Teacher and Boys' Brigade Captain;
Born: April 21, 1924; Died: September 9, 2013.
Douglas Shaw, who has died aged 89, was born in Clydebank where he lived for most of his life. He survived the blitz there and recalls having to go to the ruins of his father's post office and newsagent to rescue the contents of the safe the morning after and carefully walking round an unexploded parachute mine a short distance from his house.
He attended Clydebank High School, until it too was destroyed in the blitz, and then Dumbarton Academy. There were few ways of avoiding being called up for armed service but one was having exceptional academic ability and as a result he was allowed to attend Glasgow University. He graduated BSc Honours in chemistry in 1945 and celebrated by watching Scotland play England at Hampden Park.
After starting work as a chemist for the Petroleum Board in Bowling, he decided teaching was what he really wanted to do. He trained at Jordanhill College and his first job was at Bearsden Academy.
In the immediate post war years, his passion was The Boys' Brigade and at the age of 24 he became captain of the 7th Clydebank Company, Radnor Park Church of Scotland. For four years he worked full time for the BB as a training officer for Scotland and Northern Ireland. During this time, he made some deep and lasting friendships.
At 26, he was made a church elder. His Christian faith played a central part in his life and his approach to the world. He was an occasional lay preacher and for many years served as a bible class leader. His faith was informed and inspired by three great Scottish churchmen of his generation: George MacLeod, Tom Allan and William Barclay.
His faith led him to have a strong commitment to social justice. He was a lifelong supporter of the Labour Party and CND. For many years he served on his local Christian Aid Committee and was depute chairman of Clydebank's first children's panel. For 29 years he was also a justice of the peace.
He taught at Govan High for three years and Hutchesons Boys Grammar for eight. He then returned to Govan to become principal teacher of chemistry for seven years.
In 1972 he moved to Braidfield High in Clydebank, first as assistant headteacher and then deputy head. After the unexpected resignation of the rector, he spent the last year of his career as headteacher before retiring in 1985.
He was a strong advocate of comprehensive education and went to great lengths to ensure that those who were less academically gifted were fully valued. He used all kinds of imaginative ways to get his educational message across.
As deputy head, many of the school's more challenging problems were brought to him to solve, such as, who had deliberately set off the fire alarm or who had written less than flattering comments about him on walls of the boys' toilet. Combining the techniques of Clint Eastwood and Hercule Poirot, he rarely failed to find and apprehend the perpetrators, much to the amazement of both staff and pupils who were in awe of his powers, a mystique he took some delight in cultivating.
Although a man of principle and drive, those who were closest to him would say that when the mood arose, he could be hilariously funny. The arrival of grandchildren and later great-grandchildren gave him all the audience he needed.
He and his wife of 61 years, Betty, enjoyed many visits to the Island of Colonsay where they became friends with many of the islanders.
He is survived by Betty, a son, a daughter, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
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