In Memory of Robert Meiklejohn
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We would like to thank former pupils, colleagues and all friends of the late Robbie Meiklejohn for all their kind attention whilst he was in hospital. The messages on the website were very much appreciated by Robbie and by us. We would also like to thank everyone for their attendance and support at the Crematorium yesterday.

Pat & Alastair Meiklejohn 24th October 2002

Robert Meiklejohn was born in Troon 26 February 1917 Educated at Ayr Academy through to 6th year then at the Scottish P E Training College, Jordanhill. On completion of their course everyone in his year volunteered for service in World War II. He went to the PT Corps at Gosport then served in Iceland and Ireland. From here he was sent to the Army parachute depot as an instructor before going to Arnhem. At Arnhem he was captured by the German Army and was held as a P.O.W., in a camp in Germany, for 8 months, before being liberated, at the end of hostilities. On demob in 1946 he went back to teaching and taught at Newton Park, Dalmellington and Ballantrae before moving to Carrick Academy in 1948. During winters he stayed at Ballochbroe cottage and enjoyed a drink in Kirkmichael.

He married his wife Pat in 1969 and they had a son Alistair who is a software developer. In 1972 he went to Greenwood Academy and stayed there until he retired in 1980. Robert Meiklejohn had health problems in years gone past (including hip replacements) and was recently in hospital recovering from having both legs amputated.  Robert Meiklejohn died Saturday morning the 19th of October 2002.

Robert Meiklejohn Carrick Academy Reunion 1995

Robert Meiklejohn Carrick 1961


The information above was gathered by Iain Cannon, teacher at Carrick Academy. Special thanks to Kenny Crawford for initiating this tribute. Many former Carrick Academy pupils are sure to have great memories of Mr. Meiklejohn. We invite any of those to contribute them here. Contact us. Read these Tributes to Mr. Meiklejohn by:

Bobby Paterson Sheila Wallace
Jim Williamson George Davidson John McCulloch Adam Hempkin
Bob Little

Roger Mullin

Kenny Crawford

David Kiltie

While still in hospital at Lyndsay Ward at the Biggart Hospital, Prestwick, Robert Meiklejohn had been given a printout of this page and had the opportunity to learn of these tributes. In response he has said... "I want to thank everyone who has been in touch and delighted that people remember me. The happiest days of my career were at Carrick Academy which had an atmosphere found at no other school."

Mr Meiklejohn I always called him a mans man with a heart of gold. He would never ask you to do something he could not do himself and always commanded respect. You could never get one over on him he would just laugh, he knew every trick in the book. I played for Carrick under 15 s and we won the gold cup and league championship that year, and also reached the final of the Ayrshire cup a great feat at that time and probably not to be repeated. That night at Dam Park in Ayr is my biggest disappointment in football we gave everything and more for Mr. Meiklejohn but lost 3-2 after extra time. As we all sat crying our eyes out in the dressing room he came bounding in chest puffed out and said what a team I finally have a great team you were fantastic played them of the park. Listen to the crowd they are cheering you not them. That team with names like Ian Hearton, Ian Fleming, Gordon Cran, John Spiers and myself Bobby Paterson went on to win many trophies but I am sure we would swap them all to give Mr. Meiklejohn that Ayrshire cup.
Bobby Paterson

I was deeply saddened to read about Mr Meiklejohn's death in October. I was a student in the Lyndsay Ward at Biggart from February to June 2002, when I had the great pleasure of meeting Mr. Meikejohn who was an inspiration to me. Having been, in my younger days a keen athletic, he and I had a lot in common and he knew my P.E teacher, Mr. Ashton from Auchinleck Academy. When Mr. Meiklejohn told me he was a teacher, I looked up  telling him I would be sure to find some gossip on there about him. That was where I was directed to the Maybole site.  I printed out the pages and took them in to work with me to read them over to Mr Meiklejohn and on doing so it brought a tear to both our eyes.  I was greatly inspired by his courage, determination and his true gentleman manner. It was a privilege and an honour to have met such a lovely genuine man.  My thoughts are with his family.  Having worked within the care sector for seven years Mr. Meiklejohn is one patient I shall always have fond memories of.

Sheila Wallace

Mr Meiklejohn was the PE teacher at Carrick Academy during my time there in the 50's, or to be more precise, the PT teacher, as it was called Physical Training in those days. I seem to remember we nicknamed it PURE TORTURE. Being well in to sport he soon became one of my favourite teachers. He had a wonderful wit and could diffuse any situation with the greatest of ease.

I once forgot my PT kit, and being keen on sport it was a true lapse of memory. I say once as after that day I would run back home for my kit rather than turn up without it. I do not remember ever missing PT after that day. The reason for this was quite simple. On that particular day six of us forgot their kit so he lined us up in the gymnasium and gave us a right royal dressing down in front of everyone. I seem to remember that he said something to me about my trousers looking as though they had been taken off the night before, thrown in a corner and being put back on the next morning. He did not single any of us out for particular criticism, we were all chastised equally.

