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Sir Hugh Reid

Scion of one of Glasgow's great industrial families;

Born: November 27, 1933; Died: November 20, 2012.

SIR Hugh Reid, who has died aged 78, was a scion of one of Glasgow's great industrial families. His death marks the end of the line for a baronetcy which was forged amid the iron and steel of locomotive manufacture.

At one time the North British Locomotive Company was the largest producer of steam trains in the world. From its base in Springburn, its locomotives were shipped to the far-flung corners of the British Empire. Even today many of the trains, with their distinctive diamond-shaped work plates, are still in use in Africa and India.

The business was created in 1903 by the merger of three Glasgow companies, Sir Hugh's grandfather, an engineer who was also called Hugh, was its deputy chairman and managing director. He was the joint inventor in 1905 of the Reid-Ramsey steam-turbine electric locomotive. At the height of its success, the company employed between 7000 and 8000 workers and in 1922, in honour of his services to the city, Hugh Reid was created the first Baronet Reid of Springburn and Kilmaurs. Sadly, the North British Locomotive Company failed to adapt to the new age of electric and diesel traction and the firm folded in 1962.

When Sir Hugh died in 1935 his eldest son Douglas succeeded to the baronetcy. However, he had no connection to the locomotive industry and took instead to farming.

On his death in 1971, the title went to his son, Hugh, who, like his father, concentrated on the family's farming interests in Lochcarron, and Auchterarder.

The 3rd Baronet never married and had no children. Thus, the baronetcy ends with his death.

Born in Lochcarron, he was educated at Loretto's School in Mussleburgh. He inherited his family's gift for machinery and served as a mechanic in the RAF, seeing service in first Egypt and then Cyprus between 1952 and 1956. He attained the rank of Flying Officer and continued in the Volunteer Reserve until 1975. During the 1960s he also worked as a self-employed travel consultant. He was an authority on military history.

Though he was never involved in the company, Sir Hugh was fiercely proud of his predecessors' industrial achievements and served as honorary president of the North British Locomotive Preservation Group.

In the late 1970s Sir Hugh faced severe financial difficulties and was eventually sequestrated. However, in the fullness of time he was able to repay his debtors every penny he owed them with interest.

Sir Hugh had grown to love Cyprus during his period there with the RAF and it was no surprise when he eventually retired to the picturesque village of Vouni near Limassol. It was there, earlier this year, that he became seriously ill and came back to live the last few months of his life at his niece Margaret's home in County Galway.

After his death, his remains were repatriated to Scotland and he was buried in the old churchyard at Lochcarren.

Sir Hugh is survived by his sister Joan, brother-in-law John and by his many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, grand nephews and great-grand-nephews.

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