Thinking back to my early youth I realise that I was
particularly fortunate to have been given the opportunity to see much of the Middle East
and to experience a life style that really no longer exists. It is this which has prompted
me to develop this homepage as perhaps some of the folk I used to know might appear and
say hello after all those years! <grin>.
I was born way back in 1951, January 31st, in Glasgow. My folks decided that it would be better to
introduce me to the world in Glasgow instead of Abadan, part of
Iran. So.. having done the deed I was
exported back to Abadan when I was six weeks old. I'd like to say I enjoyed my flight but
to be honest I really can't remember it <grin>.
My Mother and myself in Abadan when I was around 6 weeks old!
My Grandparents on my Fathers side showing my
Father as a young lad.
A picture of my Grandfather on my Mothers
side taken in the garden of our house at Croftend Avenue, Glasgow
A picture of my Grandmother on my Mothers
side taken with my mother centre, and her sister Linda on left and other sister Anne on
YOUNGEST REFUGEE OUT OF IRAN 1951
When I was 6 months old I had the dubious honour of being the youngest refugee when the
British were kicked out of Iran. You can read a bit about this on BP's homepage where they mention the trouble they had back in
1951. I even got my picture on the front of the Scottish Daily Express :-). This was in
the days of Anglo-Iranian Oil. I'm told that bullets were fired over my cot in the days
just before we left so guess I was rather lucky as I'm still here! :)
My Father and I think this was him in his office in the Anglo-Iranian Oil
Company in Abadan
My father was an accountant in those days and had been site accountant in Little Aden, now
part of Yeman. He used to tell stories
of his days there where they slept on the boat and then walked over a man made jetty of
barges to get to shore. Later they progressed to a kind of tented village and eventually
more solid accommodation came along. This was just after the war in 1946 but I've still
got some excellent colour movie film of some of his time there.
My parents, John & Sybil McIntyre in
retirement at Grangemouth.
After we were kicked out of Abadan we came back
to Scotland where my father got a job with Wimpey building the then BXL plant at BP's site
in Grangemouth. That was when we bought our house which is still in the family today.
After the contract was over we moved to Malta. At that
time my father was working for Wimpey on a NATO project and we lived in Valetta in a block
of flats overlooking the harbour. It was a tourists dream looking over the ancient harbour
but I best remember the cheese cakes!
By this time I was 5 so do remember some of my days there. I remember going to the Tigne
Army School and being met by the school bus with an Army sergeant in charge. I also
remember the Palm Beach Hotel where I can say that there wasn't another building in
sight.... later some friends brought back photos of the Hotel and it was surrounded by
buildings. I also remember the Maratta Club... great gardens, basket chairs and tables on
the lawn with white table cloths and people bringing out tea and drinks.
My class photo at Tigne Army School,
Sounds great... just wish I'd been a bit older
so I could have enjoyed it more. We left Malta after 2 years there when I was 5.5 years of
age and my mother and myself went back to Scotland for 6 months while my father joined the
Kuwait Oil Company. After the obligatory 6 months were out we joined him out there.
Me in Cub uniform in Ahmadi
I'm the goalie playing for the Anglo-American
School team picked for an International match in Ahmadi, Kuwait in 1960
My Father, and I think this was in our house in
My Father was in the Masons and these were some of
his Masonic medals
I used to go to the Anglo-American school in
Ahmadi, Kuwait and had a decided American accent
in those days. Mind you my Aunt Anne and Uncle Paul were Americans so at least I could
speak their language :-).
Pictures of Aunt Anne and Uncle Paul
KOC was joint owned in those days by Gulf Oil and BP but field personnel were mostly
Americans and hence my accent. The days at that school were excellent and I just remember
having a great time. At 10.5 years of age I was bundled of to boarding school at Dollar
Academy in Scotland. Of course there were howls of protest... not about boarding school..
but most of my friends were going to school in Switzerland and I wanted to go there!
BOARDING SCHOOL AT DOLLAR
I enjoyed my time at Dollar and I
used to return to Kuwait during the Spring and Winter breaks but my parents took their
annual leave during the Summer so they came over to Scotland then. We did have six months
in Paris which was fantastic. I particularly remember the street shows where they played
to the people in the buildings and we used to throw money down to them which they caught
in a sheet. I also remember they had loads of miniature golf courses... of course we also
saw all the usual tourist sites. I do well remember that at that time I liked tomato
ketchup with everything... we had gone to this restaurant to have a meal and I'd ordered
fish and wanted tomato ketchup... well the French not to be outdone made up a special
tomato sauce for me.. not ketchup to be sure but excellent. That got me started on other
sauces so you could say the French were responsible for improving my eating habits.
