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Kingussie heroine Isobel Harling BEM dies at 100


By Tom Ramage

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The family of Isobel Harling, who won a British Empire Medal for seven decades of selfless service in tending to Badenoch's Indian Graves – and never understood 'all the fuss' about it – passed away peacefully this morning.

Her daughter Gaynoll Craig told the Strathy: "My beloved Mum died peacefully early this morning. Family were with her. May she Rest in Peace and rise to Eternal Glory."

Isobel and granddaughter Ged at the unveiling of Kingussie's new memorial to members of Force K6 who sacrificed their lives in the second war.
Isobel and granddaughter Ged at the unveiling of Kingussie's new memorial to members of Force K6 who sacrificed their lives in the second war.

Granddaughter Geraldine Craig said: "Granny passed away, to her next great adventure, early hours this morning. Very peacefully. Couldn't have been more perfect for her.

"She was a very mischievous and wonderful granny. I have been very blessed."

Mrs Harling had spent the last years of her life in the expert hands of Kingussie's Wade Centre, where she celebrated her 100th birthday with a joyous party in the spring.

Isobel's 100th birthday party in April
Isobel's 100th birthday party in April

Born a Macpherson on 18th April 1923, in Boa Vista Road, Kingussie, Isobel spent her early life in the town then moved with her parents to Glasgow then to Dalwhinnie ,where her father worked with the Post Office as a postman, and finally to Garraline Terrace in Kingussie.

She was employed by a number of businesses in the town over the years and also ran her own ladies’ clothes shop in High Street, where the Cheese Neuk is today.

For many years she lived in Spey Street at 5 Caledonian Buildings, with her daughter Gaynoll and a son, John.

Made it! Isobel at her big party in April
Made it! Isobel at her big party in April

At the start of World War II she volunteered for the WRENS and moved to London, then to Invergordon where she was an ambulance driver dealing with collecting remains of servicemen.

Isobel had many years of involvement with the British Legion and of tending graves in the New Cemetery, Kingussie where Indian Army servicemen and civilian war workers are buried.

Her dedication was rewarded at a presentation by Col. Singh of New Delhi during one of his visits to Kingussie.

Isobel was also a founder member of the Abbeyfield Society in Kingussie and a member of Kingussie Community Council for 12 years until 1993.


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