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 Scotland.

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 process.

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 Chamber Orchestra.

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.

As part of the 71st anniversary of D-Day, Tom was selected, together with 11 other veterans, to have their portraits painted as part of a tribute commissioned by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. This collection of paintings went on display at Buckingham Palace in 2015 as The Last of the Tide.

In June 2016, he was awarded the MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. Through the efforts of a number of good friends, Tom was able to receive the award at home, together with an extract of the citation shortly before his death.

Throughout his life, Tom was dedicated to his family and friends. He took great pleasure in spending time with his grandchildren and was kind and generous to a fault. He never lost sight of the commitment he made to ensure that those who gave the ultimate sacrifice were not forgotten.

He is survived by his wife, son, daughter-in-law, three grandchildren and sister.