A Dundee WWII veteran who was part of the D-Day landings is celebrating his 100th birthday.
Gordon Soutar was born on October 24, 1921, and spent his childhood in a house on Catherine Street.
As a young boy, Gordon was part of the Boys Brigade, playing drums in the pipe band.
“His father was a piper also,” said wife Euthemia.
“He taught the pipes to a lot of the BB lads.
“That’s what they did long ago – did it in the house, ten pipers a night getting lessons.
“It must have driven his mother mad.
“But she loved it, she made them all tea and she was a great baker so they all got fed.”
Gordon, who was taught at Clepington primary and Stobswell secondary, left school at 14 to become a cycle message boy for the Dundee eastern cooperative society.
When he was old enough, he took up an apprenticeship as a bricklayer.
Called up to war
“He was called up to the war when he was 21, as a stretcher bearer,” Euthemia recalled.
“Gordon served in the Glasgow Highlanders and was in the war for two years before he was badly wounded during the D-Day landings.
“Sadly his pal in the army was killed alongside him. He was injured just half an hour before Gordon landed.
“He found him and held him in his arms, cradling him until he passed away.
“It was an incredibly sad time for him.”
Gordon was rescued from Normandy and spent months in hospital recovering from his injuries.
It was on a chance holiday to Stonehaven that Euthemia met Gordon.
“He was there with his mum and dad and I was up with my friends,” she recalled.
“He went back home and I didn’t see him for a while.
“Gordon and his work friends went off to Berlin in 1951.
“Then East Berlin was still run by the Russians and, although he was not a communist, a lot of the men he worked with were.”
“His mum and dad weren’t too happy about it,” she added.
Starting a family
When Gordon came back, he set out to find Euthemia where she went dancing.
“And that was it!” she added.
“We got engaged in 1952 and married in 1953, went on to have two daughters, and four grandchildren and three great grandchildren.”
Euthemia added: “He went back to work as a bricklayer, but had to give it up after nine years.
“With his leg injury, he could no longer climb the ladders or the scaffolding.”
Gordon decided that he would start the next stage of his life by retraining as a clerical officer at Dundee College.
The couple moved to their own home in Victoria Street for a few years before moving out to a house in St Mary’s in 1951, living there with their family until 1982. The couple have been married for 68 years.
Gordon eventually found a career with Dundee City Council.
“He did a few different temporary jobs then was lucky to get a job with council in the city factors office,” Euthemia said.
“Then he moved to the education department and he stayed there until he retired aged 60.”
Staying active in retirement
Gordon, active all his life, didn’t let retirement get in the way of his hobbies.
When he retired, he rediscovered his love of drawing and painting.
In 1982, Gordon decided he would put himself to the test and cycle from Land’s End to John o’ Groats.
“He didn’t do much training, because he was quite the cyclist when he was young,” Euthemia said.
“So he got on his bike and went off. It was hard, given his disability.”
Now, Gordon and Euthemia live in Troon “to be with the family and grandchildren”.
They will be celebrating Gordon’s 100th birthday on Sunday with a party with family and friends.
Gordon said that staying active and “just getting on with it” were key to him living a long life.