Bruce McKenzie taught soldiers in wartime Italy, and convalescing soldiers in the UK before teaching inmates of Peterhead Prison.
Along the way, Bruce, who has died aged 98, taught hundreds of primary pupils in north-east schools, from Peterhead to Arbroath.
He had a spell lecturing at Aberdeen College of Education, and was also chairman of Bucksburn and Newshills Community Council for six years.
Bruce Carnegie McKenzie, was born in Arbroath, the son of James and Jemima McKenzie.
His father worked in manufacturing in Arbroath, having previously served with the police in Shanghai.
He was educated at Inverbrothock Primary School and then Arbroath High School.
After leaving school he began work in a gentlemen’s outfitters in Arbroath and was later transferred to the firm’s Greenock branch.
Soon he received his call-up papers and, on December 31, 1941, he was conscripted into the Royal Artillery as part of the 8th Army. He began as a gunner and was promoted to sergeant during the course of the war.
Bruce saw action throughout the North Africa campaign, was part of the invasion force in Italy and fought at the Battle of Monte Cassino.
At the end of hostilities, Bruce was transferred to the 8th Army’s education corps as an instructor where he taught soldiers before they returned to their homes.
During his time as an instructor sergeant he taught at Bellagio, Perugia and Palace of Caserta near Naples.
Around this time, a party from the Scottish Education Department came out from the UK to Italy to interview prospective teachers.
Return to Scotland
Bruce went to Milan for the interview, was repatriated in 1946 and then posted to Royal Scots Barracks at Penicuik where he received word that he had been provisionally accepted for teacher training.
In December 1946, he was demobbed and the following month he began teacher training at Queen’s College, Dundee, then part of St Andrews University.
A placement at Arbroath High School teaching English was followed by his first teaching post at Inverbrothock primary in the town.
In Arbroath he met his future wife, Sheila Elizabeth Clunie of Dundee, who was a nurse at the town’s infirmary.
They married in Dundee in 1950 by which time Bruce has secured a post as headteacher of Blackhills School, Peterhead, and the newly married couple moved into the adjacent schoolhouse.
Bruce later took charge of Burnhaven primary in Peterhead and part of his responsibilities was the education of prison inmates in English and maths.
His daughter, Gail, said he was very proud of many of his pupils.
Bruce later became headteacher at Fraserburgh North school where he remained until the family moved to Aberdeen.
He was in charge of Scotstown primary, Cults and Middlefield and also lectured in the methods department of Aberdeen College of Education.
A man of strong faith, Bruce was a member of the Church of Scotland and had served as an elder since 1951, latterly at Newhills Parish Church.
In 1983, when he was 60, Bruce left education but did not feel ready for retirement so he spent five years in the hotel trade organising events and driving buses.
During his retirement, Bruce and Sheila enjoyed many holidays in the UK and around the world. In addition to his his community council work, Bruce also enjoyed golf, bowling and walking his dog.
He is survived by his wife Sheila, son Neil and daughter Gail, two grandchildren and five great-grandsons.