This page is dedicated to the memory of:
Gordon Petrie McIvor Findlay
2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment
Gordon ‘Doc’ Findlay was born on 14th May 1950 in Biggleswade, Beds. He was one of seven children to Gwen and Rod Findlay. He and his brothers and sisters, Ian, Robert, Fran, Barry, Donna and Caren spent a great part of their life travelling, as Rod was in the RAF, finally settling in Grimsby, Lincs.
‘Doc’ must have missed the military lifestyle as he decided to join the junior Paras in 1965 as a fresh-faced 15-year-old. He arrived at Depot Para for basic training on 14th September 1965 and was invited back to Grimsby in July 1967 to act as a bearer for the dedication of the standard of the Grimsby Branch of the Parachute Regiment Association. He finally become a fully-fledged ‘grown-up’ Para in November 1967 and quickly grew the regimental moustache.
Whilst stationed in Aldershot between November 1967 and May 1977, ‘Doc’ travelled to Singapore, Hong Kong, Malta, Denmark, Germany and Malaya on various exercises and courses, did some emergency tours in NI, and went on tour in the USA with the gymnastics team.
He met Janet Bradburn, WRAC – RCT attached, in Aldershot in 1969, and after a turbulent on-off relationship, they tied the knot at Newham Register Office, London, on 4th July 1970. They went on to have 2 daughters, Pauline, born on 11th May 1971, and Denise, born on 27th November 1974. Unfortunately, Denise died of cot death on Boxing Day that year.
‘Doc’ finally escaped from Aldershot in May 1977, when he was posted to Berlin for 2 years. A PSI post at 15 PARA (V) in Edinburgh followed. During his posting in Edinburgh, ‘Doc’ was very upset to learn that his Coy had been blown up at Warren Point, NI. He felt guilty that he wasn’t there with them.
He returned to Aldershot in September 1981, to become the CQMS, A Coy, 2 PARA. He went to Denmark and Kenya on exercise and was preparing to go to Belize when news of the Argentine invasion came. He was very excited to be ‘going South’, after all, isn’t this what he’d been trained to do all his Army career? He didn’t leave with his Regt, sailing instead with the SG from Hull on 26th April 1982.
The rest of the story is quite sketchy. We know from speaking to Brook and Eileen at Darwin, Falkland Islands, that he was first in/last out of Darwin House, the 2 PARA FOB for the attack on Goose Green. After surviving Goose Green, he was killed at Wireless Ridge, during the battle for Stanley. We heard that he was hit by 50mm shrapnel and 7.62mm MG fire and was casevac’d just before midnight on 13th June 1982. He died of his wounds, early on 14th June 1982. We’ve been told that he was killed helping medical officers and stretcher bearers, but we’ve also been told that he was killed resupplying ammo. Doesn’t really matter, as it’s not going to bring him back knowing.
‘Doc’ was buried in Aldershot with full military honours in December 1982. He is laid to rest in the Falklands plot at Aldershot Military Cemetery.
His widow settled in the Midlands, but has since moved to Wales, buying a property off one of ‘Doc’s’ old colleagues, ‘Jock’ Bolland. She has never remarried, but is in a long-term relationship with David Cuthbert, whom she met in 1983. His daughter, Pauline, joined up in 1992 and is now a Staff Sergeant.
A memorial bench for CSgt Doc Findlay, was placed at Pier Gardens, Alexandra Road, Cleethorpes on Thursday 8th October 2020.
The location is opposite Ross Castle and by the Memorial Gate. The reaction to the bench has been brilliant but above all the family are well pleased with it. Doc was a local Grimsby lad and only fitting to get this memorial dedicated to him .
There is also a new road in New Waltham, Grimsby named after him “Findlay Crescent”
By Ron Webster