Scottish War Blinded’s ‘Two Ronnies’ journey to Dechmont to reminisce about their youth in the village

Posted: 30/11/2018 | Scottish War Blinded

 

The Linburn Centre’s very own ‘Two Ronnies’ took a special trip to Dechmont, West Lothian on Tuesday, November 20, after discovering they had both called the tiny village home in their youth. 

 

Ronnie Anderson spent a significant part of his childhood in Dechmont, which was home to Bangour Village Hospital - a former asylum which became the Edinburgh War Hospital when the Second World War broke out.

 Ronnie Anderson read about fellow Scottish War Blinded member Ronnie Duthie’s experiences of rounding up soldiers around the hospital in the last Salute and says he was amazed to hear of another member called Ronnie who had lived in the same tiny village as him as a boy.

Ronnie Anderson (left) and Ronnie Duthie (right) in Dechmont together

Ronnie made some enquiries at the Linburn Centre, and staff arranged for the pair to meet and go exploring around the old Bangour Village Hospital, with Ronnie Anderson journeying to Dechmont for the first time in 25 years to meet up with Ronnie Duthie who still lives in the village.

Ronnie Anderson said: “I lived in Dechmont from the age of about six until I was 14. My time living in there made me what I am. I was amazed at all these soldiers. I was very involved with it.

“Ronnie is a couple of years older than me, I didn't know him back then. Then I read about his experiences in Dechmont and the next day in the centre I mentioned it.

“I got a phone call the next day from the centre to say Ronnie been in touch, and that he was excited to meet me.

“Kelly took me along, and when we got there we had a bit of a blether with his wife. Then we went out on a walk - he lives the other end of the village. I didn't know him and he didn't know me, but he knew the different houses I pointed out and he knew who had lived there.

“We took a walk around the old Bangour Hospital. It was wet and cold but we wanted to see the buildings. We were very disappointed to see the way the place is now, with some of the buildings in a dilapidated state. They were beautiful buildings there. That had been my playground. But the place is still full of memories.” 

Ronnie Anderson was over the moon to meet Ronnie Duthie, and said it was very special to make a connection with someone who had also experienced life in the village.

He added: “It’s special just to know a boy who lived there too. We're going to keep in touch and perhaps we'll discover more memories we have in common.

“The staff at Linburn have arranged for us both to sit together at the Christmas party, and I’ve said to Ronnie and his wife that I would like to bring my family out to visit them in the new year. We are hoping to get the wives together, and perhaps they can find out some more information about shared memories we have too!”