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Edward Tweedlie

Teacher and Second World War veteran

Teacher and Second World War veteran

Born: November 11, 1918; Died: December 9, 2013

Edward Tweedlie, who has died aged 95, was a much respected teacher, former principal teacher at Wishaw High School and a decorated veteran of the Second World War.

He carried out substantial service in France, Belgium and Germany and was awarded a range of commendations, including one from Field Marshal Montgomery. He was also the stenographer at the interrogation of the German General von Manteuffel after the Battle of the Bulge.

He was born into mining stock (his father spent 57 years working in the Lanarkshire pits) and quickly showed his academic ability at Berryhill Primary School.

He clearly had the potential to progress to Wishaw High School, the local senior secondary, but he was reluctant to go as he doubted his parents could afford the blazer. However, his father was determined that his son was not going down the pits and somehow the family managed.

After being told that his path in the senior school was to be commerce and not science (there were no careers guidance or sophisticated options programmes in the 1930s), the young Tweedlie went to Glasgow Commercial College (now Strathclyde University) from where he graduated in 1939 with a diploma in commerce.

During all of his studies at school and college, his father, despite long shifts at the colliery, insisted on staying up with him, making him tea and ensuring that he gained the qualifications necessary to keep him out of the pits.

Although exempt from military service as he was due to go to Jordanhill Teacher Training College, he postponed this and enlisted in October 1939. So began six years' active service, first in the 11th Battalion Highland Light Infantry and then in the 1st Lothians and Borders Yeomanry.

Reaching the rank of sergeant, he served in France, Belgium and Germany and was awarded a number of commendations, including the one from Montgomery.

His skills as a commerce graduate were also quickly appreciated and used; outstandingly fast as a typist and also skilled in shorthand, he was the stenographer during the interrogation of the German General von Manteuffel. Coincidentally, the interpreter at the interrogation was Walker, later Professor, Chambers, also a former pupil of Wishaw High School; his connection with the end of the Second World War was the involvement in the typing of the communication sent out on May 5, 1945, giving the order to ceasefire.

After the war was over, Mr Tweedlie spent another six months at Göttingen on the Rhine where army staff were taught commercial skills to equip them for post-war life.

During one of his spells stationed in Suffolk, he met his wife Evelyn Richardson, a legal secretary with Woodbridge District Council; they were married for 61 years.

After his long-postponed teacher training, his first post was in Overtown Primary, followed by a secondary post in Holy Cross High School, Hamilton and then to Wishaw Central School, where he taught a wide range of subjects.

Happy as he was at Wishaw Central, he wanted to concentrate on his core subject, and after a brief spell at Coatbridge High School, he was appointed principal teacher of commerce (now business studies) at Wishaw High School, his alma mater, where he remained from 1962 until his retiral in 1979.

He was universally respected by staff and pupils alike for his methodical and meticulous approach which he inculcated in his pupils, many of whom went on to pursue careers in commerce or to use the skills he gave them in their chosen professions.

He was utterly convinced of the power of education to improve lives and raise living standards.

He practised what he preached in the context of his own family and was immensely proud of the fact that all four of his children gained honours degrees, two at Edinburgh University and two at Glasgow.

His desire to impart knowledge was not restricted to academic subjects, though.

He played football into his 40s, and when he retired from that he took up judo, achieving a brown belt. He then proceeded to run classes for his teaching colleagues, and for Motherwell and Wishaw police.

He was also commandant of the Wishaw Branch of St Andrew's Ambulance Corps for many years, lecturing on and demonstrating first aid every Sunday.

His service in this sphere, including commitment beyond the call of duty in both the 1961 and 1971 Ibrox disasters, was recognised when he represented St Andrew's Ambulance at the Festival of Remembrance in the Royal Albert Hall.

Mr Tweedlie will be remembered by all who knew him and those he taught as a thoroughly decent man, committed to his family and his profession. Even at the end of his long life, he did not lose his ready smile or his impeccable manners.

Predeceased by his beloved wife Evelyn in 2006, he is survived by their four children, Eddie, Elizabeth, Robert and Evelyn.

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