Colonel Sir Thomas Macpherson of Biallid CBE MC TD DL

07th November 2014

London Scottish are today saddened to learn of the passing of Sir Thomas Macpherson, a former London Scot and one of the most decorated soldiers of World War Two.

He passed away on Thursday afternoon, November 6, and leaves wife Jean and his three children Angus, Ishbel and Duncan. He was 94.

Sir Thomas was inducted into the London Scottish Hall of Fame back in February of this year.

He was a regular player at fly-half for London Scottish FC from 1946 to 1955 when he hung up his boots.

He was skipper of the 2nd XV but played mostly for the 1st XV.

London Scottish FC President, Rod Lynch said: “We have been advised that Sir Thomas Macpherson passed away in his sleep yesterday at the age of 94.

“Sir Tommy was a legendary figure at London Scottish and his passing will be mourned by many.

“He was a very well known figure and immensely respected by all who knew him.

“Our condolences go out to Jean and the family”

Further information regarding funeral arrangements will be posted on the website, once the details and the families wishes are known.

The youngest of seven children of Sir Thomas Stewart Macpherson CIE LLD and Helen, the daughter of the Reverend Archibald Borland Cameron, Sir Thomas Macpherson was born on 4th October 1920.

His second eldest brother was GPS Macpherson who, in 1925 captained Scotland in their first ever Five Nations Grand Slam win.

His eldest and 4th brothers were in the medical professions, and his 3rd brother, Niall, was a politician who became the first Lord Drumalbyn.

With his family home in the Highlands in Newtonmore, Sir Tommy was educated at Edinburgh Academy, Cargilfield and Fettes, Edinburgh where he joined the Officers' Training Corps.

In 1939 he was top Open Scholar to Oxford, and after the war returned to Trinity obtaining a 1st in PPE.

He represented Oxford at athletics, rugby and hockey and was an international student athlete at the Universiade, the precursor of the World Student Games.

His army life has been well documented and some of it appears in his book Behind Enemy Lines – the Rommel raid in North Africa, his capture, and subsequent escapes from POW camps in Italy and Austria, and finally from Stalag XX-A in Poland to neutral Sweden.

On his return to Britain he joined the Jedburgh Unit, a team of hand-picked operatives ordered by Churchill to set Europe ablaze with sabotage and guerrilla warfare.

Parachuted into occupied France wearing a kilt, he was mistaken for his fellow officer, Michel de Bourbon de Parma's wife!

On another occasion he was ordered to delay the 2nd SS Panzer Division, Das Reich, and with only 27 men, succeeded in delaying the Division for 6 days.

So successful did he become over the course of the next two months, that the Nazis placed a 300,000 franc bounty in his head, calling him “The Kilted Killer, a bandit masquerading as a Scottish officer”.

In Italy in 1944 he led the Italian partisans in several major offensives, and for a time commanded Trieste, preventing it being occupied and annexed by Tito.

He enjoyed using his languages then and also later with Eurochambres.

During his university vacations he worked for the Royal Household.

Sir Tommy was a regular player at fly-half for London Scottish FC from 1946 to 1955 when he hung up his boots.

In 1953 he married Jean Butler Wilson and had three children (Angus, Ishbel & Duncan).

Sir Tommy was grandfather to four grandchildren.

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