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Ian Rutherford

Soldier and lawyer;

Born: February 28, 1916; Died: November 15, 2012.

Ian Rutherford, who has died aged 96, was a former member of the Highland Light Infantry who played a crucial role in Allied operations in Belgium during the Second World War and went on to become a respected lawyer in Glasgow.

Born in Kilmacolm, he moved to Lenzie with his parents when he was young. He attended Glasgow Academy where, as he admitted himself, he failed to distinguish himself either as a scholar or at sports, and later Merchiston, where he did better. His first job was as an office boy at Glasgow solicitors, Martin, Mackay & Macquaker. In 1935 he became an apprentice with Tindal Oatts & Rodger and matriculated in law at Glasgow University in 1937.

He joined the Territorial Army in 1937 when there was concern over German rearmament and, after war was declared, joined the Highland Light Infantry. His first experience in action was when his battalion, unaware of the Dunkirk evacuation, crossed from Southampton to France on June 9, 1940, and moved towards Paris to thicken up a battle line held by the French army.

The division could not understand why they were there and there was no instruction from the commanders. It became clear they had been singled out as a political sacrifice to be left behind to support the defeated French army. Thankfully the divisional commander ignored the order to remain.

Mr Rutherford progressed rapidly up the ranks in B Company, becoming major and second in command. It was in this post he took part in the operation to secure the island of Walcheren in Belgium in October and November 1944.

Mr Rutherford was in command of B Company whose first task was to secure the causeway into Walcheren. On October 30 the division embarked in assault landing craft across the River Scheldt and landed without opposition on the mainland at Beveland. One-third of the way along the causeway they came under intense enemy fire. Mr Rutherford made it back to HQ to report the position and seek support for his depleted company (about two-thirds had been lost). He then returned to his trench until RAF Typhoon fighter bombers cleared the enemy from their trenches. He received a mention in dispatches for his actions.

On demob, he was offered a place as an unqualified clerk at Moncrieff, Warren, Paterson & Company, one of the oldest firms in Glasgow, and became a partner on January 1, 1948. He retired from the partnership in 1983 after nearly 50 years in law. Moncrieff, Warren, Paterson amalgamated the following year with McGrigor Donald & Company.

Away from the law, he enjoyed shooting and golfing. Curling was also a passion and at the age of 94 he threw the first stone at the 2010 Scottish North v Scottish South Grand Match at Braehead.

He is survived by his wife Dor, two sons Tim and Don, four grandchildren and one great grandchild.

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