Jock Gallagher, 75, left, who spent 54 years as a journalist, has compiled a list of stories marking the achievements of his fellow countrymen in his new book, Scotland’s Global Empire: A Chronicle of Great Scots.
Among those featured include two brothers who were awarded the Victoria Cross – the highest military decoration awarded to British soldiers for valour in the face of the enemy.
He also tells the story of Major William Babtie, a Dumbarton man who was also awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery in assisting wounded soldiers while under fire in the battle of Colenso in 1899 during the Boer War.
He said faded cuttings from hundreds of local papers and the shorthand in his reporter’s notebooks formed the basis and background to the book.
“The book is 450 pages and a quarter of a million words and took more than five years to put together,” he told HTFP.
“It’s really a collection of around a thousand stories in a reasonably racy style reminiscent of a good local reporter…I think.”
Jock, who also worked for the BBC, told the Dumbarton Reporter that he had an interest in Scottish pioneers throughout his long career.
“Though I knew Scots had punched above their weight it wasn’t until I put this into one book that I realised how powerful it was and how well Scots had performed right across the globe in areas of leadership and discovery,” he told the paper.
“It’s a typical reporter’s piece doing lots of little colourful stories — it’s pure journalism — I don’t pretend to be a writer.
“It’s a reporter’s notebook — it just happens to be over 200 years.I kept old newspaper cuttings, read books, so I had a whole mass of this material and I just decided it ought to be put into some sort of order and the logical thing to do was to put it into a book.
“The book was really a reaction to living in England, you become more fervently patriotic the longer you’re away from Scotland.
“I think the book really decided to write itself and like a good reporter I had scribbled notes and reports or yonks about Scots.”
The book is available from Amazon and is also on Kindle.