David C. Macnab

21st June 1937 - 3rd January 2004


Like many of his generation whose childhood was shaped by the Second World War, David Crockatt Macnab, held a lifelong belief in the importance of service. For him, this manifested itself in the work he did for the Boys’ Brigade.

He joined the 13th Edinburgh Company, Corstorphine, as a Life Boy in 1944.  After completing his National Service, he took command of the 13th Life Boys in 1959, and continued in charge of the re-named Junior Section until 1977. At the same time he was a serving Company Section officer, and is well-remembered as a drill officer in the boom years of Company membership in the Sixties and Seventies.  David retained an active connection with the Old Parish Company until his death.

Immaculately turned out in dark navy suit and officer’s glengarry, sharp and strict with his commands, "DC", as he was affectionately known, seemed an embodiment of William Smith’s founding principles of "drill, discipline and self-respect". But, at the side of the hall, and on company camps, he was kind and approachable.

In church on the Sunday before he died David gave the readings. He was particular pleased as the appointed reading ended with the words from St Luke 2:52…"And Jesus grew in wisdom, and in stature, and in favour with God and man". These were the foundations of the Junior Section Achievements David taught to the Boys and were also the building blocks of all that David hoped to achieve in his work with the Boys and in the Battalion.

His service to the Boys’ Brigade in Edinburgh was recognised in 1978 when he was made Battalion Secretary.  As well as serving on numerous committees he held the posts of Christian Faith Convenor and Training Convenor, before becoming Battalion Vice-President, and on the formation of the larger Edinburgh, Leith & District Battalion became Secretary until his retirement from this post in September 2003. Meanwhile accumulating over 40 years uninterrupted membership on the Battalion Executive. He represented the Battalion on many occasions, including royal visits and international camps.

An only child, whose parents had moved to the fringes of Corstorphine for his father’s office job on the railways, he was in the habit of walking with his father to school every morning. One day, when he was 13, his lessons were interrupted with the news that his father was dead David had left him only an hour before.

David remained with his mother in the family home until her death. He followed his father into employment with the railways before moving on to lifelong employment with the civil service.

He wore his Boys’ Brigade Gold Long Service badge with pride, he honoured the past of his own name through his time as secretary to the Clan Association of the Macnabs. He became president during 1977, the year of the International Gathering of the Clans, and oversaw the most successful ever bringing together of the Macnab clan.

He had a real interest in people, and many were amazed at his memory of their stories, and even after many years he would still ask after people. A well-known figure in Corstorphine, he was ever present in the choir on a Sunday at the Old Parish Church where he had held the post of Session Clerk (jointly with the late Dr Jack Cormack) for many years, and more recently an extremely active and invaluable Fabric Convenor.

Many have been privileged to know David. One can only begin to imagine the number of lives he has influenced over the years. But if we are to have any lasting memorial to his memory then let it be in our duty to see that the things he saw dear, The Boys’ Brigade, and his church, Corstorphine Old Parish continues to grow and flourish.  David undertook many commitments but given a task you could always depend on him, he gave them 100%, it could be said he took this from the Brigade motto "Sure & Stedfast".

If there ever was a fitting epitaph for David let it be from Luke 2:52 "He grew in wisdom, and in stature, and in favour with God and man".


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