Have to agree with you countrybumpkin, we seem to be losing all the good characters all too quickly these days. Ben was an excellent role model and mentor for me during my first posting with the Corps in 1975/76. We were stationed in the old Knicker Factory at Kitchen Hill in Lurgan, and I had already been there a few months when he took over from either Nick V D B or Tony Holmes, I've never really worked out who went first. What made Ben special though, apart from being a fellow Scot, (the only other Scots in the Brigade HQ at the time were the Brigade Comd, his driver and Major Philip H-M - who was a posh Jock anyhow), was his ability to meet someone for the first time, and by the end of the conversation they were best mates. That said, he wouldn't suffer fools gladly - whatever their rank, and I'm pleased to say we never had a falling out or bad word for each other. Forgive me if I get the spelling wrong, but its coming up to 40 years now, however, I had many a happy meal at his Quarter in Rossmoyles, Craigavon, I think, with him and Mhari (pronounced Vhari) and the boys, and could relax during some very heavy periods of stress.
But one thing I will remember Ben for was his wind-ups, often at others expense, like the time he gave me three chocolate coloured tablets, which he assured me should go into the Sergeant Major (JC's) coffee to give it added flavour with the sugar and milk. Yes I was still naive in those heady days and honestly didn't realise they were laxatives - but JC did when he couldn't get off the bog for 6 hours !
So Long Ben and RIP - you will certainly be missed
Sad news indeed. My last meeting with him was on the 31 October 2005. I had the pleasure of working with Ben at Templer Bks. Ronny Anderson was posted in for a spell and Ken Catweazel was the other Corps PSI. What an environment. I have no idea how I preserved my sanity with them.
Ben did catch me on one of his many wind-ups, on a collection for the 'Blair-Peach Memorial Pipe Band'. Lost to cancer eh? What a terrible waste. A lovely, helpful, generous man.
Deep Peace of the running waves to you
Deep Peace of the flowing air to you
Deep Peace of the smiling stars to you
Deep Peace of the quiet earth to you
Deep Peace of the watching shepherds to you
Deep Peace of the Son of Peace to you.
'Coming by Sir! as Ben shouted at the incumbent Brigadier DINT as we ran on the fenceline towards Templer after negotiating the usual Warren and Hothfield run. It was slippy and wet. Sad news. Rest Easy.