024: Lachlan Mackay "Lachie" Gatherer

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Person No: 024
Lachlan Mackay "Lachie" Gatherer

21 Jul 1914, Huntly, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Margaret "Peggy" Adams [025], 09 August 1947

Margaret Gatherer [035]
John Gatherer [113]

31 May 1985, Durban, South Africa

Lachlan Mackay Gatherer [018]
and Jessie Alexander [019]

Catherine Mary "Molly" Gatherer [024]
Jessie Alexander Gatherer [027]
James Alexander "Jim" Gatherer [020]
Isabella "Ella" Gatherer [026]
William Alexander "Bill" Gatherer [006]
Margery Gatherer [028]
Alexander "Sandy" Gatherer [030]

Profession: Clockmaker


Bill Gatherer [006]:
"He was my idol, pal, teacher, role-model; he taught me to swim - in the Bogie of all places, and in the Deveron at the edge of the golf-course; he taught me to play golf and tennis, gave me his bike to ride with my wee legs stuck through under the bar; and he egged me on to read and write ambitiously, to plough through his list of the 'best books' and talk about them as we walked in the Battle Hill or the Binn.

He left school at 14 and was apprenticed to Fred Watt the watchmaker, then he went off to be a precision instrument engineer with Barr and Stroud in Glasgow; and there he changed his life and the life of his parents and all his seven siblings. He loved language - poems, stories, jokes that depended on ambiguities and witticisms. One of his favourite hobbies was 'Bullets', a magazine competition that required you to provide a four-word aphorism to a given phrase; one Christmas he won the first prize with a Bullet: 'In adversity's blizzard - Robin, too, but singing!' - a brilliant pensée worthy of Montaigne; and it won him £1000 and £3 a week for life. Of course he shared with his family, giving us a new piano and money to go towards our education.

Thriftily, he prepared to indulge his wanderlust by going to college and qualifying himself as a radio officer; this led to an adventurous wartime in the merchant marine and among many other adventures The Amazing Meeting in Durban. Lachie, newly arrived from Bombay, dived into the public swimming pool and swam across and when he emerged from the water there was his brother Jim, in transit to Egypt with the Royal Engineers. As they chatted excitedly Jim said he'd been invited to dinner with a family that night but he couldn't do it as he was moving out that day; Lachie agreed to go instead and was much taken with the daughter - and that's why some years later he and his wife Peggy settled in Durban and founded the South African dynasty.