At 14, Adam Berwick went to work as a canary boy in a Fife coal mine.
It was an important job. Canaries would alert miners to methane levels underground.
Adam, who has died aged 98, was painfully aware of the importance of his role because he had lost family members to a mine explosion.
That first job in 1937 was the start of a career that took Adam into the RAF, the police and then the insurance industry in Perth.
Adam was born on in Cupar on November 28, 1922 to George and Georgina Berwick. He was one of six children, with three brothers, Bob, George and Jim and two sisters. Nettie and Margaret.
When the second world war broke out, Adam was still young but determined to join up.
Even after he turned 18, being in mining, a reserved occupation, still made joining up difficult.
He eventually got his way, joined the RAF and was stationed at Liverpool.
Barrack bomb blast
It was 1944 by this time and Adam often complained that the only real action he saw was a single bomb that blew in the windows of his barracks.
It was around this time that he met his first wife, Elizabeth Kerr known as Betty. They married in 1945 and had two sons, Adam and Bob. Adam died in 2002, a loss that Adam senior felt acutely.
After the war, Adam did not want to return to the mines in Fife and joined the police in 1947, moving to Perth to live in police accommodation.
His family said he was incredibly proud to be a police officer and often shared his memories of his time in the service.
Memories of the beat
Adam walked the beat for many years and could recall the many changes in the city over the years, as well as the many places he could grab a coffee on nightshift.
In later years he became a traffic officer and he retained sharp driving skills throughout his life.
Adam retired from the then Tayside Police in 1976 and became a member of the Retired Police Officers’ Association. After his death on Sunday, March 28, his family received a letter from the association informing them that Adam had been its oldest member.
After he retired from the force, Adam worked as a stock controller in a garage before six years at General Accident’s Islabank premises, Bridgend, Perth.
Retiral to Guildtown
When his wife Betty retired, the couple moved to Guildtown. Betty died in 1987 aged 66. Adam was devastated by the loss but took comfort with his family and spending time in his garden.
A few years later, he met his second wife, also Betty, whose father had been Adam’s mentor in the police.
After a short time living at Betty’s home in Craigie, the couple moved to Forgandenny where they were to remain.
He and Betty shared many interests and it was through her membership of a ramblers’ organisation that Adam discovered a love of walking.
The couple also escorted children with additional needs on holidays, often to Blackpool, and it was through this work that they were invited to a royal garden party at the Palace of Holyrood in 1996. Betty died in 2003.
Adam retained an interest in technology in later life and used an iPad and Echo Show.
A Courier reader all his life, he enjoyed crosswords as well as television shows.
He retained his independence, lived on his own, cooked for himself and only gave up driving about a year ago.
His funeral will take place at Perth crematorium on Friday, April 9.
The family’s announcement can be read here.