It is with great regret that we report that John Ainslie, convenor of the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, passed away on Friday (21 October). John was a huge ally and friend of Nuclear Information Service, having supported and assisted the organisation since its earliest days. More recently NIS worked closely with John on research and investigations focused on the Atomic Weapons Establishment, the safety of Trident submarines, and implementation of the Trident replacement programme, benefiting heavily from his expert understanding of the Trident programme and his in-depth knowledge of Freedom of Information Law. John's research work was, rightly, internationally recognised for its depth and accuracy and he was without doubt one of the global experts on Trident and the UK nuclear weapons programme, often showing a level of knowledge and understanding surpassing colleagues with access to highly classified sources of government information, and regularly commanding the attention of Select Committees at the House of Commons in London.
John was far more than an office-bound researcher, and was in every sense a hands-on campaigner. Both before and after joining Scottish CND as a full-time worker in 1992 he took part in a range of non-violent direct actions in opposition to Trident, including canoeing into the Gareloch to protest at the arrival of Trident submarines newly deployed at the Faslane naval base. More recently John was an active member of the Nukewatch network aimed at monitoring the road transport of nuclear weapons, regularly capturing warhead convoys on video and using social media to highlight their journeys along Scotland's motorways and through densely populated urban areas. He spoke regularly at public meetings up and down Scotland, and the key role played by Trident and nuclear weapons during the debate over the 2014 Scottish independence referendum is testimony to his effectiveness as an organiser and campaigner. Before becoming a peace activist John had a varied career as an intelligence officer in the British Army, and latterly as a Minister in the Church of Scotland.
John had been ill for a long time with a brain tumour, although this did not stop him working hard on disarmament issues until just a couple of weeks before his death. As well as being professional, thorough, and knowledgeable in his work for Scottish CND, those who knew John will testify to his kindness, modesty, and willingness to help out in all circumstances.
Our thoughts are with John's family and friends at this time.
Letters of condolence can be sent to Scottish CND at 77 Southpark Avenue, Glasgow, G12 8LE and will be passed on to John's family. A service of thanksgiving for John's life will take place on Friday 4th November at 2 pm at the Wellington Church, 77 Southpark Avenue, Glasgow, G12 8LE. All are welcome to attend.