Glasgow helicopter crash: Funeral of pilot David Traill held
- 7 December 2013
- From the section Glasgow & West Scotland
The first of the funerals for the victims of the Glasgow helicopter crash has taken place.
Nine people were killed when the Police Scotland aircraft came down on the crowded Clutha bar just over a week ago.
The funeral of the pilot, Captain David Traill, who was 51, was held at Glasgow University.
Mourners heard him described as a "happy and generous man, a man who lived life well and lived life full".
Friends, family and colleagues attended the service, which was led by chaplain the Reverend Stuart MacQuarrie, a Church of Scotland minister.
With permission from Capt Traill's family, a feed of the memorial was streamed on the university website.
Before the funeral, a guard of honour was formed, with police officers on one side and air ambulance pilots and paramedics on the other.
The cortege was led by police outriders and was joined by a friend of Capt Traill, who rode his Harley Davidson motorcycle to the service.
The coffin was carried in to the university's Bute Hall with a large bouquet of white lilies on top.
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill joined the mourners, along with Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson.
Uniformed RAF officers attended, along with many emergency services workers, and Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Stephen House was joined by other senior officers.
Mr Traill, originally from Falkirk, was a former RAF pilot and instructor who served in both Gulf wars.
He later took on the role of civilian pilot for the Glasgow-based Scottish Air Ambulance and Police Scotland.
Mr MacQuarrie said: "David died in tragic circumstances when the helicopter he was flying plunged to the ground with little or no warning.
"From what I've learned in the last few days of this brave and courageous man, I'm absolutely certain that David would have done absolutely everything he could to safeguard his colleagues in the aircraft and people who were on the ground.
"I'm convinced that David's skills and experience indeed minimised the loss of life on the ground."
The minister said the service had been put together by Mr Traill's fiancee, Lucy, a graduate from the university, and his father, Iain, who sobbed as he read a poem, You Can Shed Tears, to mourners.
Widower Mr Traill Snr read the same poem by David Harkins at his younger son Angus' funeral three years ago, the minister said.
Following the hymn Christ Be Beside Me, a close friend from Mr Traill's time in the RAF read a tribute to "the greatest friend a man could hope for".
Andy Rooney said: "David, Dave, Davey, Swampy - he was different things to different people and he touched many lives.
"But there was a consistency to him that few could match and many could envy.
"The calm he offered, the warmth with which he was received."
He went on: "He was the greatest friend a man could hope for. A steady, loyal brother in arms.
"He wasn't perfect, that would be tedious. He was a helicopter pilot who didn't like heights.
"You could get him in a helicopter, but you couldn't get him up a set of ladders. He was a pilot who got air sick, to be fair this was mostly on fixed-wing planes."
'Amazing, caring and loving'
Mr Rooney spoke of Mr Traill's "long and illustrious military career" and shared anecdotes from their time working together.
He said: "He knew how to enjoy life and share that joy. So on this day in history we remember Dave, our friend and trusted colleague.
"A much loved and modest man. He will leave an enormous gap in our lives but he would want us to smile and live on."
The minister read out a tribute from Mr Traill's partner Lucy, whom he met just over four years ago.
She said: "Dave was the best thing that ever happened to me.
"We met on a blind date which started off with a walk around a loch with the dog in Lochwinnoch. He told me he loved me from that day.
"I wasn't so convinced and thought 'that was a bit weird'. It took me a few weeks to catch up. But I did catch up."
She said Mr Traill "seemed too perfect" as she got to know him and learned about his passions - cycling, Scotland's west coast, fine dining, kayaking, Take That, and, "best of all", karaoke.
His fiancee described the day he proposed as "the happiest day of my life".
"He was the most amazing, caring, loving, strong, capable, funny, creative, delicious and sexy boy in the whole world and I cannot even begin to imagine life without him."
The Ellie Goulding song How Long Will I Love You was played, a tune that Mr Traill's partner said he heard on the radio one day and had made him cry.
Mourners were invited to sing along to another tune, the Proclaimers' Life With You. It was a song that Mr Traill and Lucy had planned to play at their wedding, the minister said.
Gary Barlow's Let Me Go was played at the end of the 55-minute service and Mr Traill's coffin was carried out of the hall accompanied by a piper who played Flower of Scotland.
Bond Air Services said Capt Traill was one of their most experienced pilots and described him as "the epitome of the consummate professional".
The other crew members who died in the incident were police constables Kirsty Nelis, 36, and Tony Collins, 43.
Six people died inside the pub where live music was being played at the time.
They were Robert Jenkins, 61, Mark O'Prey, 44, Colin Gibson, 33, John McGarrigle, 57, Gary Arthur, 48, and Samuel McGhee, 56.