His time in the military took him from the Cowgate to Kenya, but Jack Kilminster never forgot his Dundee roots.
After spotting himself in a recent issue of The Dundonian in piper regalia, the 78-year-old decided to share his story as part of the ongoing Year of the Older People.
The Scots Guard veteran was born in Dundee in the midst of the Second World War
As a young lad he lived in the city centre with his family, attending Cowgate Primary School and Stobswell Boys’ Secondary School.
He said: “When I was a teenager most of my days were spent in the shipyard, back then you would leave school at 15.
“I was a catch boy, which meant that I was responsible for catching the rivets and throwing them up to the riveter.”
While working at the shipyard Jack joined the Boys’ Service RAMC, where he first took up the pipes that he would later play in the Scots Guard.
The young man enjoyed his time there so much that, at the age of 17, he chose to join the military.
He said: “I originally wanted to join the Black Watch, but when the recruiting sergeant heard that I played the pipes he talked me into joining the Scots Guards.
“I was first recruited in December 1959, but I was told that, since it was so close to Christmas there was no point in going to training, so instead I left for Caterham Barracks on January 7 1960.
“I was the first child to leave the family home, so I got a huge send-off at the Tay Bridge Station with all my family, aunties and uncles and everything.
“After I left I remember being terrified, absolutely terrified, because it wasn’t just Scots Guards that I was going to be with, it was over 1,000 people from all over Britain.”
The fresh-faced soldier began his training at Caterham, before being moved to Bisley where he was trained in drill and weapons handling.
Jack added: “After that I went to piping school, before being assigned to Wellington Barracks, near Buckingham Palace.
“I remember when we were there we had a huge march, with banners and everything and, to do that as a laddie, your chest was puffed all the way out. It was amazing.”
The soldier travelled all over the UK as part of the Scots Guards Second Battalion, performing in the Edinburgh Tattoo, as well as his home town of Dundee.
In 1962 he was deployed to Kenya, where he stayed at the Kahawa Barracks in Nairobi, Kenya.
Jack said: “We went all over East Africa, places like Uganda and Zanzibar, but for the most part we were stationed 19 miles outside of Nairobi.
“I remember back then I had auburn hair, and after standing in the sun all day I was burned to death, my skin was so red.
“One good thing for us is that it was 4,000ft above sea level, so it wasn’t too hot.
“We were in these big tin huts, which reflected the heat, so it never got too hot inside.
“I remember that everyone there spoke Swahili, so we had to learn a few words of that but I was never very good.”
Upon leaving Kenya, Jack chose to leave the military.
He considered joining the police force and becoming a taxi driver, however, he decided against both and ended up working in the same shipyard he laboured in as a teenager.
The veteran added: “I ended up as a scaffolder at the shipyard, I did that a couple of years before BP came along.
“I must say, that was one of the best companies I ever worked for, I worked with the boats and I got to meet all these people from all over the world.
“I met Germans, Norwegians and Dutch people, and I had a drink with all of them.”