James Dumbreck M.B.E., was born 28th November
1917, and was the last surviving Dumbreck still living at Linlithgow.
Jimmy died 12th May 2004 at the Bield Care Nursing Home at the West Port
James Dumbreck MBE proudly holding the letter patent signed by King George VI and Queen Mary dated 14th day of August 1947.
Photo taken at Linlithgow Sunday 1st Sept 2002 - James Dumbreck in his 85th year.
James became a District
Commissioner in Assam India from 1940 until 1950, during which time India was granted
independence (1947) from Britain. On his journey out to India in 1940, his ship was
torpedoed and he had to return to Britain to sail on a different ship. His brother
William was in the Control Commission in Germany, serving as an interpreter at
the Nuremberg trials after the Second World War.
James was honoured with an MBE in 1947 for his
services in establishing independence for India.
The funeral service took
place at St. Michaels Parish Church on the 18th May 2004 and then Jimmy was laid to rest with his family at the West Port Cemetery,
The eulogy read by the
Rev. Joanne Evans-Boiten
18th May 2004
In his long life Jimmy Dumbreck saw much of the world, he held responsible positions in the civil service and lived for many years a kind of life most of us only know from TV or books. Yet he chose to return to the Linlithgow of his youth, a place where he was brought up and where friends and family members continued to live.
Though he had wandered the earth, Linlithgow was his home.
Jimmy was born on the 28th of November 1917 the second youngest of 9 children. He grew up in a simple but great family, where hard working was part of life. There wasn't much money to go around, yet when it turned out that Jimmy was so clever he should continue to learn , the family rallied round and particularly Jimmy's older sister Mary was very helpful and supported him in what ever way she could.
But Jimmy did not only go to Linlithgow Academy, he became dux of the school. Something that surprised nobody, certainly not his French teacher, Mrs. Meek , who was
adamant that Jimmy was the best brain she had ever taught. But though Jimmy was definitely an academic, he loved cricket and played in the school team, he also became a playing member at West Lothian County Cricket Club. And apparently he was not just enthusiastic, he was even quite good.
But it was his knowledge of languages he wanted to develop and after school he studied French and German at Edinburgh University. Again he was at the top of his year and not only obtained a double first but also became Gold medallist.
Not surprisingly he was offered a place at Baliol College in Oxford where he prepared for the Indian Civil Service.
In 1940 he was ready for his first move abroad. He set off for India after an emotional farewell where his sister Mary managed to put a Bible in his pocket.
Shortly after leaving though he got torpedoed off the coast of Ireland. He lost everything he had on that ill-fated journey, except the Bible his sister had given to him, it was still in his pocket when he was rescued! And this Bible was to accompany him for the rest of his life
Jimmy did make it to India where he started as assistant district commissioner and later became District commissioner in Assam.
This was an interesting time to be in India and diplomacy would have been an important skill. Jimmy must have done an extremely good job particularly during the Syllet referendum, as His Majesty awarded him an MBE in 1947, around the time of India's independence.
Honours didn't finish there, for Jimmy was chosen to represent Britain at the handing over of Gandhi's ashes.
In 1949 though, Jimmy left India and continued to work abroad; he lived in Egypt, Algeria and Ghana to name but a few places.
In all those years Jimmy only managed to get back to Scotland once on leave in 1945. It can't have been easy to be far away from home at crucial family times. Maybe that is why in the end Jimmy returned home in the mid-sixties.
Using his linguistic skills once again, he became a school teacher and taught first at Heriot's in Edinburgh, then, closer to home, at Bathgate Academy, and finally at Linlithgow Academy.
It doesn't come as a surprise that such a brilliant man as Jimmy was a great reader. He seemed to prefer reference and history books though, in which he liked to mark all the points of interest and his own comments.
His political interest obviously never left him either, as he kept up will all the newspapers.
Jimmy stayed in touch with many of his friends both from his University years and his time abroad. He just loved writing and "keeping in touch".
His love for cricket never left him either, and he continued to support his local team till recently, For there were always friends willing to take him to the matches.
He also enjoyed attending special events at the cricket club, of which he had become something close to an honorary member.
Recently Jimmy picked up a new interest though: the family tree. For Jimmy was proud of his family, proud of those who went before him and proud of those who came after.
He would keep up to date with birthdays of nephew's, nieces, great nephews and great
nieces. And always asked about them. He liked to be told everything.
Three years ago Jimmy was taken ill and after a time at St John's Hospital had to leave the family home on the
High Street to move to Linlithgow nursing home. From there he recently moved to the Bield, which brought him back home to the area he had lived in for so many years.
Today we remember Jimmy as a brilliant man, friendly and polite to all. A man you would often see leaning out of his
High Street home window to speak to someone or other who happened to walk past. A man who was always interested in what happened around him and who, when you left would only request one thing of you: to "keep in touch".
Rev. Joanne Evans-Boiten
St. Michael's Parish Church,