Saturday, 5 March 2011

Memorial tribute to West Fife Black Watch soldier

An article from the Dunfermline Press about a recent addition to the town's war memorial:

Family, friends and comrades of fallen Black Watch corporal Tam Mason gathered at Dunfermline War Memorial to remember his life and mark the occasion of his name being added to the memorial plaque.

In a poignant ceremony held in bright early spring sunshine on Monday, accompanied by a bugler and piper, the Rev Seoras Mackenzie, Black Watch padre, said Tam gave his life so others could enjoy peace.

"He was prepared to put his life on the line for people like us.

"That life was taken by that dreadful act of terrorism," said the Rev Mackenzie.

He added, "Tam died so that others were free not to live in fear and under repression."

Tam grew up in Rosyth and lived later in Dunfermline. He was 27-years-old when he died as a result of severe injuries he sustained in an explosion in Afghanistan.

He was flown back to the UK but died in hospital in Birmingham six weeks after the horrific blast.

Tam, who was on his second tour in Afghanistan, had joined the army in February 2005 and qualified as a mortar fire controller, earning promotion to corporal two years later.

His mum, Linda Buchanan, who lives in Kelty, said after the ceremony, "It's been a very emotional occasion.
"There's an element of pride of course because Tam died doing the job he loved.

"He was proud to be in the Black Watch and he always said there could be no greater honour than to die doing the job he loved so much.

"He used to say, 'Whatever they say about the army, the Black Watch is different and we're like one big family'.

"He was one of the last to join before the change came in over to the Royal Regiment.

"Tam is the first thing I think of every morning when I wake up and the last thing I think of when I fall asleep and I know that will always be.

"He was fun-loving, loved a challenge, was very motivated and because he was like that it rubbed off on those around him.

"He was respected by those who knew him."

Meanwhile, Tam's family are delighted with the response to their petition calling for a memorial garden to be built for the families of those who have died in recent conflicts.

More than 700 people have signed the petition which has been left in shops around West Fife and is also being backed by the Press with users able to sign online.

"We've had tremendous support from the public and from the other families," said Mrs Buchanan.

"People have been getting in touch from all over Scotland so if we have this quiet place where people can go to remember their loved ones, people could be coming to Fife from all over."

Tam's mother, Linda Buchanan, at the plaque that now bears her son's name. (Photo by Ted Milton)

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