GROWING up in rural Scotland in the 1970s couldn't have been further from the hell of Burma in the Second World War but it hung like a black cloud in the form of my grandfather, David Warden Hay. He was a brave man, a war hero with the medals to prove it, who had volunteered the day the Second World War was declared. Family legend has it that he marched down to the recruiting office with his pals from Govan and his Territorial Army comrades to do his duty for God, King and Country.

He was a member of the King Own Scottish Borderers, long disbanded, and in many ways the war years were the best of his life. He thrived on the adventure, the comradeship, the sense of purpose and rose up the ranks, eventually becoming a captain but there was a terrible price to pay. That price was falling into the hands of the Japanese and ending up in a prisoner of war camp in Burma.

No one knows what he endured – he wouldn't talk of such things – but he was left a broken man, both physically with malaria and mentally. My mother recalled him waking up screaming with night terrors when she was a child.

He drew solace from the veterans' Burma Star Association but he was a difficult, disappointed man. I recall him throwing one of my toys out of the window as it was stamped Made in Japan and I shudder to think what would have happened had my dad dared buy a Japanese car. Sunday lunches were a nightmare for my sister and myself. He would explode if food was left on our plates. At the time I didn't understand why.

He died when I was just a child, and so much of what he did in the war as a member of the Forgotten Army has sadly been forgotten once more. But his medals have pride of place in my house.