Wednesday 13 December 2017

700 attend funeral of Glasgow helicopter pilot

The coffin of Captain David Traill.
The coffin of Captain David Traill.

Around 700 mourners gathered at the funeral of the pilot who died when the helicopter he was flying crashed into the Clutha pub, Glasgow, in late November.

His funeral is the first to be held for the nine people who died in the incident.


Moving tributes were made at the service in Glasgow University where Captain David Traill’s friends, family members and former colleagues from the RAF and the emergency services commemorated his life.


During the service at Bute Hall led by Revered Stuart McQuarrie he was described as a “the greatest friend a man could hope for”.


Police officers, air ambulance pilots and paramedics formed a guard of honour as Captain Traill's coffin arrived at the university. His cortege was led by police outriders and a friend who rode a Harley Davidson motorcycle.


Captain Traill's father, Iain, sobbed as he read David Harkins’ "You Can Shed Tears" to the congregation, the poem that he also recited at the funeral of his younger son, Angus, three years ago.


The chaplain said he was certain that the skills Captain Traill's had garnered after more than two decades of service as a pilot had prevented more people from dying on the ground in the incident.


His fiancé, whom he met on a blind date almost five years ago, said in a tribute read by the minister that: “Dave was the best thing that ever happened to me,” adding he "seemed too perfect" and how she “cannot even begin to imagine life without him”.


She described how as she got to know him she learned about his passions: cycling, Scotland's west coast, fine dining, kayaking, Take That, and, "best of all," karaoke.


Originally from Falkirk, the 51-year-old was a former RAF pilot and instructor who served in both Gulf wars.


Since 2008 he worked for Bond Air Services and as a civilian pilot for the Glasgow-based Scottish Air Ambulance and Police Scotland.


Andy Rooney, who knew Captain Traill from his days in the RAF, also paid tribute to his friend.


"David, Dave, Davey, Swampy - he was different things to different people and he touched lives," he said.


"But there was a consistency to him that few could match and many could envy. The calm he offered, the warmth with which he was received.


“He was the greatest friend a man could hope for. A steady, loyal brother in arms.”


Pub owner Alan Crossan also attended the funeral as well as Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Stephen House, Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill.


Prayers were also said at the service for the eight victims of the crash.


Police Constables Kirsty Nelis, 36, and Tony Collins, 43, were on board the helicopter. The six who died inside the pub were Robert Jenkins, 61, Mark O'Prey, 44, Colin Gibson, 33, John McGarrigle, 57, Gary Arthur, 48, and Samuel McGhee, 56.

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