PLUTO and the ANZACs

We had a very full evening on Street Pastors last night. It began with a brief chat with an athlete who slowed down her running for a chat about the constellation Orion, shining clearly in the sky, then we came across a veteran of the South Korean war who told us about Pluto. I suspected he was a Christian and it transpired that he and his wife voted for the Scottish Christian Party at the last election. He was a retired engineer who told us that he had worked for A.I. Welders of Inverness who constructed the automatic welding equipment of PLUTO – Pipe Line Under the Ocean.

I had never heard of this. After D-Day in WWII, our Allied vehicles landing on the Normandy beaches needed a continuous supply of fuel. This was supplied through a pipeline, which was constructed by welding sections of pipe together on board ships, and laying it on the seabed of the English Channel. The automatic welding equipment was designed and made in Inverness by A.I. Welders – and he proudly told us that none of the thousands of weldings had failed. This was a significant contribution by Inverness to the war effort.

What was the context of hearing about this story? Our veteran had been in the Korean War, and he attended an annual meeting held by the South Koreans in grateful acknowledgement of this, as well as having visited South Korea for similar memorials. North Korea is still a dangerous part of the world, and the sad part of my tale is that this old veteran was still receiving the respect of South Koreans fifty years after these events, while he witnessed and experienced the youth in his own area of Inverness failing to give respect to elderly citizens. We hope that a good dose of Christian cheer will help to change this.

To this end I will relate how our veteran finished our lengthy chat. He finished his tale with a funny story which I will share with you. 7000 of the US Marine Corp marched into Korea with brass bands and white gaiters. They built a camp on the west of Korea with a tarred road into it. There were not many tarred roads at that time. They built an arch over the entrance, with the words US 7th Marine Corp “Second to None”. A few miles up the road, the ANZACs built a smaller camp for their 700-800 men, with a smaller road and smaller arch. It had only one word on it: “None”!

This is some of the fun we have on Street Pastors. There is a rising and growing generation who do not know our history. I hope that parents may read this story to their children and grandchildren, so that youngsters begin to engage the older generation in conversation when they meet them on the bus and at bus stops. Young heads may learn and share some of the fun and wisdom in these older heads. Mutual respect born out of interesting fellowship may help to minimise the generation gap and build up community cohesion.

A I Welders

A part of this blogpost was printed as a letter in The Inverness Courier as an item of interest.

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