THE last book by a very talented Helensburgh librarian and author has just been published and is now on sale.
'The People's Army: Home Guard in Scotland 1940-1944', by Brian D.Osborne, is available now online and in bookshops.
Brian, who grew up in the burgh at the family home in West Princes Street and regularly returned from his Kirkintilloch home, often to give talks, died suddenly on May 30 2008 while on holiday in Uzbekistan.
In his final book, based on contemporary archive materials and personal accounts, he examines the human story of the Home Guard in Scotland and the impact that this remarkable organisation had on society and on those that became involved with it.
The Home Guard, and its forerunner the Local Defence Volunteers, was genuinely a 'people's army' with its own ethos, character and political influence.
At its peak nearly two million men were enrolled, trained and served without pay in their own time and, usually, after a full day's work at the civilian occupation.
The Home Guard played a vital part in the defence of the country from 1940-1944, but despite its significance the story of the Home Guard in Scotland has never before been fully told.
From Shetland to Galloway, Scottish Home Guardsmen fulfilled a wide range of roles far beyond the popular image of the 'Dad's Army' of general service infantry battalions.
Horseback patrols in the Borders, armoured trains, anti-aircraft gunners at factories throughout Scotland, anti-aircraft rocket batteries from Aberdeen to Greenock all saw the Home Guard actively engaged in the national struggle.
Brian wrote and edited a large number of books, including the best-selling edition of Neil Munro's Para Handy stories and Erchie and Jimmy Swan.
He was best known locally for his 1995 book ‘The Ingenious Mr Bell’ about Helensburgh’s first Provost and the pioneer of steam ship navigation, who lived from 1767 to 1830.
His father, Malcolm Osborne, 94, who has lived in the town for decades, said: "I'm a very proud father. This book will be interesting to the generation which grew up never knowing anything about the war.
"I read every chapter after Brian had written it. I enjoyed it because I had spent six years in the army during the war.”
The book is full of local personalities, landmarks and camaraderie, including tales of hypochondriac patients at Buchanan Castle Military Hospital, close contact with a German pilot for the Royal Artillery at Bonnyton Farm, and the excitement of Home Guard coastal artillery sites such as Ardhallow.