by Jan, his wife
CHARLIE Mc LAREN
I welcome you here today and thank you for joining us in our final
farewell to Charlie. A husband, father, grandfather, brother,
son-in-law, brother-in-law, uncle, Godfather and friend.
I particularly wish to thank Fr Adrian Meaney msc, who came from
Sydney to be with us. He was our priest & friend for the 9 years we
were in Alice Sprlngs. I also wish to thank Fr John Egan for being
A big welcome to Charlie's family who has travelled from Scotland
and to the many others who have travelled great distances to share
this day. Welcome.
Thanks go to Jill for producing the Mass booklet and organising the
day's proceedings and to Jim for conducting the Poppy Ceremony and
organising the piper. Thank you my brother and sister.
Charlie was a man of few words and the readings today will conform
to this characteristic of his.
Charles McLaren, the second born son of Charles
McLaren and Ann Eliza White was born in Dundee, Scotland, at the
height of the Second World War. He grew up as the eldest of 7 girls
and 5; the firstborn died a few weeks after birth.
: Charlie's family, via Eric Creaney)
Charlie, an altar boy from an early age, would serve Mass every
morning at St Joseph's, a church he held very dear to his heart.
Miss Flynn taught him for many years and there must have been
clashes of personality as one day Miss Flynn stated "You think you
are smart, don't you Charlie?" to which he replied in all sincerity
and honestly, "Yes Miss Flynn."
It was Miss Flynn who returned money to his mother after he had
helped himself to the coal money. He wanted to buy black babies for
The missionary spirit was very strong in him and at an early age he
joined the White Fathers, or Missionaries of Africa. He spent time
in their seminaries in Scotland, England and Northern Ireland but
after 7 years decided his life was to take a different direction.
He joined the Royal Air Force in June 1960, spending the first 12
months studying Mandarin and the following 2 years in Hong Kong. The
next 14 months he was at home in Dundee for a short time and then at
Bletchley Park in England, the home of the Enigma machine ?a very
suitable location for him as he too was an enigma.
In August 1964 he joined the Australian Army in London. He spent the
first few months at the Army Intelligence Centre in Sydney before
attending the School of Languages at Point Cook.
Soon after arriving in Victoria we met. Our first outing was to see a
movie and during the news clip the theatre was solemn and in silence
as we watched Sir Winston Churchill's body, on a barge, floating
majestically down the Thames. It was accompanied by the very
stirring music 'The Battle Hymn of the Republic' but we said in
unison "John Brown's body lies a-molding in the grave". This was not
good as we both laughed. Much tutting and shushing was aimed in our
direction, which of course did not help in regaining our
We spent 12 months meeting every Saturday before he went back to
Hong Kong. I joined him 12 months later where we were married. In
1970 he joined the Commonwealth Public Service where he continued
the work, which we were never permitted to discuss!!
Our life together has been very fulfilling, exciting and interesting,
producing Lucia, Andrew, Gerard and Gabrielle. Apart from Hong Kong,
we have lived in Melbourne, Alice Springs, Canberra, Cairns and now
the Sunshine Coast. We were fortunate enough to travel extensively
and Charlie utilised his skill of French, German and Italian. His
French accent was sensational; Oh Jock I will miss hearing your
He was intelligent, he was modest, he was generous, he was honest, and
he was sincere. He loved his religion, he loved his Lotto, he loved
his newspapers, he loved crosswords, he loved Scotland and he loved
his children and grand children and he was fond of a beer.
He was the love of my life. I will miss you my wee
Scotsman; my life will never be the same.
Messages from Charlie's friends
left on the website's Message
I had phone calls from Pat Rice, Manus and Chris McGuire telling me
that Charlie McLaren had died in Australia a couple of weeks ago. A
Memorial Mass is to be held in St Joseph's, Dundee on Saturday at
11am. Pat Shanahan hopes to be home from Africa to concelebrate.
Won't be able to manage unfortunately but I'm sure the family would
welcome any Pelicans able to attend.
A lot of people who knew Charlie Maclaren will be sad to
hear of his death. He was liked by all who knew him at St Columba's
and The Priory. What a nice guy he was! Thanks, Danny, for letting
us know. Hopefully, some of his friends will be able to attend the
Memorial Service on Saturday.
So sad to hear about Charlie Mac after having searched for him for
years. I shall be at the Memorial along with Patrick Shanahan and
Pat Rice and the family would greatly appreciate attendance by any
other Pelicans. I have two single beds available in Gartcosh on
Friday night if anyone needs accommodation and a lift to Dundee on
Saturday morning and one bed on Saturday night (Patrick will be
overnighting with me Saturday). I shall get Patrick to offer a Mass
on behalf of all of us who knew Charlie and gained so much from his
I am saddened to hear of Charlie McLaren's death. One of the best
gone too soon. We started together at St Columba's in September
1953. He was probably the toughest guy, pound for pound, I ever met.
We practised putting the shot and throwing the discus together at
the Priory and dug out a few tree stumps together on the Burma Road.
That was until Paul Moody put an end to it because of broken pick
Uncompromising central defender, very hard worker and a good friend.
Charlie disappeared off my map in 1961 and the word was that he
joined the RAF and was trained as a Mandarin language expert Was
this so? If anybody has any info about Charlie, I'm sure many would
enjoy hearing his story.
Best regards to all. MIKE.
I was so sorry to hear of Charlie's death.We were great friends and
visited each other's homes during the holidays. He came to visit me
when he joined the RAF and then we lost touch I tried to contact him
through the RAF, but to no avail. He was a lovely guy and I have
many fond memories of our time with the WFs. I am so sorry that I
can't make it to the memorial service.
John "Skelf" Larkins
I got an e-mail from Eric Creaney to wish me a happy birthday but also
included the news of my dear friend Charlie McLaren. He was my
"Headers partner" ?one tough guy. He visited my home during the
holidays and we went to Parkhead to see a Celtic game together. I
remember being right beside him on the football pitch when I heard
that big "Crack" as he broke his leg. Such a pity that we were never
able to hook up again in life. We all used to meet up in London on
the way back to school. The Glasgow boys arrived at Euston on the
overnight train and we walked to Kings Cross to meet the Edinburgh
boys. We spent a day in London, usually at the Baths in Westminster,
then a movie in Leicester Square.
God Rest your soul,