IT has been another extraordinary year of loss. It may not feel quite as exceptional as 2016 – the infamous year in which there seemed to be more famous deaths than ever before – but the list of those who have died in 2017 is still a remarkable and poignant one.

Some of the names you will know straight away; others are less well known but just as worthy of recognition. There are legends of pop and rock and familiar faces from television and film. There are heavyweights of politics and prominent people from almost every field of Scottish public life. And sadly, in 2017 we lost even more of the heroic men and women of the Second World War.

In the world of music, one of the most high-profile losses in 2017 was David Cassidy, who died aged 67. There was a time in the 1970s when Cassidy was the most popular pop star on the planet, but sadly he struggled to convert his success into anything like long-lasting happiness. He died in November having been diagnosed with dementia.

Loading article content

Two Scottish brothers who made a huge contribution to rock in general and one band in particular, AC/DC, also died in 2017. Malcolm Young, who died in November aged 64, was the Glasgow-born musician who founded the band. His brother George Young, who died in October aged 70, produced for them. The family emigrated to Australia when the brothers were young.

The music world will also have to live without two of its greatest: the singer and guitarist Glen Campbell, and one of the founding heroes of founding heroes of rock ‘n’ roll Chuck Berry. Campbell, who died aged 81 in August, had equal success with country and western and pop music and released more than 70 albums. Berry, who died in March aged 90, will be remembered as one of the most distinctive and inspirational figures in music.

This last year also saw the deaths of more of the great men and women who made remarkable contributions during the Second World War, including the woman who announced the start of the war and a Glaswegian who helped hasten its end.

The woman who announced the outbreak was Clare Hollingworth. The journalist, who spent much of her career reporting for newspapers in the UK and died in January aged 105, broke the news of the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939.

The Scot who helped hasten the end was Adam Bergius, who died in March aged 91. Bergius was a submariner and part of Operation Sabre which was tasked with cutting vital underwater Japanese communications cables. Their success forced the Japanese to use overland radio communication instead, which was more easily decoded by the allies.

Another great Scot of the war was Nigel Rose, who died aged 99 in September. Rose was a Battle of Britain pilot and one of the last to have flown with the City of Glasgow Squadron. A heroine of Bletchley Park, Ethel Houston, died in November, aged 93. Houston gave up her studies at Edinburgh University to work as one of the Enigma code-breakers and later was the first woman to be appointed as a senior partner in a Scottish law firm.

One of the darkest stories of the war was to be found in the life of Zoe Polanska-Palmer, a survivor of the sterilisation experiments carried out by Nazi doctors in Auschwitz. Polanska-Palmer, who settled in Dundee and died aged 89 in February, recounted the horrors she experienced in her book Yalta Victim, which was published to acclaim in 1986.

Acting lost some of its most well-known names in 2017, including two of the stars of Coronation Street. First, in June, was Roy Barraclough, who played the Rovers' shifty barman Alec Gilroy; he was 81. Then, in September Liz Dawn died aged 77. Dawn played Vera Duckworth, one of the show’s long line of memorable female leads.

The start of the year saw the death of Sir John Hurt, one of the country’s most formidable talents who specialised in playing some of the great victims and monsters of the 20th century, including The Elephant Man and Kane, who died in spectacular style in the 1979 horror film Alien. Sir John died in January aged 77.

Later in the year, acting lost another of its sirs: Sir Roger Moore, who died in May aged 89. Sir Roger divides opinion as the longest-serving James Bond and even he was self-deprecating about his talent. His acting, he joked, involved little more than the lift of an eyebrow.

Another loss was Robert Hardy, best known to older viewers as Siefried Farnon in the comedy drama All Creatures Great And Small and to younger ones as Cornelius Fudge in the Harry Potter films; he died in August aged 91. And Batman fans mourned the death of Adam West, who played the character in a television version of the comic strip in the 1960s; he died in June aged 88.

Two of the icons of European cinema were also lost in 2017: Anita Pallenberg, the Italian actress, model and icon whose fame was enhanced by high-profile relationships with two members of the Rolling Stones, Brian Jones and Keith Richards; she died aged 75 in June. The following month Jeanne Moreau, the great French actress who came to international attention in the late 1950s and 1960s in the movement known as the nouvelle vague, died aged 89.

Comedy took some very heavy blows in 2017. Gordon Kaye, the star of the war-time sit-com, Allo, Allo, died in January aged 75. Peter Sallis, who played the affable Clegg in Last of the Summer Wine and the loveable Wallace in Nick Park’s animated films, died in June aged 96. Tony Booth, who was the son-in-law and nemesis of Alf Garnett in Till Death Us Do Part, died in September aged 85.And Rodney Bewes, star of one of the best-loved sitcoms The Likely Lads, died in November aged 79.

Three stars of American comedy also died. Jerry Lewis, who died in August aged 91, was the great star of knockabout slapstick comedy in the 1950s and 1960s. Mary Tyler Moore, who died aged 80 in January, was the star of the sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show. And Erin Moran, who died in April aged 56, was well-known for playing Joanie Cunningham on the nostalgic sitcom Happy Days.

