Jack Gillespie was born in 1909 and celebrated his 100th birthday on 4th August 2009. In his youth he enjoyed sports and keenly participated in cricket, athletics and particularly boxing.
Belonging to a Scottish family in Liverpool, Jack, not unexpectedly, joined the Liverpool Scottish Regiment (10th Bn. King’s Regiment) as a territorial; spending his holidays each year at the camps in the Isle of Man and Catterick. This regiment acted as a feeder battalion for the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders. After the outbreak of War, Jack carried out his Army training in Edinburgh and saw action in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Bulgaria and Austria.
When time allowed and there was a break in the fighting, Jack wrote many poems to help raise the morale of his colleagues in ‘A’ Company. These writings, which were passed around the rank and file, contained poignant and subtly placed words in rhyme – which though acceptable in this format, would otherwise have found him put on a charge by his superior officers. To mark his 100th Birthday this book containing all his surviving war poems has now been published.
* As featured in The Daily Telegraph and The Scotsman *