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March 1, 1926 – January 22, 2018
A teenager who enlisted as a signalman and fought in one of the last naval battles of the Second World War and subsequently became a Church of Scotland minister has passed away.
Reverend Bill Bristow was 18 when he joined the Royal Navy’s Motor Torpedo Boat (MTB) 497, based at Lowestoft, and saw action in the English Channel
Following his wartime service Rev Bristow studied divinity, graduating in 1951 to become assistant minister at St Marchar’s Cathedral Aberdeen and subsequently minister at Haugh of Urr Kirkcudbrightshire.
In 1954, the musical minister gifted on piano, organ, bagpipes and violin with an accomplished tenor voice, rejoined the military as an army chaplain, Padre Bristow.
Until 1970 he was attached to the Scots guards, Highland Light Infantry (HLI) and Queens Own Cameron Highlanders.
In 1973 he returned to college in Aberdeen and graduated as an English teacher in special education.
In 1960 his late brother Robert Bristow and grandmother Isabella Greenway moved from Coatbridge to Machrihanish, after which the Bill’s family became familiar visitors at their holiday home in Southend area.
This Kintyre connection led to Rev Bristow taking a teaching post at the Campbeltown’s ‘Meadows School’ in 1978. He became the head and retired in 1991.
During his Campbeltown career Rev Bristow helped set up the local riding for the disabled (RDA) and was chairman of Auchinlee care home committee for many years.
He became hospital chaplain at Campbeltown hospital and subsequently accepted long-term locum positions on the islands of Gigha and Islay.
Rev Bristow was finally forced to retire at age 83 due to advancing Parkinson’s disease.
He is survived by his wife Margaret and daughters Wendy, Mairi and grandsons David, Alistair, stepson Craig and great grandchildren Emily and Charlie.
Rev Bristow’s funeral was at Southend Parish church on Monday January 29.
The service was conducted by Reverend Steve Fulcher with a representative from the army’s chaplaincy department, Padre Stewart Young.
It was very well attended by many friends and familiar faces including piper John McGeachy and the Royal British Legion at the Keil cemetery grave side.
The family wish to thank all for their very kind donations to Parkinson’s UK.
More than £500 was collected at the church with further donations from family members.