Perhaps one of the saddest losses to comedy was the 51-year-old stand-up Sean Hughes. Hughes, who died in October won the Perrier comedy award in 1990 and for many years he was one of the team captains on the BBC TV music panel show Never Mind the Buzzcocks.

In sport, one of the most high-profile deaths was the Celtic hero and Lisbon Lion Tommy Gemmell, who died in March aged 73. It was Gemmell’s goal that got Celtic back on terms with Inter Milan in that unforgettable night in Lisbon in May, 1967.

Fans will recognise the names of the other losses in football. Alex Young, the Hearts, Everton and Scotland legend known as the Golden Vision, died in February aged 80. Billy Simpson, the Rangers great who scored 172 goals in 265 games, died in January aged 87. And Paul Wilson, who had the distinction of being the only Asian footballer to represent Scotland, died in September aged 66.

Tennis lost Jana Novotna, who won Wimbledon in 1998 but was most famous for breaking down after her loss to Steffi Graf in 1993; she died in November aged 49. Shinty lost Duncan Rodger, one of the game’s leading players, who died in May aged 29. Athletics lost Derek Ibbotson, who ran the first sub four-minute mile in Scotland and died in February aged 84. And the Highland games community lost the outstanding heavyweight athlete Hamish Davidson, who died in May aged 62.

In politics, the man who first posed the still-tricky West Lothian Question about Scottish representation at Westminster, the Labour parliamentarian Tam Dalyell, died in January aged 84, as did another of the party’s senior statesmen, Rhodri Morgan. Morgan, who died in May aged 77, was First Minister of Wales from 2000 to 2009. The party also lost the Aberdeen MP Frank Doran, who died in October aged 68.

Scottish nationalists mourned two significant figures in their movement. Gordon Wilson, who died in June aged 79, led the Scottish National Party during one of its most turbulent periods. Kenyon Wright, who died in January aged 84, was the Episcopalian priest who will be remembered for cajoling disparate Scottish opposition groups to work together on devolution in the 1980s.

In the Tory party, two of its most memorable Scottish politicians died. Sir Teddy Taylor, who died in September aged 80, was the former Shadow Scottish secretary who helped Margaret Thatcher secure a revival in Scotland at the 1979 General Election. Bill Walker, who died in June aged 88, was a Thatcherite Conservative MP from 1979 until the Scottish Tory wipe-out in 1997.

In Northern Ireland, Martin McGuinness, deputy first minister from 2007 until his retirement in January 2017, died in March aged 66. McGuinness was also routinely described as the Provisional IRA’s former chief of staff.

Some of the saddest losses this year were in the world of television and broadcasting, including Sir Bruce Forsyth - the quiz show and Strictly Come Dancing legend, who died in August aged 89. Just as popular with younger audiences was Keith Chegwin, the most successful and prominent presenters of children’s television of the 1970s and 1980s who died on December 11 aged 60.

Two greats of children’s television also died in 2017. First, in May, was John Noakes, who was 83. Noakes was the longest-serving and probably the most popular presenter of Blue Peter and was famous for his action-man stunts including scaling Nelson’s Column without any safety harness. Then, in June, Brian Cant died aged 83. Cant was a gentle, fatherly presence on children’s television for decades including 21 years as a presenter of Play School; he was also the voice of the fondly-remembered puppet animation shows Camberwick Green, Trumpton and Chigley.

In Scottish business, 2017 saw the death of Joe Conetta, the Glasgow restaurateur who founded the Di Maggio’s chain; he died in June aged 72. Stephanie Wolfe Murray, who co-founded, along with her husband Angus, the Edinburgh publishing house Canongate, died in June aged 76. And in April, Sir Arnold Clark died aged 89. Sir Arnold started his Glasgow car dealership with £160 and rose to become the head of Europe’s largest independently owned, family-run auto dealership.

Scottish literature also lost one of its greats: the novelist Gordon Williams who produced at least three works of the highest rank, Scenes Like These, Walk Don’t Walk, and The Upper Pleasure Garden; he died in August aged 83. In children's literature, Michael Bond, the creator of a polite little bear called Paddington, died in June aged 91.

Scottish science and medicine lostTessa Holyoake, the Glasgow university professor and world renowned expert in chronic myeloid leukaemia, who died in August aged 54, and Jim Hay, the consultant orthopaedic surgeon and a pioneer of keyhole surgery who died aged 76 in January. Anne Walker also died in May aged 78. Dr Walker was a sexual health specialist who worked in Glasgow and overseas who was highly influential in raising awareness of sexual health in Australia during the 1970s and ‘80s.

Another campaigner we lost in 2017 was Gordon Aikman, who died in February aged 31. Aikman was director of research for the Better Together campaign, which campaigned for No in the Scottish independence referendum. At the age of just 29 he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease and set up Gordon’s Fightback, a campaign which called for funding to find a cure for the disease but also specialist nursing care.

Finally, in journalism, there were a number of sad losses. In May, Calum Macdonald died aged 55 having spent 25 years as a reporter, news editor and crosswords editor at The Herald. The paper also lost Conrad Wilson, its erudite and fearless music critic, who died in November aged 85. Nicola Barry, the journalist and author who won numerous newspaper industry awards for her work as a columnist for The Herald and many other titles, died in January aged 66.