SSGt Douglas Aitchison 23784501 (1943-2020)
Scribes Graham Clarkson (60A), John Feast (60A) and Brian Roberts
SSgt Douglas Aitchison was born in Berwick-Upon-Tweed on 22nd November 1943. He served proudly with REME 1960 – 1983.
Dougie (as he was known) joined AAS Arborfield in April 1960, ‘A’ Coy (60B). Dougie was a very popular man throughout his REME career and was chosen to play football for the 1st XI aged 16 years whilst still a ‘jeep’.
He passed out in 1963 as an electrician, found himself back at SEME Bordon where he won his first Army Cup in 1964. We met Dougie again in Sharjah in 1968, Dougie had converted to an Aircraft and Engines Technician at Middle Wallop and was then posted to 74 Aircraft Workshop. This was the only time we were posted to the same location. There were plenty of sporting opportunities in Sharjah apart from football but Dougie excelled in whatever activity he participated in. Army Sharjah toured Cyprus and Malaysia, Dougie of course selected and Captained the side!!
After leaving Sharjah in 1969 REME had decided to select as many Army & Corps footballers to SEME Bordon, Dougie once again reverted to an electrician and, of course, was the first name on the list! He won his 2nd and 3rd Army Cups during this time. He played regularly for the Corps, Army and Alton Town FC.
Bordon was where Dougie met the love of his life, Joy, a local girl from Alton. Poor Joy had to compete with not only Army life but football and all of us!! But she won in the end by marrying Dougie in 1975.
We reunited with Dougie in Osnabruck, Dougie was with 26 Eng Regt. He was by this time coaching the Corps team and playing local German football. He was then posted to 39 Regt RA where he coached and played and won his 4th Army Cup, he later stated this was his greatest football achievement.
He found himself back at SEME where, at the age of 38, he continued to play at high standard and won his 5th Army Cup Final in 1981. Maybe the record still stands today?
Dougie left the Army in 1983, became a Prison Officer at Walton Jail. He settled into family life with Joy and their 3 sons, Paul, Mark and Stephen. He loved and lived for his family and his Grandchildren completed his life.
In 2000 Dougie received a Butlers Trust Award from HRH Princess Anne at Buckingham Palace for his services to the care and rehabilitation of young juvenile prisoners and encouraging their reintegration into society.
He fought cancer with the same humour, courage and vigour that epitomised his life. Once in a while you meet someone who enriches your life and leaves a lasting impression, Dougie was one of these people. He was a compassionate, thoughtful caring man. It was a privilege to call him our friend.