Jane Durham, farmer active in public life; born May 26, 1924, died April I, 1997

JANE DURHAM, wife of a Royal Navy war hero and herself active in civic life in the Highlands in particular and Scotland in general over many years, has died at the age of 73 in hospital in Inverness after a road accident near her Easter Ross home.

The only daughter of a farmer, Jane, nee Paterson, was brought up on Ord Farm, Invergordon, Easter Ross. For more than 30 years Jane, of Scotsburn House, Kildary, Easter Ross, farmed a 1300-acre livestock and hill farm there with her former Naval officer husband Philip.

She met Phil, the son of an Edinburgh Argyll and Sutherland Highlander while he was on shore leave at the wartime Royal Navy base in Invergordon. They married in 1947 but only six weeks later, while serving as a captain of a submarine in Londonderry, Phil contracted polio and has been wheelchair bound ever since.

As well as caring for her husband, Jane raised a family of three boys and the couple handed over the reins of the farm to their oldest son, Richard, in 1978.

Jane was active in public life. She served for 10 years as a commissioner on the Royal Commission for Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland, a position she had to give up on reaching her 70th birthday in 1994.

Jane played an active role in this body, which is charged by the Government with the responsibility of surveying and recording Scottish monuments connected with the culture, civilisation, and conditions of life of the people in Scotland since earliest times.

The Commission also compiles and maintains the National Monuments Record of Scotland, as a record of the archaelogical and historical environment.

Since its establishment early last year, Jane had served as a trustee of Scottish Redundant Churches Trust, which aims to find uses for churches no longer required for religious purposes, so that the buildings can be retained for the future.

Among her many other public offices was chairing the Tain and Easter Ross Civic Trust, a position she held until her death.

Last year retired farmer Phil wrote of his Second World War naval career in his memoirs The Fuhrer Led, But We Overtook Him. As a midshipman, he saw active services in a battleship, an anti-submarine trawler, a cruiser, a destroyer, and a battle-cruiser.

The title of the book alludes to the role for which he is nationally famous. Phil was one of only a handful of sailors who went to war for the Allies in a German U-boat.

He sailed in patrols against enemy shipping off Norway in HMS Graph, the former Nazi submarine U 570, which had been captured almost undamaged by the British in 1941.

Above the submarine's engine room control panel was a board stating ''Fuhrer Befiel, Wir Folgen''' (The Fuhrer Leads, We Follow).

Mrs Durham is survived by her husband Philip, and sons Richard, Robin, and William. The youngest son, William, who runs his own import/export business in Taiwan, returned home following the death of his mother.