Flowers of the Forest

Recalling Scots mourning for the thousands fallen at Flodden Field on 9 Sep 1513, Flowers of the Forest is the name of a pipe tune and a later poem, and now is traditionally used for a roll of clan members who have gone on before.

The following appeared in Volume 2 of Litir à Clann (Family Newsletter), edited by
R.M. "Mac" Sinclair of Kingston, Ontario.


April 1994

Tragedy at Chipping Norton: On January 15th, the eve of their 19th wedding anniversary, Diana, Countess Caithness, wife of Malcolm, the 20th Earl of Caithness (Chief of Clan Sinclair), committed suicide. There are two surviving children: Iona, Lady Sinclair, age 15, and James (sometimes known as Alexander), Lord Berriedale, age 12.

Newspaper articles have portrayed this marriage as having become "loveless" and sterile, burdened with an unusually heavy political commitment that probably strained it to the limit. We knew Di to be a fun-loving wife and mother a few years ago, when we were making visits, and they seemed to be a typical young family, struggling somewhat, but not unduly harrassed.

Lady Caithness's background was steeped in royal tradition, with an ancestry linked to the Queen Mother. Her father, Major Richard Coke D.S.O., M.C., is one of England's foremost landowners, heavily involved in forestry. Di was related to the Queen Mother through her great-grandmother, the Countess of Leicester, making her a distant cousin.

Lord Caithness is suffering from this tragedy as well. It will be difficult for him to give the parental leadership that is so badly needed at this time. His political career is at a standstill, if not ended. "It is typical of him that he has given up office to put his children first..." as one newspaper article has put it. And, he was known as a "top all-rounder", able to fill in on any bill in the Upper House at a moment's notice.

Let us all pray for Lady Diana and for the children; and let us all pray for the rejuvenation of Lord Caithness, may he find solace in the knowledge that his kinsmen stand with him as he struggles to rebuild his family life. President Gordon and I have written to assure him of that.


August 1994

We make note of the fact that Katherine Stone Sinclair, wife of Dr. Gordon A. Sinclair of Toronto, passed away last December, and we extend our sympathy to him and the family.


April/May 1995

The death of one of the charter members of our Association, Roselma (Lake) Sinclair occurred at the home of her son, Rory, in Toronto on March 3rd, 1995.

She was one of the founders and always a great participant at our meetings and in our projects; one whose "input" was always thoughtfully given and carefully considered. During her lifetime she had been active, and excelled in many fields -- municipal politics, charitable societies, sports, bridge and education.

Her husband Dr. Edward G. and a son, Edward (Sandy) predeceased her. She is survived by a daughter, Heather Dwyer, and two sons, Dr. Ian and Rory. The Clan Sinclair Association (Canada) was a real part of her family.

In a short note from his son, John M. Sinclair of Vancouver, we also received word that Lindsay M. Sinclair of Pointe Claire, Que. had passed away, suddenly, in late January 1995. Lindsay was another of the Sinclair clan whose forbears settled in Scotch Corners, Lanark County, ON, in the early 1800s.

I have just been informed that Lord Thurso (Robin Sinclair) died on May 29th. He had had respiratory problems for several years and was somewhat restricted in the carrying out of his appointments and duties of late. Members of our Association who travelled to Caithness in 1989 and 1994 in organized groups, and independently on other occasions, will be particularly saddened at this news.

Lord Thurso will be remembered as a most gracious host who made sure his Canadian visitors saw the important "Sinclair" sites and, with his lovely wife, Margaret, made each one feel special about his visit to Caithness. Lord Thurso will be greatly missed by Sinclairs everywhere.


July 1995

We received a sad notice from Margaret (Sinclair) Hunter of Burlington, Ont., that her husband, Elmer, had died on February 3rd. Margaret, age 90, is a cousin of our president, Gordon.

On Friday, July 7th, 1995, Gordon Sinclair, esteemed president of Clan Sinclair Association Canada, was killed in an automobile accident. He had been on a business trip in Manitoba and was returning home.

Just four years ago, Gordon was elected president of our Association at a general meeting in Nova Scotia. He impressed everyone immediately with his friendly enthusiasm and desire to help the Association grow and develop further contacts throughout areas of Canada with which he was particularly familiar. His objectives were accomplished with gentle good humour, but firm determination. He was always considerate of others, as a true Scot would be. We are so sorry to lose him.

Gordon's leadership talents were recognized by many. He had been particularly active in co-operative endeavours in Manitoba and with his expertise, his advice on agricultural matters was sought by the Provincial government. Nationally in the co-operative movement, Gordon had been president of Co-Operators, a major insurance company in Canada, and a director of several co-operative financial companies.

Prairie farming was Gordon's first love; he and his wife, Donalda (Donnie) with their two sons, Sam and John, operated a farming operation of some 2,600 acres, specializing in seed growing and many special crops. He was born and raised in Strathclair, graduated from the University of Manitoba (Winnipeg), and received an Honourary Degree from St Francis Xavier University at Antigonish, Nova Scotia. In addition to the family members mentioned above, he is survived by his daughter-in-law, Jeanne, and grandson, Ian. A sister, Janey, and a brother, Jim, are also members of our Association.


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