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The Tartan Army
Chapter 6


A LAWYER CALLED WILLIE McRAE
"A GHAISGICH NA FEINNE GLUAISIBH"
 ["heroes of the Fingalians advance"]

McGuigan had only once met Willie McRae when he canvassed him at his home on the heights behind Fa Kirk. He didn't know who Willie was and Willie never told McGuigan that he was not only a member of the S. N. P.  but was also their candidate for Ross and Cromarty in the highlands. However Gerry observed that Willie had taken note of his face and Gerry wondered about this. In July 1973, Gerry had gone to work in Inverness and set up residence at Channonery Point, right next to the lighthouse where the Brahan Seer, Coinneach Oir had been boiled to death in a tub of oil by the chief of the Clan MacKenzie several hundred years before, just across the Beauly Firth from Inverness. Apart from putting a curse on the MacKenzies, Coinneach Oir had also predicted the coming of the Caledonian Canal. 

Gerry got in with the Inverness members of the S. N. P.  He almost immediately became aware of an organization called The Army For The Provisional Government, [A. P. G. ].  He had vaguely heard of them before and he was now to become acutely conscious of their activities. He met an architect called Willie Bell who told him all about this organization of which Bell was a member. He told Gerry that their leader was an ex S. A. S. man called Anderson. They also had two Irishmen whom Willie Bell believed were members of the Special Branch of the Irish Republic! Another prominent member was a giant of a man who was very good on the fiddle. Willie Anderson had a revolver and,  said Bell, threatened to kill anyone who didn't come join him. "You must be prepared to die for Scotland", Anderson would say. They were sticking out like a sore thumb and Gerry warned Bell to have nothing to do with them. Bell replied that he couldn't leave as he was frightened that Anderson would kill him.  To Gerry it looked like a set-up. 

From then on Gerry gave the Inverness branch a wide berth, but he did get one piece of good news. The Inverness people thought that he was a "bit of a wet". Good, unlike the S. A. S. and the A. P. G. , Gerry was not a " sore thumb" anyway.  Don and Gerry had often wondered what an S. A. S. man could do if he was on his own,  when he didn't have all the technical back, esprit de corps, and not least the moral backing of the Government behind him. Events would show that Willie Anderson was in fact ex S. A. S and was also an explosives expert. It wasn't a set up and all Anderson did was to lead his army into ten year jail sentences for having possession of gelignite. This demolition expert did not know that you could get all the explosives and detonators that you needed from Woolworths and no need to go blundering about the country stealing gelignite. They never used it of course and the giant fiddler disappeared after giving evidence against them. The Irish also disappeared without sound or trace. However the A. P. G.  provided the Tartan Army with as dense a smoke screen as they could have hoped for. The police thought that the A. P. G. was in reality the Tartan Army. By this time the authorities had realized that the Border Clan and the Tartan Army were one and the same thing, if not the 100 Organization, and they would spend all their time concentrating on the A. P. G. which name they thought was just another of the many names being used by the Army to confuse them;  which they were.  But nevertheless Gerry got a funny feeling that he was under observation. Whilst on a visit to the South Gerry visited "X" who told him that he had had a visit from the police asking a lot of questions about him. What kind of a guy was he, what did "X" think about him etc. "X" told them that Gerry seemed to be an ordinary sort of character.  Probably the police were just doing a routine check on new members of the Inverness branch.  Obviously they were watching Bell and noted that Gerry had visited Bell at his house and suspected that Gerry was in the A. P. G.  Gerry's boss had also made some obvious remarks which let Gerry know that they had visited him as well. Everything seemed to be too obvious. Gery smelled danger. 

About this time there was an election campaign on and Gerry went up to a town called Dingwall to listen to the candidate Willie McRae. McRae was a well known Glasgow lawyer specialising in criminal cases. Although Gerry didn't know it at the time, Willie had once been a member of the British Secret Service in India and spoke fluent Urdu and Hindi. After the meeting he spoke about this and that with Willie and to his surprise perhaps found that Willie knew him from the time that he had canvassed him at his home in Fa Kirk. Willie was a very busy man and met lots of people in the course of his work and politics but he remembered McGuigan.  A bell rung in McGuigan's head but he didn't know why. He told Willie where he lived and invited him to call anytime he happened to be in the area and he did just that. One dark and stormy night the bell went and there was Willie McRae at the  door. They talked and the conversation turned to bombings. Willie said that whoever they were they would eventually get caught. Gerry agreed. What would happen after that ventured Willie; who would take up the cudgels. Everything was versed in the third person with various scenarios being drawn. Gerry said he reckoned that they were simply after home rule and seemed to be doing a good job of it. But supposing they got caught before finishing the job, went on Willie. Perhaps someone should set up a shadow tartan army which would wait in the shadows and strike when the time was ripe. He eventually left but before leaving he asked McGuigan if he had ever heard of the statue to the Duke of Sutherland in the small town of Golspie fifty miles North. Gerry had of course heard of this monstrous memorial to the gauleiter who had raped the whole of Sutherland and emptied its Glens. It is like having a statue of Adolf Hitler in Israel. John Diefenbaker the one time premier of Canada had a mother whose family was a victim of this man who got the lands after the 45 rebellion. Gerry would later hear that someone had blasted the monument. Was McRae head of the A. P. G. ? Unlikely thought Gerry, he was too intelligent for that scene.  If Gerry had known McRae's history he would have assumed that Willie McRae was a government agent. He wasn't of course and Willie would eventually be murdered by the British Secret Service in 1985 This story is dealt with in some detail by that other book "Britain's Secret War". Was McRae in league with Pitcaithly of Special Branch? Was the young man who suggested the name Tartan Army one of McRae's men? McRae as a leading light in the S. N. P.  would know of George Ronald's claim that McGuigan was behind it all and would not fail to notice, unlike the Fa Kirk police,  that the Sword and all the bombings were within less than one hour from McGuigan's home . Did Willie set up an army? Are they waiting to strike? Who knows?


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