WBro Julian MacRae-Clifton
Julian MacRae-Clifton, or Mac as he was affectionately known, was well known in the Torrevieja area being a prominent member of the Royal British Legion and the Royal Naval Association as well as other local associations. He was a modest man with a very colourful past. He was awarded the Queens’s Commendation for Brave Conduct in 1969 after defusing a mine caught in a dredger in the River Humber. An extract from the citation for this award reads ‘Chief Petty Officer Macrae-Clifton showed great courage, unusual initiative, cool judgement and exemplary devotion to duty.’ Mac was also awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) on 22 May 1972 following seven years’ service in the Scotland & Northern Ireland Clearance Diving Team (SNICDT) based at Rosyth.
He was Initiated into Freemasonry in March 1966 by the Thane of Fife Lodge No781, Cowdenbeath under the Banner of the Grand Lodge of Scotland. After moving to Spain he joined Caledonia Lodge in January 1999 and was Installed as Master in October 2003. He was also a member of several other Lodges including Mark and Ram, and Installed Masters and received Provincial Honours in 2007 with the rank of Past Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies.
Mac fought a long battle with illness with his customary courage and the support of his wife Ann but was sadly called to the Grand Lodge above on 10th November 2009.
The following article was published in the World Naval Ships Forums on 11th November 2009 and gives an account of two incredible acts of bravery
Ex-CPO(CD1) Julian ‘Mac’ Macrae-Clifton passed away at 0230 this morning. (10th November 2009). By way of a tribute, I can do no better than quote the citation accompanying his award of the Queen’s Commendation for Brave Conduct (QCB) on 1 July 1969:
“Awarded for great courage, unusual initiative, cool judgement and exemplary devotion to duty.
Chief Petty Officer Macrae-Clifton served with the Scotland and Northern Ireland Command Explosive Team for four years, during which time he performed many hazardous tasks in an exemplary fashion. On two occasions, he displayed particular courage, coolness and skill.
On 11th October, 1968, he was required to dispose of a mine which had been sucked into the shoe of the Dutch suction dredger WILHELM STEAD, while operating in the entrance of the river Humber. Weather conditions were poor, with a gale blowing from the South East. He started work on board the dredger shortly before midnight and found that the mine was slightly crushed, and held fast in the suction pipe. He unhesitatingly decided to remove the primer-detonator assembly before attempting to extract the mine. Having taken the precautions of ensuring that all other personnel were as far away as possible, and that the dredger had boats in the water, he proceeded to render the mine safe. This involved a long process of carefully cleaning rust and corrosion from the primer-detonator tube, and was finally finished about two hours later.
Chief Petty Officer Macrae-Clifton’s decision to render the mine safe before moving it involved great personal risks while minimising the the danger to others, and exemplified his great courage and high sense of duty.
Again, on 3rd December, 1968, he was required to dispose of a mine which had been landed on the Fish Market quay at Peterhead. The primers and detonator were still fitted, the cast filling was intact but becoming more unstable as the mine dried out. The prime-carrier had been damaged, and he decided that it was too dangerous to try and render the mine safe where it was. With assistance from RAF Buchan, he guarded the mine overnight, keeping it damp with rags. In the morning he accompanied the mine to a disused airfield three miles away and exploded it; the subsequent crater was about thirty feet across and fifteen feet deep. He had been with the mine for over eighteen hours, a period of increasing danger as the weapon dried out.
In both these incidents, Chief Petty Officer Macrae-Clifton showed great courage, unusual initiative, cool judgement and exemplary devotion to duty.
In recognition of this service, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second has been graciously pleased to award Her Commendation for Brave Conduct to Chief Petty Officer Macrae-Clifton.”
Mac was also awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) on 22 May 1972 following seven years’ service in SNICDT.
Taken from the Royal Naval Clearance Divers Web Site
Non illigitamus carborundum!