Dr Thomas J. Renouf MBE, MM, L.d'H.
28th March 1925 - 26th June 2016
Tom is mentioned several
times in this website and we were privileged to call him a friend
so it only seems fitting to dedicate this page to his memory.
Obituary by John
and Beryl Cory
THOMAS Joseph Renouf (or
Tom as he was usually known) was born on March 28, 1925, in Fisherrow,
Musselburgh, to the parents Bramwell and Margaret Renouf.
On June 26, 2016, aged 91, he died
peacefully at home, amongst his family.
Tom’s father died at an early age in
1934 when he was only nine years old. Tom and his sister, Elizabeth
(Betty) were raised by his mother Margaret.
He was educated at Musselburgh Grammar
School and was made captain of the school 1st rugby XV, which enjoyed
an unbeaten run under his captaincy. He retained a lifelong connection
with the school and helped found the 1930 Club, which continues to
meet on an annual basis. He presented the 1930 Trophy on several
occasions and helped raise funds for the war memorial in Musselburgh
and the restoration of Newhailes House for the National Trust for
Tom left school in 1943 and enlisted
in the 2nd Battalion London Scottish Regiment and after training was
posted to the Tyneside Scottish. The Tyneside Scottish Regiment was
subsequently amalgamated into the 5th Battalion Black Watch Regiment,
the Regiment he went on to form a lifelong commitment to uniting and
supporting its WW2 veterans.
In June 1944, on D-Day plus 4, Tom
landed in France and began the long and bloody fight for the
liberation of Europe. He was involved in the breakout from the
beachhead at Breville, near Caen, and was wounded at Mauny in the
Upon rejoining his Regiment, he fought
through France, Belgium and Holland, including the liberating of La
Roche-en-Ardennes during the bitter winter of 1944/5.
Tom went on to cross the Rhine in the
final stages of the war, where he was awarded his Military Medal and
promoted to Lieutenant in June 1945.
Following demobilisation in 1946, Tom
undertook a variety of jobs on building sites and with the Electricity
Board before entering Edinburgh University, where he studied and
gained a PhD in sub-atomic particle theory.
Tom spent eight years at the Royal
Military Academy at Shrivenham before returning to Scotland to take up
a research scientist post at Edinburgh University. He finished his
academic life teaching physics at St. Margaret’s School for Girls.
In 1954, he met Kathleen in Melrose
and they married eight years later. Their son George was born in 1963.
Throughout his life, Tom enjoyed a
deep and abiding love of art and music. He played the clarinet, guitar
and piano in a variety of genres from jazz to classical and performed
in local bands before, during and after his Army service. He was an
accomplished pianist and enjoyed singing, as well as playing the
popular songs from his childhood. He was a regular attendee at
concerts in Edinburgh and elsewhere and was a Patron of the Scottish
Tom was instrumental in the concept
and design of the Highland Division Memorials which have been raised
in memory of the thousands of HD soldiers who did not return. Together
with his close friend Alan Herriot and help from the Army, they
commissioned, transported and dedicated monuments, including
full-sized bronze statues of a Highland Piper, and dedicated them to
his Fallen Comrades. A Memorial Statue has also been erected at the
House of Bruar and a tapestry mounted at St Johns Kirk, Perth. Tom was
at the forefront of fund raising for all the memorials and the
tapestry. The fundraising also extended to providing funds for some
200 veterans to attend the 50th anniversary of the Liberation of
Holland in 1994.
Like many war veterans, Tom was very
reluctant to discuss his wartime experiences until 1994, when the late
General Sir Derek Lang asked him to assist in the organisation of the
major pilgrimage of some 200 veterans to North Brabant for the 50th
anniversary of the liberation. Following the organisation of many
other pilgrimages, Tom eventually decided to write his memoirs, which
were published in 2011 under the title 'Black Watch'. Tom was also
heavily involved in the updating of 'The History of the 51st Highland
Division' by J B Salmon, which was republished in 2015.
In 2014, Tom was awarded the Legion
d’Honneur at Grandchamp-le-Château and received the award in the
presence of Sir Peter Ricketts, the British ambassador to France.
Later that year, Tom made his last pilgrimage. Together with a handful
of HD veterans, he was invited to Gennep in Holland to celebrate the
70th anniversary of their liberation by the 51st Highland Division and
the renaming of the Highlander Bridge.