Minnigaff family come to aid of French Paras

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A group of dehydrated French paratroopers looking for water in Newton Stewart on Sunday found the auld alliance still stood after a Minnigaff family came to their rescue.

Keith Montgomery and his wife Dr Deirdre Branigan and their three-year-old son Tom played host to seven French paratroopers from the 1st Regiment de Chasseurs, normally based in Pamiers, near Toulouse, but in Galloway just now as part of the Operation Joint Warrior military exercise.

Keith came across the troops when they were trying to get 1,000 litres of water from a local garage for cooking and drinking for the 50 troops of the regiment billeted here. But after finding both the police station and the fire station closed, and the garage only able to provide bottled water, Keith offered to fill their tank from the hosepipe at his home at Waulk Mill, Minnigaff.

As the filling of the paratroopers 1,000 mobile water tank took two hours the family entertained the French soldiers to coffee and biscuits while they waited, guns parked in the hallway.

Young Tom will have special memories of the visit as he got to sit behind the wheel of the troop carrier and was made a honorary member of the Paratroop Regiment complete with regimental badge.

He also received a ration box, used on active service, containing ready cooked dishes, a reheating kit, water purifying tablets, tissues and bars of chocolate. Tom plans to try it out on his next family camping trip!

One of the paratroopers who is keen on shooting was very impressed with the area and plans to come back on a shooting holiday in the future.