James MacArthur was born James Edward MacArthur-Moir on 20th September 1914. He was the second in the family, sharing the family home with his late sister Marjory who was 11 years older. He was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada to ensure British citizenship, however his father was a rancher in America at the time. His parents sold up when the First World War broke out and his father tried to enlist but failed the medical.
After a few years in Los Angeles the family returned to Scotland where they had land in Dollar and Dunoon, though the Dollar house was soon sold up. It was in Dunoon that James (or Jim) grew up where the family had had roots for almost 400 years and he went to school later at Dollar Academy and then Loretto School in Musselburgh. During his time there he joined the OTC and was a piper in the band.
Although he achieved a university entrance James decided to go straight into work and obtained a job in London in an insurance company. During this time, in the 1930s, he joined the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and served as a Territorial. He then had the opportunity of going to work in India for MacKinnon MacKenzie, agents for the P&O Steam Navigation Company. Again he joined the equivalent of the Territorials in the Light Motor Patrol. When the Second World War broke out James joined the 2nd Gurkha Rifles and served in India, attaining the rank of Captain. Latterly, due to his shipping skills, he was seconded to assist with the repatriation of Burma.
Although he achieved a university entrance James decided to go straight into work and obtained a job in London in an insurance company. During this time, in the 1930s, he joined the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and served as a Territorial. He then had the opportunity of going to work in India for the P&O Steam Navigation Company. Again he joined the equivalent of the Territorials in the Light Motor Patrol. When the Second World War broke out James joined the 2nd Gurkha Rifles and served in India, attaining the rank of Captain. Latterly, due to his shipping skills, he was seconded in the rank of acting Colonel to assist with the repatriation of Burma.
During his time in India, he enjoyed golf and swimming and Scottish Country dancing. In 1948, returning from leave, he met Pat, and the next year they were married in the Scots Kirk, Bombay. Their two children were born in India, Mary in 1950 and John in 1954. Later, following their marriages, they would become grandparents to their three grandchildren Ian, Gavin and Calum.
In 1954 they returned to Scotland and decided, for family reasons, to remain. James found a job in the Coal Board and joined the Staff Department of the NCB. He was to work most of the rest of his working life in the NCB with only a short time at the end at the Solid Fuel Heating Centre in Athol Place. James retired in 1981.
James and Pat made their first home in Palmerston Place and it was at that time they joined Palmerston Place Church of Scotland where James remained a member until his death.
James served as a Special Constable reaching the rank of Inspector. He was also involved helping the Scouts in their interview process for appointing Scout Leaders. After ten years they moved house to Craigleith View and ten years later to be the first residents in their present home in 14 Hillpark Wood 26 years ago.
James developed a great interest in genealogy and this led through an American contact to him being elected first as Commander of Clan Arthur and finally as the first Chief of Clan Arthur to be recognised by the Lord Lyon for about 230 years. He was appointed in August 2002 although the formal ceremony did not happen until April 13th last year.
In recognition of this James changed his name from MacArthur-Moir to Moir MacArthur. His role first as Commander and then as Clan Chief led him and Pat to make a number of visits to Canada and America for Clan Gatherings. James also wrote prolifically for the Clan Arthur newsletter, The Round Table, producing well researched Clan history and pen portraits.
James took life seriously and liked to be in control of all that was happening. He was always ready however to help those around him with whatever he could.
In December 2003 James was diagnosed with cancer and after a short time in the hospice he was able through the support of his wife and specialist nurses to be cared for at home where he died peacefully on Thursday 1st April 2004.
Penned By Rev. Colin Sinclair
7th April 2004
Edited By Hugh DP McArthur
From the time I attended my first Clan Arthur Gathering, at Portsonachan on loch Awe, some six years or so ago, I was conscious that James, very ably supported by his wife Pat, was the driving force behind our Clan.
He demonstrated a meticulous attention to detail which ensured he was always in control of the situation. On a one to one basis he was always polite, courteous and very persuasive as I was to learn a year or so ago, when he asked me to become The MacArthur Society High Commissioner for Great Britain - I was pleased to accept I could hardly refuse knowing that he didn't ask you to do what he wouldn't and wasn't doing himself (and more).
He was a man and a Chief who earned the respect he got and deserved from Clan members - A Great Chief - Given so short a time in that position - a great loss to us all.
He always put our Clan first and had a vast knowledge of Clan matters. It would pay us well to recall much of what he said - A lot is written down in articles he wrote - And "Listen O' Listen".
The MacArthur Society in Britain
A Branch of Clan Arthur
Australian MacArthurs lament the passing of our late Chief James Edward Moir MacArthur of that Ilk. Jim did so much for our Clan before and during his chieftainship, always with diplomacy and with the Clan's interest at heart. A job well done indeed.
Over the years, it has been such a pleasure for Joyce and I to come to know both Jim and his good wife Pat. May his efforts carry on through his son, John Alexander, whom we welcome and pay allegiance to as our new Clan Chief.
By Faith and Work, may MacArthur Societies world wide enjoy fellowship and expansion.
Robert S MacArthur
The MacArthur Society in Australia
A Branch of Clan Arthur
During the past few months there have been stunning changes within Clan Arthur’s several societies. I feel that they may never be the same. There remains an aura of sadness at the great loss of our past Chief, James MacArthur.
As former editor of “The Round Table” for so many years, I was in constant and close communication with Jim as I sought his invaluable advice and direction in the compilation of that quarterly publication. His enthusiasm, humor, knowledge, and tireless energy were awesome. Jim was a patient man but one who could be emphatic and very thorough when the need arose.
I once told him that - in a way - he was like a second father figure to me, even though our ages were too close for such an imagined relationship. This is my first opportunity to publicly express my feelings about our tragic loss. If I could speak to him today, however, I would thank him for his careful preparations to ensure that the Clan moved on as he wished it to do. I do so now!
Yes, Jim should be thanked for leaving Clam Arthur in such good order. The Chiefship has moved to his son John and grandsons stand ready to continue that hard-won gain. Jim passed his High Commissionership in the UK Society to Francis P McArthur and enlisted the services of a newly appointed Publicity Liaison Officer, Hugh DP McArthur, who has proven to be a dynamo of ideas and energy.
And last, but never least, Jim’s Seannachie, Robert D McArthur, stepped into the breach to continue his service as the Clan Messenger and assume the office of Society Treasurer in the UK.
I know each of the above have honored Jim’s memory by adopting his dream of restoring the MacArthurs to their place in history. I applaud them.
Robert C McArtor
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