The death of Douglas Morgan, one of the great names in Scottish rugby, will have saddened many members of our ESMS Community, in particular alumni who remember Douglas as a personal friend and who played rugby with him as Melville College schoolboys and perhaps later in FP rugby teams. An excellent tribute to Douglas’s life and rugby career has been published by the Scottish Rugby Union at https://www.scottishrugby.org/news/dougie-morgan and we have added here some very personal memories provided by Melville College alumnus, Richard Weston, whose family were very close to the Morgans as they all grew up together in sports-mad Edinburgh families. Richard writes:
“The Morgans and Westons were lifelong friends as long as I can remember. The Morgans lived at the top of the road we lived on in Duddingston. My father, Peter, was a doctor in the RNVR (which at some point changed to RNR – Royal Naval Reserve. They dropped the “Volunteer” for some reason) and Douglas’ father, George, was an officer (captain I think but can’t be sure) in the RNVR. They went on exercises on the minesweeper HMS Killiecrankie M1169 every year (or possibly second year), often to the Mediterranean.
I remember RNVR kids’ Christmas parties at HMS Claverhouse in Leith. Our parents played Mahjong every Sunday evening and the two families had second homes in North Berwick where we spent our summer holidays and sailed in the club races. Our fathers were in the Rotary Club together and my mother, Gay, and Douglas’ mother, Rena, did everything together. I remember, with affection, Rena encouraging me in my bird-watching hobby as their house backed on to Duddingston Golf Course.
Douglas was four years older than me and I remember well when he was the Melville College head boy which must have been 1965. But my friendship was with his one of his two younger brothers, Alastair, who is a year older than me. My sister, Susan, was Colin’s age and so she was friends with him. Susie went to Mary Erskine as did our mother before her. My mother was in Mary Erskine at the same time as Miss Margo Christie, who later became one of the best-remembered teachers in the history of Melville College and who continues to claim she inspired Finn Calder to become, like Douglas, a future captain of Scotland and a British Lion because she taught him rugby in Primary 5!
Douglas’ father, George, attended Melville College before us and what was amazing was the fact that Miss Stewart taught both the father and the sons. They were a very sporty family. I believe George played for all the 1st teams when he was at school, as did all three of his sons in succession. The culmination of this sporting prowess was when George was invited to play cricket for the FP’s when Douglas and Alastair were FP’s and Colin was playing for the school 1st XI. I hope I have remembered that correctly. I don’t remember the date but Colin is a few years younger than me so it must have been about 1972/3.
These are the memories that come to mind at the moment. As I said, the families were close but my friendship was mainly with Alastair. We, as kids, were supported by our parents in all our activities. Douglas went on to excel at rugby because he decided to devote all of his attention in that direction. I, like the three Morgan boys, was good at many sports but I didn’t excel in any one. At school the sports were Rugby, Cricket, Hockey and Field Sports of which my main event was the mile and half mile. Out of school I enjoyed Golf and Sailing. Alastair and I supported Keith Stewart in starting a school sailing club which we represented for our latter years at school. Then for me I added Judo and Squash to my sporting activities. Personally I loved them all which was why I was good at them but never excelled in any one!”