Warrant Officer David Stephen 1945/6
2nd Battalion The Black Watch RHR
Mentioned in Despatch scroll
W.O II David Stephen
Mr. & Mrs. Stephen's Wedding day
David Stephen, 1912-2000
David Stephen was born in Newburgh, Fife in 1912, the son of a coachman. In 1928, to escape the worsening depression, he joined The Black Watch, in which he was to serve with great pride for the next 21 years.
He traveled with the 2nd Battalion to Palestine in 1937, and when the Battalion entered the war in 1940, he went on to serve with them in all of their campaigns including Somaliland, Crete, Tobruk and Burma. In the latter, he was CSM to (then) Major David Rose, DSO, and was mentioned in Despatches for distinguished service after leading his men against an enemy position despite serious shrapnel wounds to his leg. His wounds were caused by “friendly” mortar fire, which he always said was more frightening than anything the enemy could deliver!
He spent the years immediately after the war as a PE instructor at Welbeck Abbey. He married Rita Brown in 1947, and after the birth of his eldest son, David, in August 1948, he decided to leave the Regiment he loved in favour of life in “civvie” street. His final service overseas was with FARELF from 1948-1949, and by the time of his demob, he had attained the rank of RQSM.
In 1949, David joined the War Department Constabulary as a Police Officer. His first posting was to Old Dalby in Leicestershire, where his second son, Peter, was born in 1951. Following promotion to sergeant in 1953, he was posted to Irvine, Ayrshire, and upon the closure of the Ordnance factory there in 1958, to the Proof and Experimental Establishment, Shoeburyness, Essex. He declined further promotions to avoid disruption to his children's education, and retired after 28 years service in 1977.
David's devotion to his family was the only thing that surpassed his love of sport. He represented the Regiment at boxing and football, and would recall with some amusement how he was once put on a charge for declining to play hockey because he thought he was already involved in too many sporting activities! He was a keen cricketer, being both batsman and first class spin bowler. Every summer, he would infuriate his wife by watching every ball of every Test Match, emerging only during the lunch interval to check progress in his beloved fruit and vegetable gardens before returning to his armchair for the afternoon sessions.
David continued to enjoy his sporting and gardening interests in retirement, which was marred only by the death of his wife in 1985. He faced this difficult time with characteristic bravery and soon became a well known character in the village where he would terrorize butchers and bakers who had neglected to re-stock the things his grandchildren liked most! He is survived by his sons and five grandchildren, who would be pleased to hear from any of his former comrades via Major Proctor at the Black Watch Regimental Museum, Balhousie castle, Perthshire, Scotland.