THE CRERAR FAMILY

   One summer evening in 1961, I think, I was driving up Glasgow Road, Clydebank, when I was flagged down by two police officers near John Browns' shipyard gate.  When I stopped, the cops asked me if I would give them a lift to the east end of Clydebank, where they had heard of an accident.  This was the time before the police were motorized and had their own patrol vehicles, which in Clydebank were small, white vans known irreverently as the "Omo" vans, after a brand of washing powder.   Before the Omo vans, police walked the "beat" and when transport was needed, they often just hopped on a tram car or bus.  The elite "speed cops" had Jaguars or Triumph cars, but they were used mainly on the highways outside of the towns or cities.  The beat cops walked or rode public vehicles or, as in this instance, flagged down a passing car.  Anyway, I took them aboard and headed up Glasgow Road.  Almost at the Glasgow boundary, we came upon the accident scene and my two passengers got out and took charge.  A young man on a motorcycle driving west on Glasgow Road had been struck by a car coming out of a side street on his left.  He was lying on the road with a badly injured leg.  Eventually, he was taken away in an ambulance to the hospital and I went on my way.    

I didn't hear till next day that the accident victim was Norman Crerar and, although I didn't know him, Bessie knew his mother well.  They were very good friends.  When we realized who the accident victim was, we offered to help the Crerars with transport to the Western Infirmary and then later out to Killearn Hospital, where Norman was transferred for specialized surgery and treatment.  We went out to Killearn every weekend for quite a long period, and this started a friendship which lasted for many years.  Donald,  Norman's father, was a very nice gentleman who died in the late 70's.  Violet, Norman's mother, and I kept in touch until her death in 1992. They were beautiful people and Violet was a very good friend to Bessie when she was so ill in the early 1960's.  We frequently went on car trips together.  I remember when we went to Carnoustie, where Violet's aunt lived.   I was very interested, because my father was from there.

   I also remember going down to Ayrshire and visiting Culzean Castle, which was open to visitors for a fee.  It's notable that Culzean Castle was the place where General Eisenhower had a suite of rooms, and went for R & R and lots of golf when he was in command of the Allied troops in World War II.    

The Crerars were great companions and we always enjoyed being with them.  Their daughter Linda, who was about the same age as Wilma, went to a class every Saturday morning with Wilma.  They were learning Highland dancing -- the Highland Fling, the Sword dance and the Shean Truis, and when they had to go to Edinburgh for their exams, I drove them.  Both girls won all the medals available -- Gold, Silver and Bronze.  I still correspond with Norman and his wife, Margaret.