Monday, 13 December 2010

Tributes to One O'Clock Gunner Eddie

From the Edinburgh Evening News. Article by David McCann:

Tributes have been paid to the first man to fire Edinburgh's famous One o'Clock Gun by hand, after he died aged 65.

Edward McCarthy manned the weapon from 1968-72 and was the first district gunner to fire the renowned timepiece manually rather than igniting it the traditional way, using weights and an electrical signal from the Royal Observatory on Blackford Hill.

He died peacefully at home last Monday. Mr McCarthy was a corporal in the T.A. 529 Company of Royal Army Service Corp but was entitled to wear the badge of the Royal Regiment of Artillery during his stint on the Castle ramparts.

Raised in Musselburgh, the former gunner lived in Bonnyrigg with his wife Margaret.

Affectionately known as Eddie, he served as a past chairman of the One o'Clock Gun and Timeball Association and met a host of figureheads as bombardier, including the Duke of Edinburgh.

But it was the thousands of tourists who flocked to the attraction every year that Mr McCarthy most enjoyed meeting. His greatest thrill was being photographed by ordinary people from all over the world.

As an important part of Edinburgh tradition, Mr McCarthy cherished his role as district gunner and never shirked his reponsibilities to be keeping time six days a week, except Sundays, Good Friday and Christmas.

George Robinson, secretary of the One o'Clock Gun Association, said: "Eddie always did his best to promote the tradition of the One o' Clock Gun.

"During his spell as chairman he did his best to keep the peace and guide the organisation forward. Well balanced and down to earth, he was extremely proud of the part he played in the time-gun's long history.

"It's a great pity he will not be present at the 150th anniversary of the One o' Clock Gun in June.

"He will be sadly missed by his friends and his family."

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