Lieutenant Colonel Cyril le Gassick, part of the Bletchley Park code breaking effort and a man who helped plot the position of the Bismarck, and his wife Steve, have died three days apart.
Jean (Steve) le Gassick died suddenly at home near Inverurie on May 23 aged 91. Cyril le Gassick died on May 26 after a short illness aged 96. The couple had been married for 65 years.
In later life Colonel le Gassick was Grampian director of the National Trust for Scotland, a fisherman, golfer and artist. His name features on the Bletchley Park roll of honour.
Mrs le Gassick had been a member of the Auxiliary Territorial Service and the Women’s Royal Army Corps. In later life she was a champion bridge player and golfer.
Cyril Norman le Gassick was born in Maidstone, Kent. The le Gassick family had been Huguenots. His father had fought at Ypres and the Somme, was awarded the Croix de Guerre by the government of Belgium, and retired from regular service as a captain.
Cyril, known as Sandy because of the colour of his hair and the youngest of three boys, was educated at Maidstone Grammar School where he joined the army cadets.
He was not quite 15 when war broke out but was determined to do his bit. He used his exceptional height and claimed to be older in order to join the Home Guard.
Sandy was quickly promoted to corporal and one of his tasks was to arrest and guard enemy airmen from the possibility of rough justice at the hands of locals. He vividly recalled watching the Battle of Britain being fought over his head.
His aptitude for maths and familiarity with Morse Code led to his recruitment to an organisation that intercepted enemy signals and fed them to Bletchley Park, where he was based for a time.
Sandy also played a part in plotting the position of the German battleship Bismarck whose sinking gave the country a morale boost.
After the war, Sandy was commissioned into the regular army and was stationed in India during Partition.
From there he moved with the Royal Corps of Signals to Palestine where he was responsible for outlying listening stations on the Suez Canal.
It was during a posting to Germany in the 1950s that he met his future wife, Steve. Her first husband had recently died, so Sandy also became father to Wendy.
In the 1960s, the family moved to Singapore where he managed military communications when the state gained independence from Malaya. Sandy was awarded an MBE for his work.
After a spell at the MoD in Whitehall, he moved to NATO headquarters in Oslo where he developed a lifelong passion for fishing. His other sporting interests included rugby and he had played for the army and Darlington.
In 1967, Sandy and Steve bought Pinewood Cottage, Pitcaple, and after his retirement from the army in 1980, he set about teaching himself building and plumbing skills and refurbished the property.
Sandy became the National Trust for Scotland representative for Leith Hall, Kennethmont, and went on to oversee the Grampian area of the NTS.
He played a part in creating the Castle Tourist Route and worked on the development of the Malt Whisky Trail.
At his golf club, Huntly, he organised and ran the seniors tour for many years and at the age of 80 he was made a life member.
Steve le Gassick was born in Louth, Lincolnshire, the middle of three children.
Her father had been a trawlerman who had joined the Royal Navy and served on the Arctic Convoys and in Italy.
She joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service before becoming a staff driver with the Women’s Royal Army Corps where she met her first husband.
After his death, she married Sandy at Richmond, North Yorkshire, and their son Stuart was born in 1958 in West Ewell, Surrey.
As an army wife, Steve was hospitable, ran thrift shops, the wives’ club and volunteered with the WRVS in Edinburgh.
Steve was an accomplished bridge player and represented the north-east of Scotland in a competition in Morocco and played regularly at Insch until lockdown.
She was a knowledgeable gardener and voracious reader as well as a keen member of the senior ladies at Inverurie Golf Club.
Her daughter Wendy Greenfield said: “Whilst their deaths, so close together, have been an immense shock for family and friends, after 65 years of marriage, with their mutual respect, joint interests, and shared humour, perhaps it is not surprising that they took their leave of us within 72 hours of each other. The love they had for each other knew no earthly bounds.”
The family’s acknowledgement can be read here.