Obituary: Jock Edgar, a guitterbluid through and through

Jock Edgar
Jock Edgar

Born: October 16, 1920,
Hawick. Died: March 23, 2016, Hawick. Aged 95.

Hawick’s West End has the Loan, Mote Park, Mote Hill and the Vertish Hill. And until his recent passing the West End had Jock Edgar.

A Hawick man who was as much part of the West End as the latter landmarks – and a guitterbluid through and through.

Jock was the youngest of a big family, having six sisters – Liz, Agnes, Annie, Belle, Nan and Maggie and three brothers – Rob, Wull and Frank (who died in infancy).

Proud to be a Teri, Jock went to Drumlanrig school as well as Hawick High.

By his own admission, he was not much of a scholar but loved his boyhood days, spending time playing in Mote Park and over the Back Braes.

A lot was to unfold from these young callant days.

Jock began his working life in Willglen Mill but soon switched to pastures new in moving to Mactaggarts, better known as the skinworks where he was to remain for more than 30 years.

During this period he worked beside many other Hawick worthies such as Tully Bell, Wullie ‘Voo’ Robertson ‘Taio’ Anderson, Mattie Oldham and Ronnie Tait.

In later years, Jock worked in Lyle & Scott’s, Wilson and Glenny’s and Turnbull the Dyers.

On July 15, 1940, he was called up by the RAF, and was firstly posted to Blackpool to train as a ground gunner and then transferred to Durban, South Africa. His duties, in turn, took him to North Africa, Italy, the Middle East and France.

He was, on occasion, under heavy enemy fire and was at Tobruk when the British retreated as the Germans broke through.

Overall, Jock spent six years in the RAF. He was honoured in receiving the North African Star, Italian Star and 1939-45 war and service medals.

Jock has told many stories about his experiences of these times. One such tale being that while in the Middle East he visited the hill at Calvary. Jock was not a religious man but he said that he felt something there that he could not explain, something that he was never to experience again.

Sport was a big part of Jock’s life, especially rugby. A second-row forward, he firstly played for Hawick Harlequins and Hawick YMCA before joining Hawick Linden.

Jock was to remain with the Royal Blues for the remainder of his playing days. On hanging up his boots he became a committee member and went on to become club president and was made a life member.

He also played golf to a high standard as well as cricket in the then very popular parks league in which matches were played during week-day evenings.

Jock was captain of the skinworks Mactaggart’s side and rightly claimed he was the captain of the MCC.

Prior to playing rugby, Jock was involved in football for a short while. And although not a Catholic he played in goal for Hawick St David’s Catholic Church team. His involvement was shortlived, though. The team strip was stolen and due to not being able to afford another one the team folded.

Jock had a great love and passion for the Common-Riding. He took great pride in singing at The Hut on several occasions and described this as the greatest feeling on earth.

Jock, who waited until he was 57 before becoming a Mosstrooper, loved a day with friends up the Mair and would always say: “A bottle of Export, a rum and a song – it disnae get any better than this.”

Another great joy of Jock’s was walks around Hawick, mainly with his cousin and close buddy Jackie Richardson.Hayside and Goldielands, the reservoir and The Flex, Fenwick, Whitchesters and Seicroft being their most favoured routes.

Jock liked to socialise. His favourite watering hole being the High Level Bar in Green Terrace, where he always enjoyed the good-humoured banter.

Following the war, Jock married Betty Aitken in 1947. They were to part six years later but a son, Keith, was to come from the marriage.

After the marriage had dissolved Jock met Ena Beatson and they had many happy years together.

Jock is survived by son Keith, daughter-in-law Sharon, grandson David, granddaughter Jennifer and great-grandson Kian.

Jock Edgar may no longer be with us but his spirit will always be deep in the heart of Hawick and the town’s West End.

– JSS