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In Memoriam: Farewell Davie Mowatt, 4th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders

Yesterday, we bid a sad farewell to Davie Mowatt, 4th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders, whose funeral service was held at Saint Mary The Virgin in Ware, Hertfordshire.

Davie was born in Dornoch in Scotland in 1920. He left school at 14 and became a farm labourer. In 1937, aged 17, he joined the TA, when the recruiting sergeant came into the pub where he and his friends were drinking.

When war was declared, Davie's unit, the 4th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders, was posted to Surrey where they did their initial training before being sent to Northern France. Davie became the company commander's runner.

Posted to the fortified Maginot Line on the German border, Davie spent each night sneaking out into no man's land looking for signs of whether the Germans were occupying their own forward positions.

He saved the life of his friend, Eckie MacPherson, who was seriously wounded by a German shell, by carrying him to a first aid post. Davie said: "Every year Eckie'd be at the regimental reunion with a glass of whisky waiting for me and say: 'Here's to the man who saved my life.'"

Davie was taken prisoner in 1940 and came face-to-face with Rommel, the Desert Fox. He then joined 40,000 British soldiers who were taken prisoner and marched towards Germany with very little food, water or rest.

In early 1945, the POWs were sent West on foot, but David and three other men escaped and headed towards Red Army lines. They were re-captured by the SS and put in front of a firing squad. They were only saved when an ordinary Wehrmacht officer appeared.

Davie was liberated in the port of Luébeck, by a unit from his own regiment, the Seaforths, on 10 May 1945, two days after the German surrender. Following the war, Davie signed on as a regular soldier and remained in the army.

Eventually he found himself in Hertfordshire, where he met a local girl and settled down after leaving the army. Despite never returning to live in Scotland, he retained close links with his regiment, returning each year to attend reunions.

He is survived by his three daughters.


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