Death of last remaining member of Denny family with strong links to Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders

The death of Christina Arbuckle Smith at the end of last year was also the passing of the last remaining sibling from one of the district’s largest families.

Monday, 3rd January 2022, 4:45 pm
Updated Friday, 7th January 2022, 4:21 pm

Robert and Jean Arbuckle Smith raised their 11 children, six boys and five girls, at 62 Broad Street in Denny.

Many of them served in the Second World War, including several decorated for bravery.

Thankfully, and few families could say the same, all survived and returned to the family home.

Jock Smith of Denny

Christina or Tina as she was best known, died on September 19, 2021, aged 91.

Although her siblings all passed before she is survived by her three daughters, Jane, Ang and Ron, and four grandsons.

There was 25 years between the eldest born in 1907 and the youngest born in 1932 but they were always a tightknit family.

Tragedy struck in 1948 when their father died and shortly after Jean and her three youngest children, Nan, Tina and Ronnie, moved to Aberdeen.

Seven of the 11 Smith siblings from Denny - Back row:-Rab, George, Jock and Wull. Front row:- Ronnie, Alex, Tina.

The family had strong links to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders with eldest George one of those serving.

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Jock had signed up with the 7th Battalion of the ASH in 1933. He was also a member of the renowned Allandale Pipe Band which won the World Championships in 1938, before the entire band marched to Bonnybridge to enlist. In 1940, they became the band of the 7th/10th Battalion and in 1942 went to Egypt as part of the reformed 51st Highland Division where he took over as a pipe major.

He was a medical assistant to the doctor on their detail – band members were deployed as orderlies or stretcher bearers when not on band duties – and he was awarded the Military Medal for his bravery at the battle of El Alamein, which he received in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Christina (Tina) Arbuckle Smith, died September 19, 2021, aged 91

He became Pipe Major at Stirling Castle and in 1964 was awarded the British Empire Medal for his 32 years of service to the 7th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (TA).

Rab was in the TA before 1939 and his war service with the ASH took him to France, Holland and finally Germany where he ended up in hospital.

Before the war Wull was a promising footballer. He had been a goalkeeper in the Scotland National Junior team then played for St. Mirren and had been asked to go to Manchester City F.C. when the war prevented it. He also played football for Alloa F.C.

Smith family of Denny - Jean Smith plus 9 children Back row l-r:- Alex, Nan, George, Jean, Rab. Front row l-r:- May, Ronnie, Jean Smith, Tina, Jock.

He enlisted in the ASH, fighting at El Alamein and in Europe. However, he contracted malaria so did not take part in the D-Day invasions. At the tail-end of the war, he was sent to Orkney to help guard the Italian prisoners of war and the naval base at Scapa Flow.

Unlike his brothers, Alex was not a piper but was a motorcyclist in the RAF during the war and was injured during despatch riding in Tunisia.

When he returned home, he worked as a bus driver in Falkirk before becoming a lorry driver for many years, eventually retiring when he was 70.

Youngest brother Ronnie joined 152 Field Ambulance Unit (TA) as a teenager after the war and eventually became pipe major.

He trained as a joiner for a company in Aberdeen before joining Rentokil and eventually became general manager for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Eldest daughter Tib worked as a nursing sister in the theatres at Stirling Royal Infirmary.

May Smith on her wedding day

May was a stenographer in the ATS during the war, before becoming a redcap with the Military Police which saw her guard Nazi women prisoners during the Nuremberg trials.

Up until 1949, Jean was living and working in Denny before going to Orkney to work with her brother Wull in the cafe in St. Margaret's Hope. In 1951, she moved to Dollar and worked at Dollar Academy.

Her husband Sammy was a farm worker and they lived in East Lothian and Aberdeenshire before moving back to Orkney where they had met.

Nan had many jobs after leaving school including waitress, barmaid and also at various jewellers shops in Aberdeen, including H. Samuel.

When she met her first husband they lived in Bridge of Allan. After divorcing she then remarried, living in Aberdeen before moving to Cruden Bay.

Tina trained as a hair stylist. Her job took her to London and Glasgow. She became manager of the salon at Falconers where she met the father of her children.

They moved to Ballater and when their father moved away, Tina and her children moved to Collieston and then Ellon.

She often regaled her daughters with details of her family, speaking fondly of their time together and exploits.

As her daughter, said: “A very special and amazing family who will forever be sadly missed.”

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