Obituary: Peter Ross, 95

Peter Ross kept a secret prison diary during the war. Picture: comp
Peter Ross kept a secret prison diary during the war. Picture: comp
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PETER Ross, a well-known and respected postmaster in the Restalrig and Leith area, has died, aged 95.

Mr Ross was born at home in Leith Walk on Friday, June 13, 1919. The family soon moved to Restalrig, where he was brought up in the house behind the family business with his elder brother, Donald, while their parents, Colin and Annie Ross, and aunt Elizabeth Glen ran the post office.

Educated at George Heriot’s School, he enjoyed a fit and happy childhood, a highlight of which was a flight around Turnhouse airport in an early biplane in the mid 1920s.

He spent a few years after school working in the civil service, based in Glasgow, but with the outbreak of the Second World War he joined the Royal Signals and was soon posted to Singapore. The island fell to the Japanese within months of his arrival and he had the unhappy task of sending the signal of surrender.

The privations of three-and-a-half years as a Japanese prisoner of war left an indelible mark. Unknown to his captors, he managed to keep a secret diary, written with a stub of pencil on sheets of rice paper detailing what he endured. It ultimately returned home with him and has recently been privately published.

His horrendous experience enabled him to put into context the inevitable peaks and troughs, trials and tribulations alongside the high points which marked his life in the years that followed.

After his release, he spent time in America where his strength was regained, then returned to Edinburgh and married his sweetheart, Mary Green, in 1947. Peter then joined the family business, becoming the second generation to run it.

A long, happy marriage ensued, bringing the birth of three children, Glenn, John and Anne. John later became the third generation to run the business.

While the family was still young they took on a second project – setting up and running the well respected and successful Marvin Guest House in Pilrig, which continued to also be their home until their later years.

In 2000, after being widowed, Peter downsized and in his 80s moved to a flat near Inverleith.

He continued to enjoy a full and busy life, pursuing numerous interests and getting good use of his bus pass, frequently being found in the local auction houses viewing sales, and enthusiastically enjoying exhibitions in the city’s art galleries.

A good deal of time was also spent keeping in contact with the many relatives spread around the world, mainly in the United States, and he was a constant source of family news.

After a fall in late 2013 his health slowly declined but he continued to display a lively interest in all aspects of daily life and was still a voracious reader until the end.