Alistair Lynn, who led Grampian Police’s response to the Piper Alpha disaster, has died aged 95.
He was chief constable at the time of the explosion in 1988 and led his staff through some the greatest challenges of their careers. His officers were involved in the harrowing duty of searching the accommodation decks and liaising with bereaved families.
Mr Lynn later described the aftermath of the disaster as the most demanding months of his career but said his overriding concern was for the welfare of his officers.
The 1986 Chinook helicopter disaster and the Royal Darroch Hotel explosion of 1983 also happened during his period of service with Grampian Police.
He spent 42 years in the police service, beginning as a constable in Argyll, rising through the ranks and being appointed to lead the Grampian force in 1983.
The role of chief constable brought with it the additional pressure of being responsible for the security of the Queen during her stays at Balmoral and during her travels throughout the region.
For this work, he was made a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, a personal award from the Queen.
Alistair Graham Lynn was born in August 1926 at Carradale in Argyll, the son of master tailor George Lynn and his wife Janet.
He was third in a family of five – brother Hamish and sister Katherine being older, with sisters Georgie and Elizabeth coming along later. All except Katherine predeceased him.
Alistair left school at the age of 15 and joined the Merchant Navy, moving on to the Royal Navy a year later.
He served in the navy for five years and, as one might expect, travelled over much of the world – but mainly with the Mediterranean Fleet, and in the Middle East and Far East.
This is where he became interested in communications and so it was no real surprise that, on leaving the Navy, he joined the Post Office as a postal and telegraph officer.
Alistair married his beloved Chrissie in Glasgow on June 5, 1957 and they were almost inseparable until Chrissie’s untimely death in 1998.
He was very proud of Chrissie, not least for her very strong intellect, which allowed her to graduate in Latin from Glasgow University and then go on to teach at Oban High School.
In 1948, Alistair began his police career in Argyll. There followed 24 years of steady progress through the ranks, reaching the rank of superintendent in Argyll.
He made a move moving across the country to Bucksburn in 1972 to take up an appointment as deputy chief constable of the Scottish North Eastern Counties Constabulary.
The then chief constable of SNECC, Tom Chasser, died suddenly later that year and Alistair took over as chief constable.
In 1975, he was appointed deputy chief constable of the newly formed Grampian Police, subsequently being appointed chief constable in 1983.
By the time he retired in 1990, Alistair’s contribution to British society had been recognised by his being awarded three well-merited honours – The Queen’s Police Medal, for his service to policing, followed by a CBE, again in recognition of his contribution to the police, including taking a leading role in policing Scotland as president of the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland on two occasions.
He was quietly proud of those honours but it was his third honour that he was most proud of, because it enjoyed what Alistair referred to as the “dignity” of being a personal award by the monarch.
It was the CVO – Commander of the Royal Victorian Order – in recognition of his personal service to the Queen. Apart from his responsibility for her safety when she was in residence in Grampian, he was designated, more widely, as her security officer in Scotland.