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Arthur Neil SOUTAR

Arthur Neil SOUTAR

Male 1918 - 1997  (79 years)

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  • Name Arthur Neil SOUTAR 
    Born 3 Sep 1918  Northampton, NTH Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • 27 Sandringham Road
    Gender Male 
    Died 16 Dec 1997  Northampton, NTH Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried 23 Dec 1997  Whiston, NTH Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Whiston Parish Church
    Person ID I905  Our Family History
    Last Modified 10 Aug 2011 

    Father Charles George Gordon SOUTAR,   b. 11 Feb 1885, Northampton, NTH Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 6 Jun 1960, Northampton, NTH Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 75 years) 
    Mother Edith Lilian LOADER,   b. 30 Nov 1882, Portsea, HAM Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 7 Nov 1959, Northampton, NTH Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 76 years) 
    Married 24 Jul 1912  Northampton, NTH Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • St Matthew
    Family ID F329  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Margaret DIMMOCK,   b. 17 Feb 1922, Isleworth, LND Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 24 Jul 2002, Northampton, NTH Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 80 years) 
    Married 19 Oct 1946  Caterham, SRY Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • St John the Evangelist
    • From an unknown newspaper clipping dated Friday October 25th, 1946:

      Councillors Were Guests At Her Wedding

      Local Councillors and Council officials were among the guests who attended the wedding of Miss Margaret Dimmock, daughter of Mr. P. E. Dimmock, Clerk to Caterham Council, and Mrs. Dimmock, of Harestone Hill, Caterham, and Mr. Arthur Neil Soutar, son of Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Soutar, of Weston Favell, Northampton, at St. John’s Church, Caterham, on Saturday.

      Wearing a gown of ivory cloque with train and headdress of orange blossom holding her Honiton lace veil, the bride was given away by her father. She was attended by a matron of honour, Mrs. Jean Whitney, a four-years-old bridesmaid, Rosemary Hundy and a four-years-old page, Master David Lewis.
      Mr. Brian Sanders was best man and groomsmen were Mr. Rodney Dimmock, the bride’s brother, and Mr. Peter Blair. The Rev. G. M. Longsdon assisted by the Rev. L. M. Wheeler, officiated at the ceremony, which was fully choral.

      The matron of honour wore a gown of royal blue silk crepe with a floral headdress and the bridesmaid wore a white silk dress with a blue sash. She carried a Victorian posy. The page wore royal blue velvet trousers and a white silk shirt.
      Among those who attended the wedding and the reception at Soper Hall, Caterham, were Coun. W. G. Silcock, chairman of Caterham Council, Councillors Miss E. M. S. Marshall, Dr. H. Trafford, and T. G. Randolph and Lady Dorothy Randolph. Council officials who attended included Mr. L. V. Gordon, Surveyor, and Mrs. Gordon. Mr. W. F. Moore, Treasurer, and Mrs. Moore; Mr. John J. Carden, Chief Sanitary Inspector, and Mrs. Carden; and Mr. E. G. Taylor, Rating and Valuation Officer, and Mrs. Taylor.
      The bridegroom served in the Army as a major for seven years. He was stationed in India, the Middle East and Italy and was mentioned in despatches. He is now engaged in the leather trade at Northampton. His bride was educated at Eothen School, Caterham, and the Royal Academy of Music where she gained her L.R.A.M. and has since taught music in various parts of the country.
      The couple are spending their honeymoon in Switzerland. The bride travelled in a turquoise coloured tweed suit with a matching hat, a brown fur cape and brown accessories.
     1. Carol (Private) SOUTAR
     2. Joy (Private) SOUTAR
     3. Marion (Private) SOUTAR
     4. Helen (Private) SOUTAR
    Soutar/Dimmock wedding, 1946
    Soutar/Dimmock wedding, 1946
    Standing, L to R: Percy Edgar DIMMOCK, Brian George SANDERS, Arthur Neil SOUTAR (groom), Margaret DIMMOCK (bride), Jean WHITNEY (née LEVINSON), Charles George Gordon SOUTAR, Rodney Thomas DIMMOCK.
    Seated, L to R: Edith Lilian SOUTAR (née LOADER), David RANDALL, Rosemary HUNDY, Thyra Janet Philpot DIMMOCK (née SMELLIE).
    Last Modified 21 Jun 2016 
    Family ID F331  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 3 Sep 1918 - Northampton, NTH Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 19 Oct 1946 - Caterham, SRY Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 16 Dec 1997 - Northampton, NTH Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - 23 Dec 1997 - Whiston, NTH Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Photos
    Soutar Arthur Neil ca 1960
    Soutar Arthur Neil ca 1960
    From the effects of the late Margaret Soutar née Dimmock.
    Arthur Neil Soutar, 1996
    Arthur Neil Soutar, 1996

