Battalion honour for Loanhead man

Author Jack Alexander and Loanhead man Peter MacFadyen represent the Royal Scots as MCraes Battalion is inducted into the SFA hall of fame
Author Jack Alexander and Loanhead man Peter MacFadyen represent the Royal Scots as MCraes Battalion is inducted into the SFA hall of fame

A Loanhead man recently accepted the induction of McCrae’s Battalion into the Scottish Football Association’s Hall of Fame.

Peter MacFadyen (66) was at the star-studded ceremony at Hampden Park as a representative of the Royal Scots, picking up the recognition for the sportsmen’s battalion along with historian Jack Alexander.

Peter said: “I have been involved in football with the battalion for most of my life.

“For 22 years in the Royal Scots, I was captain and then coach of the football team.

“I continued coaching the cadets from 1988 to 2008.

“The battalion is the first group to be inducted, so it was quite a unique award to be given to the battalion.

“And because it’s the centenary of the start of the Great War, it was a fitting tribute. It was quite an honour for the regiment.”

A big football man, Peter thoroughly enjoyed the induction night, mixing with some of his heroes.

He said: “It wasn’t just the battalion being inducted that night. Peter Lorimer, Davie Wilson, Bill Brown (deceased) and Charlie Nicholas were too.

“The whole of the night was also a tribute to Dennis Law, so he was there.

“It was a fantastic feeling to be sitting with all those footballers, some of my heroes.

“Dennis Law is arguably the best player Scotland has ever produced. I had a nice chat with Dennis, he told me his father and his grandfather were in the Highlanders (regiment).

“I also spoke to Tommy Docherty about his National Service. It was a great night.”

Historian Jack Alexander is the author of ‘McCrae’s Battalion: The Story of the 16th Royal Scots’.

He explained more about the battalion: “Obviously the 16th Royal Scots were a sporting battalion, but they drew recruits from all over.

“They had large numbers of men from the pits in Midlothian. It was a Lothian battalion. There was, for example, a platoon of about 50 men from Penicuik.

“There wasn’t just players from Hearts, there was loads of teams including Midlothian Junior teams.

“It’s taken a long time to make clear to people that it was not just Hearts involved. Yes, they had a big part in the start, but just a part.

“And there were not just footballers, there were golfers and rugby players, all kinds of sports. But once the footballers enlisted, other sportsmen also wanted to get involved.”