to Joe Watt for the time he gave in the hope of improving their chances in life. He is responsible for equipping a generation with new skills which undoubtedly gave them greater opportunities in life.
Upon becoming Captain in 1988 he remarked: “When the Company was started again 18 years ago, we had only a handful of boys. Many a Friday night we went home thinking, is it worth carrying on?”. We are grateful that he persevered!
At this sad time all at the Buchan Battalion offer our sincere and heart felt condolences to Mrs Sheila Watt, Joe’s devoted wife of 55 years, and their children Tracy and Peter, and grandchildren.

Capt M. A. W. Strachan
1st Rosehearty Coy.