That had a seriously positive affect on me though, in fact as I grew up I wouldn't even go up the High Street without being smartly dressed. And to this day I can still press a mean crease in any trouser. A few years in the Army Cadets and Royal Air Force may well have honed the process to perfection, and even now, oh how I hate to see tram lines.

On one occasion he entered the dressing room to find two of my classmates fighting, well it was probably more like powder puffs at 20 paces really, he immediately told them to stop, and you did not disobey Mr Meiklejohn. He then told them to stay where they were while he went away and came back with two pair of boxing gloves. They were told to put the gloves on, and that if they were going to fight they would do it properly. At his signal they resumed their "fight" but it only last a few seconds before they, and the rest of us, dissolved in to fits of laughter. The culprits then shook hands and were again great mates. No further action being required.

He was renown for his motorcycle and sidecar. Us kids would look on in amazement as he rode up the Kirkoswald Road until he reached the school gates, he then performed an immediate right turn going through the gates with only inches to spare on either side, without once ever hitting the sides.

On another occasion I was playing for the Senior football side (under 18's) away to Irvine Royal Academy, we were hammered 10-1 that day. We scored when about 6-0 or 7-0 down, and there was Mr Meiklejohn on the touchline throwing his helmet up in the air in mock celebration.

Looking back he must have given up an awful lot of his spare time for us kids, much of it probably taken for granted until we look back later in life. I have never once heard a wrong word said about him. "Wee Meike" (Meeky) was indeed a tremendous character, a wonderful teacher, and I will be forever grateful of the bit part he played in my life.

Jim Williamson

I first heard the name Bob Meiklejohn in the boy’s shower in the Academy Gymnasium.  The rumour was going around that a ‘wee hard man’ was coming to the Physical Education Staff.  It was not many days later that I had my first look and listen to Bob Meiklejohn.  In the few weeks after he came I was deeply impressed by his fairness.  He was keen to encourage physical activities and started introducing new games and sporting fixtures.  He put together the first football team for the Academy, up until that time Rugby was the big thing.   

On of my abiding memories of Bob was when he offered to take me to Stranraer to play for the football team.  I really could not afford the bus fare.  He agreed to pick me up outside the school gates early on Saturday morning.  He came to a roaring halt on a huge Norton 500cc motorcycle.  I had never been on a motorcycle before and the thrill and speed of that trip is edged in my memory.  Of course I was frozen stiff by the time we arrived so the first half of the game I spent thawing out.  From the sidelines he gave me some stick.  He shouted things like, ‘you are playing like a big lassie.’  If you don’t improve you will need to walk home.’  After the game he gave me that cheeky smile and said, not bad for a big lassie.

When I left the Academy I immigrated to Canada.  I needed to retrieve some papers from the Academy records to furthering my education.  It was Bob who went out of his way to secure them for me.  I will always be grateful for his consideration and kindness in helping me even although I was far away. 

The last time I saw him was a few years ago.  Another of his pupils Peter Thomson, invited me to play golf at Royal Troon.  He also invited Bob to join my brother Billy and him for lunch.  We had a great time reminiscing about the good old days at the Academy. He was still the same Bob with that devilish sense of humour.  He was particularly pleased that his former charges were making their way in the world.  He rightly took  personal satisfaction that some of us had turned out as well as he had hoped. 

It is the measure of the man that he is genuinely thrilled by the success of others.  That is the great quality I remember about Bob.  When we parted he gave us each a big hug and thanked us for spending time with him. God bless you Bob.  And as you often said in your correspondence to me, ‘yours aye, Bob!’ Geordie Davidson  E-mail

In 1957 after school hours I broke my arm in the playing field of Carrick Academy. I have never forgotten the care and attention that Robert Meiklejohn gave me above and beyond the call of duty. He took me by car to Ayr County Hospital and waited with me for hours while I was being examined, X-rayed and plastered. Afterwards he took me home by car and delivered me safely to my parents. Thanks old boy. John L. McCulloch.

I was heartened to see the features on wee Meikie as we called him, and not a bit surprised to see that he is as resolute as ever. It didn't matter to him that you weren't a budding Herb Elliot as long as you made the effort in the period. I was such an individual, not much interested in football, running or basketball. My first love was and still is fishing. However, my best pal at Carrick was Johnny Ferguson from Straiton, who was a particularly good middle distance runner who ran for Ayr Seaforth club along with Roger Mullin if my memory serves me correctly. They decided to have a mixed distance relay race which I think was against the Boys Brigade team at the school sports field (I think Louis Jardine was in that team).
Johnny talked me into running the sprint leg, and we won easily. The next PE period wee Meikie gave me some funny looks but never said a word. I could imagine him saying "fishing indeed ", what a waste, but he never did. I knew he respected me for what I was, not what I could be.
Adam Hempkin,  London

