Veterans remember Gov. Russell

Cayman Islands Veterans Association secretary Graham Walker lays a wreath.

Members of the Cayman Islands Veterans Association gathered Sunday morning to remember former Governor Thomas Russell. Mr. Russell served with the British Infantry during World War II and founded the local Veterans Association in 1978 during his time as Cayman’s governor.

The late governor passed away at age 96 in his native Scotland on July 4.

Members of the Veterans Association stood at attention in the Sunday morning sun at Elmslie Church on the waterfront to mark their fellow veteran’s passing.

Association Vice President Andrew McLaughlin, who presided over the ceremony, said, “It’s our way of saying goodbye to one of our fallen comrades.”

The Veterans Association members, dressed in uniform, lined up facing the stone cross that sits outside the church. They laid a wreath of red poppies at the foot of the cross and marked a moment of silence. A young man played taps, bringing the memorial to an end.

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Graham Walker, secretary for the Cayman Islands Veterans Association, said he plans to travel to Scotland for Mr. Russell’s funeral on Aug. 4. He said the governor in Cayman will host a remembrance in George Town, in front of the glass house at 8 a.m. that morning, when it will be 2 p.m. in Scotland and the funeral there will begin.

Mr. Russell joined the Black Watch in 1939 and later joined the parachute regiment. He fought in Algeria and Sicily. He was involved in the Allied landing in Taranto, Italy, where he was shot in the leg by a German machine gunner during heavy street fighting and taken prisoner.

The future Cayman Islands governor spent the remainder of the war in a German POW camp in Poland.

German doctors fitted a metal plate to repair Mr. Russell’s shattered thigh bone, which remains in his leg to this day.

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