ROBERT BLAIR MAYNE
Two photographs of The funeral cortege as it left his beloved home of Mount Pleasant
With the ending of the WW2 Blair Mayne returned to the family home of Mountpleasant in Newtownards, County Down. His numerous battles and exploits had resulted in some serious spinal injuries. The damage had most likely occurred during the constant strain of his many dangerous actions. Also his low level parachute drops behind enemy lines had surely placed severe physical pressure onto his large frame. The years of hard won victories and hardship were now beginning to exact a heavy price. Sadly that meant that he could not resume his successful sporting career on the rugby field. Despite the increasing pain he was soon looking for a more demanding role and so he decided to become a member of an expedition that was being sent to the Antarctic known as the Falkland Islands Dependency Survey. But before long his injuries worsened and so once again he was forced to return home to Northern Ireland where he received some much needed medical treatment to his spine. His next post was very different and saw him become the secretary to The Law Society of Ireland. He continued with his many public duties and when possible attended SAS Regimental reunions, where he was greeted with great affection by his old comrades. Many stated that "When he walked into the room a huge light went on". Blair Mayne also remained a firm supporter of all his former sporting clubs. To his great relief his duties with the law society meant that he travelled extensively throughout Ireland, Scotland and mainland U.K. Sadly, early on a December morning in 1955 and at the young age of 40 he met his death in a car accident when his Riley car glanced of an unlighted parked lorry before colliding with an electricity pole on The Scrabo Road in Newtownards. The seemingly indestructible Col. Paddy died instantly. He was just a few hundred yards from the safety of his home.
Shortly after the bronze statue, pictured above, was erected in Newtownards town square a decision was made and The Blair Mayne Association was established. The main aims would be to remember his outstanding exploits, deeds and courage. It was also paramount to ensure that his great name would never be forgotten, or misused. The Association has been very successful since its inception. It has gone from strength to strength and can now proudly boast of having a worldwide membership. Over the years since its formation it has hosted exhibitions, and given many lectures. The Association has also been responsible for publishing two books entitled, Glimpses of old Newtownards, these books contained many old and unseen photographs of the town. Both of those books proved to be extremely popular and sold in great quantities. The money raised from the book sales, along with many more generous public donations, paid for a stone cairn to be erected at The Burn Road in Darvel, Ayrshire in conjunction with The Darvel Heritage Improvement Group. A small part of Newtownards will always be there as pieces of Scrabo stone from the gardens of Mountpleasant were built into the cairn The remaining funds continue to be used to provide either extra funding, assistance or equipment to a wide range of individuals, charities and organisations. Those helped to date include the St. John's Ambulance branch in Newtownards, Scout troops, local units of the Army Cadet Force and the Air cadets at Regent House Grammer School. The Special Olympics which were held in Dublin were also given a very generous donation. The Association was heavily involved in the making of two documentary programmes which are constantly shown on the History channel and are now assisting with three further projects. All of this is done in the name of Lt. Col. Robert Blair Mayne. And to date the Association is very proud to have been responsible for raising and distributing somewhere in the region of £40.000
|Presenting a prize at his old school of Regent House in Newtownards||
Standing at the opposite corner to the statue is a monument erected to the commerate The Ards Tourist Trophy 1928 - 1936.
The Association was very proud to have made the first donation to this fitting tribute.
The stone Cairn proudly standing on The Burn Road in Darvel, Ayrshire. The Regiment is still very fondly remembered by the local residents
Click below to download a compilation of research taken from newspapers, books and interviews (in word format)
by Stewart McClean
THE "REAL" WARRIOR SPORTING,
CIVILIAN AND MILITARY
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Stewart McClean & Derek Harkness
The Blair Mayne Association