The Belgian S.A.S. Paratroopers
The Belgian S.A.S. Veteran Paratroopers were instumental in the support of the Loudoun Kirk restoration project on hearing about the plans to rescue the kirk from it’s ruinous condition, made the first donation from their funds.
They had been stationed at Loudoun Castle in 1944 under the leadership of their training officer, Lt. Col. Eddie Blondeel and were billeted in the area which in recent years, served as a car park when Loudoun Estate became a theme park.
There are still traces of their training manoeuvres to be seen within the estate. Rifle practice left many traces on the stonework of the already ruined castle and access is still available to the area within the castle walls which served in rifle practice. In the drive towards the castle the practice trenches can be seen on the verge on the left of the driveway.
After the fire in 1941 which destroyed the castle, the family continued to live in the dower house in the estate grounds.
In November 1998, a presentation of a plaque from the Belgian S.A.S. Veteran paratroopers was made during a ceremony at Loudoun Kirk. It was followed by lunch at the nearby community hall in Galston. Amongst the attendees at the service and lunch were the late Lady Edith McLaren, Rev. Fraser McLuskey, Major John Randal, (British S.A.S.) And several other representatives of the S.A.S.
Sadly Lt. Co. Eddie Blondeel was ill at the time of the presentation but a later visit was made in 1997 when a small service was arranged at his request.
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