Real Lives: Robert takes limo tour of old haunts to mark 100th

Robert McMillan celebrates his birthday in style
Robert McMillan celebrates his birthday in style
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Robert McMillan, a former mechanic with the Royal Engineers and the Co-operative Motor Group, has celebrated his 100th birthday.

The youngest and sole survivor of seven children of Duncan and Margaret, he celebrated his birthday in style by taking a chauffeur-driven limousine tour around Edinburgh, where he visited the haunts of his youth and other spots that hold a sentimental significance for him, including Granton Harbour.

Robert was born on June 6, 1912, on Lower Granton Road, where he lived without hot water and often went to play by the harbour as a child.

He went to school in the area, but by the age of 15 had already started working as a mechanic for the Co-operative Motor Group, where he spent his entire career until he retired at the age of 65.

During the Second World War, he served his country for two and a half years, serving as a mechanic for the Royal Engineers Corps in Egypt.

He met his wife Agnes in 1933 and they married in 1939, subsequently moving to Crewe Crescent where they lived for more than 60 years.

Agnes herself was a skilled seamstress who produced school uniforms for Fettes College in Edinburgh for a period, although the two never had any children of their own.

Theirs was a happy marriage that lasted 69 years, and Joan Gunn, Robert’s niece, said that the two were inseparable.

“He and his wife did everything together, they toured all over Scotland – he was always very keen on his car, he took good care of it and it shone like a beacon,” she said.

Another of the couple’s passions was enjoying a good portion of fish and chips, and Robert and his wife used to make the journey to Harry Ramsden’s by Newhaven Harbour at least twice a week for their dinner.

However, after suffering a stroke in 2004, Agnes was admitted to the Eildon House care home, where Robert dutifully joined her in March 2004 and demonstrated heart-warming devotion.

“He came here [the care home] in March 2004 and he wouldn’t go out,” said Mrs Gunn. “He wouldn’t go anywhere, but just sat there beside her until she died.

“She couldn’t speak to him, but he wanted to be there by her side in the hope that she might speak to him.”

In his spare time, Robert used to enjoy watching television, particularly football and snooker, and was a voracious reader of western novels.

Due to his age his days are quieter now, and he is said to be somewhat “overwhelmed” by the vagaries of today’s changing world.

Nevertheless, Mrs Gunn described how he had always led a content and active life, and that today he remains “a very jovial, a very happy person”.