THE Lumphanan branch of the Royal British Legion has presented soon to be 97-year-old member, Charlie Forbes, with a merit certificate.
A stalwart member of the Legion, Charlie was Standard Bearer of Lumphanan branch for over 30 years and was also poppy convenor which he only recently handed over due to his failing eyesight.
Charlie is the last surviving member of 706 Artisan Works Company, Royal Engineers (Aberdeenshire Volunteers).
The company was formed from Aberdeenshire County Council Roads Department in 1940. After hasty basic training the company was sent to France, attached to the RAF, where they worked on air fields and gun placements.
The company was also sent to Gibraltar and, to avoid U-boats, sailed around Ireland but only got as far as Donegal when it was struck by a torpedo. Charlie was on guard duty at the time and found it easier than most to grab a life-raft. Survivors were picked up by HMS Griffin and taken to Greenock.
After a few days leave, the company reformed and was sent to various fighter airfields in the south of England where the Battle of Britain was taking place and the airfields were under constant attack from the Luftwaffe.
In 1942 the company was sent to Algiers and throughout 1943 was engaged in all kinds of construction work in North Africa. In 1944 they were sent to Italy and then Austria until, in 1946, they were disbanded and Charlie returned to Aberdeenshire Council.
The presentation to Charlie Forbesin Lumphanan was made by branch chairman Ian Thomson