  • Notes 
    • Neil Soutar was born when his family were living at 27 Sandringham Road, Northampton, but early in the 1920’s they moved to 39 Park Avenue North. Northampton Golf Club was at the end of the road, and Neil remembers spending a lot of time there as a child. He went to school at Waynefleet House in St Matthews Parade. By 1929 the family had moved to Ridgeway; Neil was (in his own words) a thin weedy young chap, suffering from frequent bilious attacks and the family doctor advised a spell of sea air, so he was sent off to Hill Brow School in Eastbourne in September 1929. He really blossomed in the climate both of the town and the school with its 55 pupils, and with his natural sporting talent had become, by the time he left in 1932, captain of cricket and hockey, vice-captain of football, junior and senior athletics champion, and was one of only three boys in the history of the school to win the honours cup presented for outstanding achievement in sport and work. He was pretty full of himself at 13. His parents used to make the journey down to Eastbourne at half term, but otherwise that was the only personal contact during the 12-week term. It was at Hill Brow that Neil learned his carpentry under the excellent tutelage of John Matthews (brother of Austin who played cricket for Northamptonshire), and made a number of pieces of furniture, some of which survive today.

      On arrival at Uppingham (1930/31), Neil soon found the difference from being a large fish in a small pool to being a very small fish in a very large pool. His progress at Uppingham was not spectacular and he was destined to leave before his 17th birthday to go into the business. He obtained his School Certificate with credits in French, German, Latin and maths, and attained his colours in the school 2nd XI hockey team. It was later always a disappointment that he did not have a final year at Uppingham and go on to university, but in those days Father’s wishes were paramount, and he started earning his living at £ 1,-- per week at Odell Leather Company in September 1935.

      In 1939 it was obvious that there was going to be another war so rather than be conscripted he joined the Territorial Army in July, and he was mobilized on 27th August. War broke out on Neil’s 21st birthday, 3rd September 1939. A party had been arranged at Overstone to celebrate the occasion, but this had to be cancelled. Neil's seven years in the army is chronicled in his book “Round Half the World in Eighty Months”.

      In April 1940, Neil found himself at Sandhurst for military training. In August 1941 he was posted to Doune in Scotland, then to Cheshire and then to Enniskillen in Ireland, where he was made Intelligence Officer. In January 1942 he was sent to Caterham and was billetted with other officers in a house in Caterham Valley Road.

      Margaret Dimmock was at the time working in the Food Office of Caterham Urban District Council where her father was clerk to the council. She was due to take up her first teaching post at Cedar House School in St. Neot's in the Summer term 1942.

      The Valley Hotel in the centre of Caterham was a popular local drinking house for the local soldiery and periodically they held a dance on Saturday night. One such night in March both Neil and Margaret went (separately) to the dance, and during a Ladies Excuse-me, Margaret took over from Neil's partner and they completed the dance together. They spent the rest of the evening together and a strong rapport was established. Margaret had come with another fellow so declined Neil's invitation to take her home at the end of the evening, but they exchanged names and addresses — Neil's an Army Post Office number — and did not see each other again until August 1945, when Neil came home from Italy for a month's leave at the conclusion of the War. They did however correspond regularly during these years, and became engaged at the County Hotel, Malvern, where Margaret was at that time teaching at Ellerslie School.

