Book celebrates Montrose heroes

Author Jock Gallagher
Author Jock Gallagher

A Montrose colonel and a journalist from the town are among several heroes in Scotland to be celebrated in a new book.

The first governor of Tasmania, Colonel William Patterson, from the town, and Montrose journalist Sir Andrew Caird, who was once night editor of the Daily Mail, are among several prominent figures in Angus to be featured in ‘Scotland’s Global Empire’.

The book has been written by former journalist and broadcaster Jock Gallagher and highlights lesser-known Scots and the staggering number of contributions they made to the world.

The Angus folk are among nearly a thousand individuals who make up the writer’s imaginary ‘empire’.

Mr Gallagher said: “It’s not an empire of colonialisation that diminishes and enslaves those it embraces. It’s more an outreach of ideas, the story of human endeavour in its many forms, pushing at the boundaries of the imagination and stretching the accepted order.”

At just 21, Montrose botanist William Patterson was commissioned by the Countess of Strathmore to collect plants in Africa in 1777. He returned to the UK, joined the army and was sent to India for four years. By 1794, he had been promoted to lieutenant colonel. When he returned to Montrose in 1785, Colonel Patterson wrote about his botanical adventures in Africa.

His finest hour was when he was made the first governor of Van Diemen’s Land, now Tasmania, from 1804 to 1808.

Sir Andrew Caird was born Montrose in 1870 and was night editor of the Daily Mail in the 1920s. Lord Northcliffe, owner of the Daily Mail, chose him to accompany him on the British War Mission to America. Caird stayed on to head the administration of the mission’s New York office.

When he returned to the UK, he was knighted.

Also featured in the book is JM Barrie, from Kirriemuir, who famously wrote ‘Peter Pan’. The book talks about his days as a humble journalist.