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VALE – Bruce McRae, late of Wahroonga and later at the RSL Anzac Village, Narrabeen, passed away peacefully on Thursday 12th April, 2018, aged 94. Bruce was the son of Donald Richard Crutwell McRae and Elizabeth, nee Steele. Bruce’s father initially went into partnership with his brother Francis Lewin Duncan McRae, forming McRae Bros in Walcha. Frances later sold his interest to Don, the former then setting up McRaes Pty Ltd in Uralla. Bruce was born in Epping, Sydney on 13th September 1923. Bruce went to the Walcha Public School and later went off to High School in Armidale, staying at St. Johns Hostel. There were about 60 other students there. Bruce recalled his cousin Gordon McRae had left the year before in 1936 to board at TAS (The Armidale School). After two years in Armidale Bruce moved to Sydney and went to Scots College as he wanted to learn the bagpipes. The bagpipes became his passion, playing in a number of different pipe bands, taking Bruce to other countries and attending hundreds of Highland Gathering, especially in New South Wales and was a past president of the NSW Pipe Band Association. It was a passion he passed onto his sons Doug and Peter. (Doug is a current member of the Clan.)
Bruce was a weather watcher and signals operator in the Second World War with the RAAF, complete with his 303, on Groote Eylandt with some other diggers. With not much to do except report on the weather and any aircraft movements, especially any of the Japanese Airforce, they fished most days and any supplies required were ordered from the mainland in a coded Morse message. At one time Bruce was told to order some more fresh meat which he duly did, sending it in the customary coded message. He received a terse message back, “Why are you sending in code now the war is over.” Bruce and his mates hadn’t been told the war had been over for a week or more.
Bruce had already learnt Morse Code and had practiced just in case he joined the Telegraph Department somewhere. Bruce lived in Lithgow and worked in a hardware store, was a commercial traveller, specialising in hardware, mainly along the south coast of NSW and was procurement officer for a number of businesses in Sydney.
Bruce McRae was a former Vice President and an active member since 1988 until recent years due to walking problems.
Bruce’s funeral will be held at 12 noon on Friday 20th April in the Magnolia Chapel, Macquarie Park Crematorium, Cnr Delhi Road and Plessey Road, North Ryde. Refreshments afterwards at the Crematorium and then at a venue to be determined around 2pm.