      In 1942 Neil was Intelligence Officer and Deputy Adjutant of the 2nd Battalion the Northamptonshire Regiment. The Battalion was to mobilise for overseas service. As they were issued with tropical kit, topees and lead-lined boxes, it was obvious to everyone that the posting would be to the Middle or Far East, but the location was a closely guarded secret until sealed orders were allowed to be opened after leaving Freetown in Sierra Leone at the start of April, and on 20th March 1943 he embarked at Liverpool for Madagascar, where he arrived on 5th May, via Freetown and Durban. Here Neil had his first taste of combat, and due to casualties, he took over as Adjutant.

      In June 1942 he was sent to Ranchi in Bengal, reaching there by ship via Bombay. The next month saw him travel by sea to Qum in Persia via Basra (Iraq), Baghdad and Khanaqin. It was when he was based in Qum that the Persians refused to release cash to pay the troops, and Neil was involved in a fantastic plan to rob the National Bank in Teheran and forcibly take the cash. All was ready for this audacious expedition, but the Persians decided to pay with a few hours only to spare, and the money was released.

      In February 1943 Neil was sent on a 1,400 mile overland journey in 7 days from Qum through Arak, Khorramshahr, Baghdad, across the Syrian desert to Palestine and down to the Bitter Lakes in Egypt where he stayed at a camp called Kabrit, two miles from El Shatt. From there he went to Mount Hermon, 15 miles from Damascus, and spent the next three months planning the invasion of Sicily..

      At the end of May 1943 Neil travelled back through Palestine, the Gulf of Suez to Port Said, where he took a ship to Sicily. They landed near Syracuse under heavy aerial assault from German Messerschmidts, but in Syracuse there was no opposition,; the enemy had evacuated the town. There was close combat however on the road from Syracuse to Augusta, and 85 on Neil’s side were killed. Augusta was taken from the German 2 Parachute Division and the Hermann Goering Division, and Neil stayed there for eight days.

      He subsequently moved to Misterbianco, where he felt unbelievably ill and was diagnosed as having malaria. This kept him in hospital for ten days.

      On 1st September 1943 he travelled to Taormina and made the crossing by boat to San Stephano on the toe of the Italian mainland. He travelled north through Nicastro, Sala Consilio, Potenza, reaching Foggia and Troia in October. In November he was in Castelpetroso and was ordered to return to Cairo, by air from Bari. From Cairo he travelled by train through Palestine to Sarafand, but before the end of the year he was ordered back to Cairo, then to Tunis by air, overland to Algiers, and took a ship to Naples, arriving in February 1944.

      After the war, Neil, who had played hockey for Northamptonshire since 1935, helped restart the county side, and was captain of the XI until he retired from hockey in 1958. He had played for the Midlands from 1949 to 1955 and had trials for England in 1950 and 1951 but never achieved a national cap. On retiring from hockey he took up golf again and played for Northamptonshire from 1968 to 1970 when he had a heart attack and had to give up the game for 6 months.

      In 1966 he was appointed a Magistrate to the Northampton Borough Bench where he served for 22 years until compulsory retirement in 1988. For the last four years he was Deputy Chairman of the 146 magistrates on the Northampton bench.

      Neil and Margaret Soutar celebrated their golden wedding in 1997. Nicholas Michael recalls a memorable part of Neil’s speech: “There are some of you who may think I am henpecked; but I can assure you that there is life in the old cock yet...”

      Neil died suddenly on 16th December 1997. He had had lunch with a friend, and returned home where he was doing a crossword puzzle. His wife Margaret who was in the kitchen heard a sound, and found him collapsed. She called the emergency services who arrived five minutes later, but he was pronounced dead on arrival in hospital. An autopsy was performed as Neil had been given a clean bill of health two days before, in connection with their planned trip to Geneva where they were to spend Christmas with Nick and Marion Michael. The cause of death was surprisingly not a heart attack, but “heart-related illness.” Neil was not only a good father-in-law to Nicholas Michael, but a delightful friend and companion. The two of them had enjoyed several holidays together, and Neil will be sadly missed.

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