Super ‘sleuthing’ traces relatives of Scotland cap

Super ‘sleuthing’ traces relatives of Scotland cap

Scottish Rugby is being congratulated for some super “sleuthing” which enabled an Inverness family to receive a Scotland rugby cap at the weekend.

Scrum-half Lt James Michael Blair, known as Michael, educated at Edinburgh Academy and Oxford University, is one of 75 players to be awarded retrospective caps by the Scottish Rugby Custodian Board.

Ten of those retrospective caps, awarded to players who represented Scotland in Services and Victory internationals both during and immediately after the Second World War, had not yet been presented, as the search is on to find relatives.

But after a trawl through the archives and the internet, including those of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and support from David Jordan, one of Scottish Rugby’s stadium tour guides and his wife, Fay, we were able to track down Blair’s relatives.

Pictured: Scotland cap number 1150, Lt James Michael Blair

Step forward Susan Little, an English teacher at Millburn Academy in Inverness.

She explained: “I was delighted to hear about the cap for Michael. It has come as a huge surprise and, hopefully, it will now pique the interest of my children and grandchildren in the family tree.

“Michael was my mother’s cousin. They were both born in India, Michael in 1923, and came to live with their grandmother in Edinburgh around 1930.“

Sadly, Michael died in Normandy in 1944 on active service with the Reconnaissance Corps, R.A.C. 15th (Scottish) Regiment, but he was fondly remembered as a livewire scrum-half and became Scotland cap number 1150 as a result of his debut on 27 February 1943 in a Services International against England at Inverleith in Edinburgh, which England won 29-6.

Susan said: “The date of the match at Inverleith is the birthday of one of my grandsons, Ruaraidh. Perhaps he should be the ultimate recipient of the cap although he’s only five, but his dad is keen to get him involved in rugby.”

The capping ceremony took place at Highland Rugby Club at Canal Park in Inverness yesterday, where Susan was joined by her family, Lydia Bernardi, Susanna Bernardi, Sorcha Reddin, Dave Chiffers, Finlay Sutherland, Ruaraidh Chiffers (5) and Susie Chiffers (2).

The cap was presented on Scottish Rugby’s behalf by Colin Baillie, former Highland full-back, past member of Scottish Rugby’s coaching panel and Honorary President of the Highland club.

Susan added: “Thanks for all your sleuthing. This is something we’re all immensely proud of.”

Scottish Rugby still has to trace relatives of the following players who played in either Services or Victory internationals against England between 1942 and 1945: NW Ramsay; JB McNeil; DA Roberts; Bob Cowe; AE Murray; RM McKenzie; JB Nicholls; Charlie Wilhelm; and E Melling.

If you have any information, please email [email protected].

Spread the word

Newsletter Sign-up

Sign-up for our newsletter today to receive the latest updates, content and releases from Scottish Rugby.


Principal Partners