Edward Maitland-Makgill-Crichton

Distinguished army officer and City stockbroker

Born: 23 November, 1916, in Herefordshire.

Died: 22 December, 2009, in Edinburgh, aged 93.

HE CAME from a distinguished military family and one with long associations to Scotland's past: the Earls of Lauderdale (part of the Maitland clan) are hereditary saltire banner bearers of Scotland. Major-General Edward Maitland-Makgill-Crichton was devoted to his regiment, the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, and gave distinguished service as an officer and then in various capacities after he retired. He saw service in various theatres of war and before and after his time in the army, Maitland-Makgill-Crichton worked in the City of London as a stockbroker. His family were in direct male line of descent of the Maitlands, Earls of Lauderdale, and the twice hyphenated surname came about in the 1840s through marriages in notable Scottish families.

Edward Maitland-Makgill-Crichton – always known affectionately as "Jock" – was the third son of Lt Col David Maitland-Makgill-Crichton of the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders. He was educated at Bedford School, then worked on the London Stock Exchange: the management of shares was to remain a lifelong interest. He decided on a military career and trained at Sandhurst. He was commissioned in 1937 into The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, with which he served initially at Catterick Camp and Aldershot. In 1939 Maitland-Makgill-Crichton was appointed adjutant of the 5th (Territorial) Battalion the QOCH and was mobilised on the outbreak of war in 1939.

In 1942, he was transferred to the headquarters of the 51st Highland Division and then to Egypt. Four days after the start of the Battle of El Alamein he was appointed brigade major of 153 (Black Watch and Gordon) Brigade, which, with a division from New Zealand, led the pursuit from Alamein to El Agheila. He rejoined the QOCH as D Company commander and was involved in the capture of Tripoli.

In 1943 Maitland-Makgill-Crichton was posted to the staff college, Haifa, and after the campaign in Sicily he returned to the UK to prepare for D-Day and the invasion of Normandy. Landing in Normandy, he was severely wounded at the Battle of St Honorine and evacuated to the UK. After recuperation he was appointed brigade major with the Royal Marines in the Netherlands and took part in the hazardous crossing of the Rhine and the subsequent advance into Germany. He finished the war garrisoned in Hamburg and was mentioned in dispatches in 1944.

Ten days after the end of the war Maitland-Makgill-Crichton joined the Camerons in India as a company commander. After the Japanese surrender he spent some months in Japan before being appointed to the Commonwealth Training School until returning to the UK in 1947. Back home Maitland-Makgill-Crichton was posted to the mobilisation branch of the War Office, which became a most active department as the Cold War intensified. Maitland-Makgill-Crichton faced a gruelling workload: indeed, so heavy was it that he had to delay his plans for marriage for two years.

In 1950 he returned to the 1st Camerons, principally in north Africa, the canal zone, Egypt and Austria. He was much involved in the diplomatic manoeuvrings during the Suez troubles, and preparations for the ill-fated invasion in 1956. He was then posted to command 1st Battalion the Liverpool Scottish TA, from 1959-61 and on the amalgamation of the Seaforth and Camerons in 1961 he joined the QOCH

Final appointments before his retirement in 1968 included commander 152 (Highland) Infantry Brigade at Inverness, deputy director staff duties at the Ministry of Defence and general officer commanding 51st Highland Division from 1966-68 in Perth.

Maitland-Makgill-Crichton, a keen golfer, angler and shot, returned to the City for four years and was on occasion heard to comment that he had earned more in that time than he had as a major general. He kept closely in touch with QOCH's affairs and was particularly involved in reorganising the regiment's finances, ensuring they were put on a strong financial footing. He was president of the Liverpool Scottish and was involved with many of the QOCH's associations. Maitland-Makgill-Crichton was appointed an OBE in 1948.

His son, Major David Maitland-Makgill-Crichton said of his father: "He was very proud that all his three sons joined Highland regiments. My father epitomised the caring, friendly nature of the QOCH and remained firmly loyal to its traditions and his colleagues. Many who served under him have told me of the esteem in which they held him. They commented on how caring and considerate my father was and how he frequently went out of his way to improve their conditions. He was also keen to help people with their non-military careers."

Major-General Edward Maitland-Makgill-Crichton was married in 1951 to Sheila Margaret Hibbins, who predeceased him. They had three sons, one of whom also predeceased him. He is survived by their other two sons.