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Obituary – Stuart Gordon Lorimer (C3 1947-51)

Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Stuart Gordon Lorimer

Gordon Lorimer was born in Edinburgh in 1934 and educated at Marlborough College and the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. In 1954, he was commissioned into the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, serving with the 1st Battalion in Berlin (platoon commander), Bury St Edmunds (2IC A Company) and Cyprus (Intelligence Officer). For six months, he then commanded A Company, aged 23, on anti-terrorist operations in Cyprus as a Temporary Captain, before being seconded to The Parachute Regiment in 1958. Gordon was a gifted and enthusiastic sportsman, representing the Combined Services at Rugby and the Argylls in Modern Pentathlon. He also boxed and he delighted in the fact that he was beaten in the Battalion Middleweight boxing finals by one of the Officers’ Mess waiters, Pte Berry, who then became his batman.

In 1960, when The Parachute Regiment formed a permanent cadre of officers, Gordon elected to transfer. The next year, having been granted leave on half-pay, he led a Cambridge University mountaineering expedition in the Tibesti Mountains, Central Sahara. He was successively Adjutant of 1 PARA and 10 PARA (V), before attending the Army Staff College at Camberley in 1965. From there, he went to be Brigade Major of 5 Infantry Brigade on active service in Borneo, followed by Strategic Reserve duties in Tidworth.

From 1967 to 1969, Gordon commanded A Company, 2 PARA, in Malaya, Hong Kong and during the Anguilla Emergency. He then took up the duties of Regimental Adjutant of The Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces at Browning Barracks for two years. In 1971, aged 37, he assumed command of 3 PARA. The Battalion was based in Aldershot, but it was deployed as the British United Nations battalion in Cyprus in 1972 and then to Northern Ireland (in the Shankhill and Ardoyne areas of Belfast) during 1973.

In 1974, Gordon decided to leave the Army and go into business. He joined WH Smith and in 1975 was appointed Industrial Relations Executive, reporting to the Board. In those days, the Firm dealt with some of the major trades unions, including SOGAT, NGA and the TGWU and countless Staff Associations. Since this was before the ‘Union Reforms’, life was pretty exciting and uncertain, particularly in the publication and distribution of newspapers. He instituted a number of national agreements to stabilise the situation and trained all of the top management in negotiating skills. He then took on the staff management of the Wholesale Group and its subsidiaries. After ten years with WH Smith, Gordon retired early to follow his favourite pursuits of deer stalking in the United Kingdom and hunting in Europe, Scandinavia and Africa.

In 1959, Gordon married Fiona Molteno, youngest daughter of DJ Molteno of Glen Lyon, Perthshire. They had a daughter and two sons, 14 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. Gordon passed away peacefully on 4th July 2020.