Captain Cecil Leyland Riding MC was a local man who was parachuted behind enemy lines into Nazi-occupied France. His story is told in a set of display panels and browse books currently on loan from Dumfries Museum to Georgetown Library. These will be on display to customers during library opening times.


These can be found at www.dumgal.gov.uk/lia
Cecil talked little of his war time experiences during his life. After his death a wicker picnic hamper was found in the attic of his home in Georgetown, Dumfries. Inside the hamper was a wealth of documents and memorabilia which tell the story of Cecil’s remarkable experiences during the Second World War. The hamper and its contents have been donated to Dumfries Museum by Cecil’s family and are being exhibited for the first time.
Cecil was born in 1913 and was brought up on the Castlemilk Estate in the parish of St Mungo, near Lockerbie where his father was a gamekeeper. When Cecil left school in 1929 he began work as a trainee Factor, helping to oversee the estate on behalf of the 3rd Baronet, John William Jardine, head of the Jardine Matheson Company. In 1936 Cecil accepted the post of Assistant Factor on the Garscube Estate near Glasgow. Here he met and later married Glaswegian Janie Murray, who worked as a Secretary in the estate office. He also completed his Land Agent’s qualifications.
With the outbreak of the Second World War Garscube House was requisitioned by the Ministry of Works for war use. In 1940 Cecil joined the Coldstream Guards, and a year later he was commissioned into the Highland Light Infantry.
In February 1944 he was recruited into the Special Air Service, better known as the SAS. Eight days after D-Day Cecil was parachuted into France, south of Paris, where he remained on special duty behind enemy lines for the next three months as part of Operation Gain. He then took part in the advance into Germany across the Rhine Frontier in March and April 1945 before finally participating in Operation Doomsday as part of the Liberation of Norway. Cecil was awarded five medals for his services in the war including the Military Cross for “gallantry during active operations against the enemy”.
When war was over Cecil went to work as a Factor on the Candacraig Estate, near Strathdon in Aberdeenshire. In 1956 he joined the Bombay Burmah Trading Company working in the timber and forestry industry in Borneo and Burma for many years.
In 1967 he returned to Scotland to work as a land valuation officer with Falkirk District Council. In 1971 Cecil moved to Dumfries to work in a similar position until he retired in 1978. A keen golfer, he was a member of Dumfries and County Golf Club from 1978 until his death in 1998.

Councillor Tom McAughtrie, Chair of the Council’s Community and Customer Services Committee said;
“This is another example of the diverse and wonderful exhibitions our museums offers up for visitors. Cecil’s story is absolutely fascinating and I would encourage visitors and locals alike to get along to Georgetown Library and have a look at the collection.”

The Who Dares Wins exhibition can be viewed at Georgetown Library until 31 March 2015.

Image of Cecil attached

Georgetown Library is open:

Monday 1.00pm to 7.00pm
Tuesday 9.00am to 5.00pm
Wednesday 9.00am to 4.00pm
Thursday 12.00noon to 5.00pm
Friday 9.00am to 4.00pm
Saturday 10.00am to 1.00pm

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