Seeing the photos of "Wee Meikie" in 1961 and 1962 brought back many happy memories. The Wee Man was a strict but very fair teacher and you knew exactly where you were with him. There was little indiscipline in his classes and he stood for no nonsense. Unlike many in the profession today he gave up a great deal of his free time to accompany his beloved football teams on Saturday mornings to give encouragement from the sidelines. I well remember circuit training in one of his classes when a rather portly fisherman's son from Dunure received a whack across the backside for being too slow down a rope. The poor unfortunate then took an almighty leap at a vaulting horse. His shorts came down as he traversed the obstacle to reveal a well-skelped backside-no athletic supports in those days. The whole class convulsed with laughter and the Wee Man and his victim joined in. In the words of Ali G " Respec', my man!". You deserve every bit of it.  Bob Little

I have just logged on and read the piece on Mr Meiklejohn. How I wish, like so many others no doubt, I could be with him to thank him for all he did for me and hundreds like me. But he knows how much we all thought of him. In 1993 when by brother and sister were over from Canada for my mother's funeral, we went to see him at home in Troon. Apparently many former pupils visited him over the years, and remembered how he had touched their lives in so many ways. In 1993 he was as enthusiastic as ever.

I remember how I always felt he was happy for you if you were successful at anything. I still fondly remember winning the senior sports championship three years in a row at Carrick, although to be honest it was no great feat when you were running against the likes of Iain Cannon!! The "wee man" always had that happy twinkle in his eye. I still have a small badly focused old black and white photograph of me crossing the winning line with Mr Meiklejohn in the background timing me. He gave me great confidence, he was never condescending, and he genuinely seemed to like everyone....I remember once big Bill Gaffney was about to be belted for some reason, and being big he held out his arm and rested his hand on the "wee man's" head!! He couldn't stop himself laughing (nor, unfortunately for Bill, could he stop himself from giving him the belt when he recovered!!).

His diet was not that of the great athlete. For that my mother and father were very grateful as he was a regular lunchtime visitor at Mullin the bakers, for a hot pie.

Recently he was in my thoughts for another reason. I am currently an adviser to the Scottish Parliament's inquiry into lifelong learning. A couple of week's ago the interim report was published, and I have been doing the rounds speaking about it. One of the suggested aims of a national strategy includes citizenship issues and providing people with the opportunity to participate in the arts, sports and such like. A very well paid cynic took me to task, saying what on earth was this about; lifelong learning should only be about training people for work. My immediate repost was that the teacher who helped me most, was not any of my professors at university, but a PE teacher from Maybole. He made me want to achieve. He motivated people. He cared. He was Mr Meiklejohn, and countless hundreds if not thousands of us, owe him a great debt.  Roger Mullin

If ever a man deserved the  recognition of the local community, it is this man. He epitomises courage,  strength and endeavour. He will forever be remembered by his ex-pupils at  Carrick Academy. He was hard, but fair, and communicated with us all so  well.   My best memory of Mr. Meiklejohn has to be the time I had been selected to  play in the Scottish Schools Football Team Trials, in Ayr. I was in a maths  class when he came in, " Excuse me, but could Crawford come with me ". I  followed him out of the class and into the playground. " Quick, In you get,  we're late " , he says.  " In there ? " , I replied. He just looked at me. I was to travel to Ayr  in the open sidecar of his motorbike. We were fairly racing along, engine  at full throttle. I was completely open to the elements, eyes streaming,  hands blue. He could see what was happening and pulled his machine into a  lay-by. He gave me his goggles and leather jacket to wear.[ Whacky Races,  right ?] However, by the time we got to Ayr I was frozen solid, Mr.  Meiklejohn had to lift me out of the sidecar. I walked onto the football  park like John Wayne. ' The hell ya will ref '. It was half-time in the  match before I started to thaw out ! After the match he came over to see  me. " Do you want a lift back to Maybole Crawford ? " I had been injured  during the game, I hobbled up to him and said, " No thanks, I'll walk. "  We both burst out laughing. The return journey to Maybole was carried out  at a more sedate speed. As I was limping up the path to my house he  shouted to me, I turned round and he winked and gave me a thumbs up. He was  pleased with me, I will always remember that.   Above all my personal memories of Mr. Meiklejohn, is the abiding knowledge  that he was the favourite teacher of every boy at Carrick Academy,  throughout his teaching time there. Kenny Crawford

I know I have fond memories of him as a teacher of PT, physical training which seems nowadays to be PE physical education, and for years it was my ambition to beat him at table tennis. Pupils used to play at lunch times in the dressing room and of course when I started I was only 12 and had to learn against far better players with him as the ultimate. It would be at least 4 years before I managed to beat him. We all had great respect for him. We knew he had been a paratrooper but not much more than that, I seem to remember talk of him being a "Red Beret". David Kiltie

Robert Meiklejohn 1962

Robert Meiklejohn
Carrick 1962