A former Korean War sniper from the Highlands has died just days before a special ceremony that he had planned to remember his fallen comrades.
Kenny Stewart died last Friday at his home in Blairninich at the age of 83.
He had served with the Black Watch regiment in the Second Battle of the Hook in 1952, where vastly outnumbered British forces successfully repelled Chinese attacks at a strategic stronghold south of Seol.
About 80 people are expected to attend a memorial service next Saturday beside Loch Kinellan, near Strathpheffer, which has been organised by his daughter, Avril Macphee, and her husband Andrew.
During the service a seven-tonne stone will be erected displaying the names of more than 60 men from the Black Watch regiment who fell in the Korean War.
The area had a special meaning for Mr Stewart as it is where he kept his much-loved Clydesdale horse, Chrissie, one of many that he used during his work as a timber contractor through the years.
Mr Stewart’s other daughter, Rona Stuart, is presently compiling her father’s 70-page memoirs – from his military and working life – which will be published soon.
Mr Stewart was born and bred locally in the Heights of Achterneed, and at 18 he joined the Seaforth Highlanders and trained at Fort George, where he was marked down as a potential sniper for his superior observation skills and excellent shot.
In one observation exercise during his training, Mr Stewart was the only soldier to spot a discoloured patch of grass where an “enemy” sniper was camouflaged, while the others claimed he was hiding in bushes.
Mr Stewart transferred to the Black Watch regiment at Dreghorn Barracks in Edinburgh before being posted to Korea, landing in Pusan in June 1952.
He played a pivotal role defending his comrades in the Second Battle of the Hook in November that year, and was among the first generation of snipers to make use of infrared night-scopes on their weapons.
In 1968 he started his own civil engineering company, Kenny Stewart (Strathpeffer) Ltd, which he ran with his wife, Margaret, and has since been passed on to their sons Ian and Alan.
Yesterday Mr Stewart’s daughter, Rona, said: “My father lost a lot of comrades and a few local friends over there. Having a memorial like this is something that all veterans all want to do.
“My father has had a varied life and was a man that always worked, even in retirement. He was well known in the community and just the other day, someone described him as a ‘legend’.”
The memorial service will take place on Saturday, March 12, at 11.30am by Loch Kinellan. A Black Watch Padre will be in attendance along with the families of some of the fallen soldiers.