SR’s editor compiled many thousands of notes for his books 'The Invisible Spirit' and 'The Broken Journey' on the life of Scotland between 1945 and 1999. Many of minor interest never found their way into print. For this daily series, he has rescued some of these abandoned scraps from the dustbin of history.

Two funerals

March 1967

Hundreds of mourners attended the funeral of Duncan Macrae, the Scottish actor, at Linn Crematorium, Glasgow, who died on 23 March at the age of 61. Among the mourners were Hugh MacDiarmid, Alex McCrindle of Equity (the actors’ union), Kenneth McKellar, Una McLean, Molly Urquhart, Cliff Hanley, Robert Kemp, Larry Marshall, Andy Stewart, Ronald Mavor and Bill Tennent. Seamus McNeill, principal of the College of Piping, who taught Macrae to play the bagpipes, played 'Duncan Macrae's Lament' at the end of the service. Macrae was born in Glasgow in 1905, the son of a Sutherland crofter, and like many other Scottish actors of his generation, came into the theatre by way of the amateur movement. He was best known for his recitation of 'The Wee Cock Sparra' during the BBC's annual Hogmanay show and for his part in the TV adaptation of Neil Munro's novel, 'Para Handy'.

June 1974

A piper in full Highland regalia played a lament when the Skye terrier who played Greyfriars Bobby in the Walt Disney film of that name was
buried at Dolphinstone, on the border of Peebles-shire and Lanarkshire. Bobby was 17. The funeral oration was given by William Merrilees, the 75-year-old retired chief constable of Lothian and Peebles, who had to break off in mid-sentence to wipe tears from his eyes as a friend assisted him in lowering the small, black-draped coffin into the grave.

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