Rutherglen’s role in the creation of the world famous Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) has become the inspiration for a new book about the regiment.
Rev. Dr David Christie is currently writing ‘See You Jimmy! Reminiscences of a Rutherglen Rifleman’.
The book will be a collection of light-hearted tales based on his own experiences serving with the Cameronians in the 1960s.
He decided to use fictional names in the book and chose the name The Rutherglen Rifles for his imaginary regiment.
The Declaration of Rutherglen in 1679 was one of the pivotal moments in Scottish history when a group of 70 Covenanters effectively announced themselves as enemies of King Charles II. The event led directly to the formation of the Cameronians.
And in 1967, the last Cameronian killed whilst on active service was a Rutherglen man, Rifleman Charles McLaren.
David (74) - who has lived in South Africa for the past 40 years - says he is determined to pay tribute to the Regiment’s links with the Burgh.
He said: “Before the Declaration the battle against King Charles had been a Covenanter thing but now it was a Cameronian issue. Our formation is very much tied up with Rutherglen.
“If you move forward nearly 300 years, the last Cameronian killed was a Rutherglen man. He was off duty at the time so it wasn’t very dramatic but he was serving in Aden.
“That almost feels like the end of the story, Rutherglen is a rather special place for this famous Scottish Regiment.”
David, originally from Glasgow, served with the Cameronians in places like Aden, Borneo, Indonesia and Malaya right up until they were disbanded in 1968. He then moved to South Africa where he served as a Presbyterian Minister.
He has previously written ‘Not Much of a Soldier’ about the beginnings of the Cameronians.
Like many military men, even 45 years later David feels a special bond with the men he served with, explaining that one of his reasons for writing the book is to “honour these wonderful men who served so loyally in such a difficult time.”
He was inspired to write See You Jimmy! when his wife commented on the unshakable bond between him and a former sergeant of the regiment some 40 years after it disbanded.
But despite the emotional beginnings of the book, David, whose family connection with the Cameronians goes back 300 years, insists it will be anecdotal and light-hearted with many of the stories sticking out due to their humour.
He said: “It will really be a collection of short stories about what happens in the Army. I’ve changed the names because I didn’t want to embarrass anyone.
“It’s set during the Cold War. It was a time of change as we had the ending of the Empire as well.
“There are lots of human stories and all the best stories are true stories, like the one about a soldier who had a cup of tea shot out his hand and was more angry about losing his tea than nearly losing his life.
“I’m about halfway through but I probably have a couple of hundred stories I could tell.”