Brigadier Sidney P Robertson MBE, TD, JP, DL, BCom, HonDLitt
It is with deep regret that the Kirkwall Branch has to report the death of our long time President and Hon President, Brigadier Sidney P Robertson. His death has left a great vacuum in the R.B.L.S. Kirkwall Branch and indeed throughout Scotland. He was a truly dedicated Legionnaire and we in the Kirkwall Branch relied on his guidance and leadership at all times.
Sidney Park Robertson, who was born in Kirkwall in 1914, died peacefully on 13 December 2008. He was educated at Kirkwall Grammar School and on leaving school worked for the Bank of Scotland in Orkney, Caithness and then Edinburgh, where he graduated BCom. On the outbreak of War in 1939, Sidney Robertson volunteered for active service in the Royal Artillery. He saw action in the campaign through France and Northern Europe and rose to the rank of Major.
After the War, Sidney spent some years in the Middle East before returning to Kirkwall in 1954, when he set up a family company. He was very soon involved with military organisations and he commanded the local Orkney and Shetland T.A. unit from 1956 to 1961. In recognition of this service he was awarded the M.B.E. in 1962. Subsequently, he was appointed Colonel of the Lovat Scouts and Commander of the Royal Artillery, Highland Division. He would later chair the Royal Artillery Council of Scotland, reaching the rank of Brigadier.
Sidney Robertson was a loyal supporter of the Royal British Legion Scotland. He was appointed President of the Kirkwall Branch in 1957 and he served in this capacity for over 40 years until he became our Hon. President, a post he held until his death. During this period he witnesed many changes and saw the Branch and Branch Club move from its old wooden hut in Great Western Road to the present spacious, modern building in Junction Road. 'The Brigadier', as he was affectionately known in later years, had a keen interest in the activities of the Kirkwall Branch and gained much pleasure from achievements gained. At national level he was also active and became Hon Vice President of the Highlands and Islands area in 1975.
However, it was within Orkney that Sidney was most involved, doing much to support and enhance the St Magnus Cathederal.
He was involved with many other organisations including the Orkney Health Board, the Kirkwall Lifeboat and St Magnus Fair Committees. He also become Vice Lord Lieutenant, Justice of the Peace and Honorary Sheriff, but the award which he treasured most was being appointed a 'Freeman of Orkney'.
In 1940 Sidney married a local woman, Elsa Croy and she was to be a loyal supporter throughout a long and happy marriage, which was blessed with a son, Robert, and a daughter, Eileen. Sadly, Elsa pre-deceased him a few years ago but to Robbie and Eileen and their families we in the Kirkwall Branch extend our sincere sympathy.
Brigadier Sidney P Robertson was a true and loyal Legionnaire, to whom our motto 'Service not Self' was most apt.