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Ewen Brodie of Lethen CVO
Late Grenadier Guards

by Major James Gatehouse
formerly Grenadier Guards

Ewen John Brodie was born in Scotland on 16th December 1942, the son of Major David Brodie of Lethen and his wife, Diana. One of his uncles was the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. He was educated at Wellesley House and then Harrow, before being selected for a Short Service Commission in the Regiment, which commenced in November 1961.

He joined the 1st Battalion, then commanded by David Fraser, in London District. It had the comparative misfortune of being based in Tidworth where it would remain until it moved to the new Chelsea Barracks in October 1962. Ewen is remembered by his contemporaries as a fit, smart and rather wild young officer and he was very popular. It was a busy time and one recalls, ‘we were both Ensigns in The Queen’s Company and spent a great deal of time on Public Duties in London. I recall one stretch when we were on duty every day for six weeks. The Adjutant (David Fanshawe) had to juggle the few officers available pretty deftly, but one might come off Bank Picquet in the early morning and then go straight on to Queen’s Guard or the Tower Guard a few hours later’. In 1962 Ewen was the Ensign of Number Five Guard on the Queen’s Birthday Parade.

At this time young officers walking out of barracks in London were always expected to be dressed in a suit with stiff collar, bowler hat and carrying a furled umbrella. Clearly caught out once too often by his next Adjutant, David Gordon Lennox, the latter remembers the Commanding Officer wisely suggesting that although some more lively young officers would more often catch his eye, they would also often be the best in wartime. Ewen was always up for a challenge. In August 1963, while on exercise at Dartmoor, there was a conversation over dinner in Okehampton Camp about who might be the fastest up a nearby tor and back. Bets were made and the race promptly run, all returning ‘puffed and muddied, to rousing cheers’. Who won the race is not recorded, nor did it matter. In November 1963, the 1st Battalion moved to Gort Barracks in Hubblerath, as part of 4th Guards Brigade.

Shortly afterwards, Ewen left the Army and joined IBM, working first and for many years in London before moving to Glasgow. He retired in 1976, principally to run the family estate at Lethen, which is located just to the East of Inverness and straddles the Findhorn. He loved fishing and shooting and he dedicated a large part of the rest of his life to the running of the estate with his wife, Mariota at his side, where he was very active and ‘hands on’. He also spent time sheep farming in the early years and he felt very strongly about conservation, sustainable fishing and forestry. He was an active member of many committees such as The Nairnshire Farming Society, the Timber Growers Association, the River Findhorn District Salmon Fishing Board, as well as the Atlantic Salmon Trust.

He was highly respected in many walks of life. He always achieved a very honest and open contact with people and, to the end of his life, he remained a source of great knowledge in the many areas which interested him.

He was Lord Lieutenant of Nairnshire from 1999-2017, a role he took very seriously and one which he thoroughly enjoyed, particularly as this allowed him to remain very much involved in local affairs. It was a period during which there were four other Grenadier Lord Lieutenants. He was appointed CVO in 2015.

Ewen Brodie was predeceased by an older sister, Marion, and his younger brother, James. He is survived by his sister Janet, who lives in Australia, and by his wife, Mariota, their three daughters and six grandchildren.

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