Obituary: Brigadier Iain Taylor OBE, businessman and army cadet commandant

Born: 1 June, 1931, in Dundee. Died: 14 May, 2013, in Kellas, Angus, aged 81

Brigadier Iain Taylor
Brigadier Iain Taylor

WHEN schoolboy Iain Taylor joined the cadet corps at the age of 11, it was the catalyst for a lifetime of service to the armed forces and his native Dundee. Almost half a century later, he would take command of Scotland’s entire combined cadet force, while playing a leading role in charities supporting veterans, and others, in his own community and beyond.

Running in tandem with his voluntary work was a successful career as a jute and engineering merchant, during which he helped to establish Dundee’s Junior Chamber of Commerce.

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Growing up during the Second World War, he first became involved with the cadets in 1942 as a pupil at Dundee High School and continued in the Junior Training Corps when he moved to Edinburgh’s Merchiston Castle School.

He was a gifted pupil both academically and on the sports field, where he captained the cricket XI and was vice-captain of the rugby team. After leaving school in 1950, he began his national service with the Royal Air Force regiment, serving in Germany and becoming a pilot officer the following year. He later joined the Territorial Army’s Fife and Forfar Yeomanry, which he served for 21 years and became its commanding officer.

His business life began in the family’s William S Taylor & Sons jute and flax waste merchants firm in Dundee. He went on to work for jute goods merchant A Watson & Co before taking a post at engineering merchant John Cooper & Sons. He also held directorships with Century Aluminium and Kinnes Oil Services.

In the mid 1960s, he chaired the town’s Junior Chamber, around the same time as he received the Territorial Decoration for long service to the Territorial Army. After his regiment was disbanded in 1975, he went on to join the Angus and Dundee battalion of the Army Cadet Force as its commanding officer. By 1988, he had been promoted to colonel and received the cadet force medal.

The following year saw him become cadet commandant of Scotland, in charge of 11,000 cadets, a post he held until 1994. During his tenure, he rose to the rank of brigadier and, in 1991, received the OBE at an investiture at Buckingham Palace.

Having retired from business in his early 50s, he devoted a considerable amount of his time to voluntary and charitable work: he was a committee member of Dundee’s Save The Children Fund; chairman of the town’s Earl Haig Fund, Lord Armistead Trust and Scottish Veterans’ Garden City Association. He was heavily involved in the Scottish Veterans’ Residences charity, as a member of its Broughty Ferry Rosendael home’s committee for 18 years before serving as chairman from 1989 to 2001. He was also on its executive council and a trustee.

In addition, he served the Order of St John, the Masons and numerous other organisations, including the Hammermen Trade and Dundee’s Guildry Incorporation, and was an elder of Murroes Parish Church for many years.

His other interests varied widely – from hillwalking, game shooting, fishing and swimming to languages, especially Gaelic, philately, collecting militaria and playing bridge. He also maintained his sporting interests, playing tennis, badminton and squash. He’d been a curler for more than 50 years and was a life member of Dundee Curling and Ski Clubs and past president of the former.

But by far the most important part of his life was his family: he described his marriage to wife Nancy and their life together as “the greatest” event in his life. They married in Dundee in 1956 and honeymooned in Norway before setting up home in Broughty Ferry. Ten years later, they moved to Kellas where they remained.

The couple travelled widely – to America, South Africa and the Mediterranean – and returned to Norway in 2006 to celebrate their golden 

He is survived by Nancy, their sons Alastair and Andrew, daughters Shirley and Sandra and 11 grand-