William (Billy) Duncan, chairman of the Moffat Royal British Legion Scotland Branch, has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the New Year’s Honours list for his contribution and commitment to promoting the Legion’s aims and ideals.
The British Empire Medal is awarded for by the Queen for meritorious civil or military service that is worthy of recognition. Billy has held his Chairman appointment for 15 years, being re-elected every 3 years, and during this time has been instrumental in bringing the Branch from a point where they only had one meeting a year with very small attendance to monthly meetings with up to 70 members. The Branch is now flourishing with a full programme of activities for its members, and with many members involved in its management. Under Billy’s leadership the Branch has raised many thousands of pounds for veteran’s charities and he tirelessly strives to promote the good work of the Legion at every opportunity.
Billy started in service with the Merchant Navy when he was 16 and received just six weeks of basic seamanship training before sailing to Bombay. Following this he served in the Royal Navy for seven years before joining the Territorial Army based in Hamilton’s Royal Army Service Core where he was a member of the Pipe Band and learned to play the bagpipes. Following his years in service Billy was a quality control inspector for Caterpillar tractors in Uddingston and worked there for 30 years until he retired.
Billy was surprised and delighted to receive the British Empire Medal. He said “I was humbled and honoured to be awarded the BEM as an ex –serviceman, not just for myself, but for the Branch as a whole and also for my family. I have received calls from as far away as Egypt and Cyprus and was presented with a lovely citation from the Branch as a congratulation for the award.”
The BEM is, in fact, not Billy’s only award. He also won a Citizen of the Year award in Mid Lanarkshire in 1983 for his organisation of a concert party to raise money for charity.