Obituary: Charles Colquhoun McInroy, Second World War veteran

Charles McInroy: Second World War veteran and former staff manager at Scottish Equitable Life
Charles McInroy: Second World War veteran and former staff manager at Scottish Equitable Life
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Born: 24 November, 1921, in Birnam, Perth and Kinross. Died: 24 October, 2015, in Haddington, East Lothian, aged 94

Charlie McInroy had an idyllic childhood growing up in Birnam with his brothers and sisters, home-schooled and free to roam the beautiful landscape of Highland Perthshire, which always remained close to his heart.

During this time he developed a love of writing witty verse, which was to become a lifelong source of pleasure to both him and others.

He was educated later at Loretto School, Musselburgh, and had many happy memories of his school days. During the Second World War he served as a Captain with the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment in North Africa, and through Italy.

Returning to Edinburgh, he was a keen member of the Edinburgh Sports Club, and played rugby for Edinburgh Wanderers, before meeting and marrying Bunty, “the fountain of all his blessings”, who gave him four children (in as many years!) – Rory, Alison, Torquil and Nonie.

For many years he worked as staff manager for the Scottish Equitable Life Assurance Society, and indeed wrote a history of the firm for its sesquicentennial celebrations.

After retiring he went back to work for another decade to manage The Queen’s Nursing Institute. He rationalised their assets, selling off unused property and setting up active scholarships in district nursing studies, night nursing schemes, and establishing suitable pensions and support for retired nurses, valuable work which he found very fulfilling and enjoyable.

A move to North Berwick in 1965 established a new phase in his life, where he became a well-liked figure in the community, serving as captain of North Berwick Golf Club, a “secret weapon” for Marmion Bridge Club and treasurer of St Baldred’s Church.

Achieving his long-held ambition to be ordained into the Order of the Monks of St Giles (an Edinburgh dining society) provided endless opportunity to hone his versifying skills. He even wrote a history of The Monks from 1952 to 2002.

More important than all these things, however, was his devotion to his family – not only his children and grandchildren, but also his many cousins, nieces and nephews and their children, for whom he became a pater familias as his siblings passed away and he eventually became the only remaining member of what he referred to as “Generation 1”. For 20 years Charlie has hosted an annual family gathering, which came to be the highlight of his year.

In his eighth decade, having been presented with his first computer, he started work on his “magnum opus” an ambitious memoir encompassing all aspects of his life as well as research into family genealogy over 250 years.

Entitled One Ordinary Life and Its Scottish Roots, it was completed in his 91st year, and sets the family history against a wider historical background.

Charlie was always optimistic and interested in others, and his good humour and kind nature touched everyone around him. Despite his deteriorating health, he never complained, remained cheerful and bore his discomforts stoically.

He died peacefully at Roodlands Hospital surrounded by family. He will be sorely missed by Bunty, his children and his wide circle of family and friends.