One of my visits to Kuwait co-incided with another threatened invasion of Kuwait by
Iraq. I well remember the paratroopers
coming out as I arrived back one day from school to find half a dozen of them greeting me
when I got home. That's when I learned to play cards and do a few card tricks!
<grin>. The paras got some time off to come into Ahmadi to get a rest from the
sun... and get the benefit of air conditioned accommodation.
The guys had a really rough time there as they landed in the desert during the summer when
it could be 130 F in the shade. Talk about frying an egg on the car bonnet is quite
correct.. I did it! One tale I remember was the then Scottish minister of the local church
was so horrified about their conditions that he spent all his money buying them soft
drinks, etc. He was due to return to Scotland as his term was up and it was only by chance
that it was discovered he had no money left. He was forced to take that days collection so
he at least had something for when he got home... but that was all he would accept.
KUWAIT AND PROHIBITION
In the early days of Kuwait alcohol was allowed but during our years there it was
prohibited. Of course, the folk that could brew their own were rather popular <g>.
Mind you there was so much bad alcohol brewed that KOC turned a blind eye and let the labs
do testing to ensure it was fit to drink. Very kind of them.. who says big industry
BP BOARD DIRECTOR
I well remember one flight back to Kuwait when I was sitting beside this man on the
flight... he made out that he didn't know anything about the oil business so I was telling
him all about gathering centres, and pointing them out as we came into Kuwait airport.
Anyway he seemed quite happy to listen to me. Well some nights later we were off to the
little theatre they had there when this chap comes up to me and shakes my hand and saying
how nice it was to see me again. My father looked on in astonishment and asked how I knew
him... turns out he was one of the main board Directors at BP in London :-) Of course I
realised then that he'd just been very nice to a youngster on the plane. Funnily enough my
father always said that working for BP overseas was like working for a different company
when compared with working for them in the UK.
BEING SPOILED IN KUWAIT
Kuwait was an excellent place to live but to show you how you were spoiled rotten... the
local club.. Hubarra club.. had it's own swimming pool, indoor and outdoor picture houses,
billiard room, dance hall, restaurant, etc. Well I remember as a 9 year old.. remember by
liking for tomato ketchup.. well I'd just shout for a boy and order chips and tomato
ketchup. Thinking back that was really being spoiled!
OUR COOK PAUL
We had a cook called Paul.. actually that was his surname but that's what we called him.
Paul was excellent and had his own accommodation area at the back of the house. He taught
me to play football and showed me a few illegal tricks as well.. I even played in the
traditional Scotland England game on New Years Day... I was the goalie! We won of course..
Scotland always won in our games.. quite unlike those adults! We used to get marched onto
the field with bagpipes playing and the local Sheikh was always there with his family.
Anyway.. Paul also got me riding a bike... I remember my father deciding he hadn't enough
puff so delegated that training to Paul. Actually one good thing was that my father taught
Paul to drive so he could take my mother around.. and as a result of that Paul got a job
as chauffeur to an Indian General when he want back to Cochin in India. Paul left Kuwait at the same time my
parents retired back in 1967.
Of course Paul was my pal so when the folks went out for an evening to the cinema and we
figured something good was on we'd wait until they left. We'd then run to the cinema... it
was convenient that there was a small hill outside the outside cinema so you could sit on
the hill and watch the film.. you could hear it as well although not too well. Of course
when it finished we had to race back to beat my parent returning... and of course they
were none the wiser! :-)
KUWAITS SOCIAL LIFE
Social life... well it was great! Think of a club and we had it.. yacht club, motor club,
fishing club, model aeroplane club, Go-Kart club, archery club.. and on it went. There was
never a shortage of things to do. I remember one day we got the chance to go out on one of
the sea going tugs which escorted the tankers in. The small motor launch we went out in
was almost sunk in heavy seas but we eventually made it to the tug. One of the most
gigantic Persians I've ever seen just grabbed my arm and hauled me over onto the tug. It
was like I was just a feather... he did the same to my father so we both made it onto the
tug. I have to admit that we didn't think we'd have ever got on from the launch without
that Persians help. Anyway we had a great time and I wasn't even the least bit sea sick.
Actually the only time in my life when I did feel sea sick was on a ferry across to
Denmark and it had stabilisers!
KUWAIT, THE HEAT
Oil of course was important and in Kuwait there was so much gas that they burned it off
and so it was free. It seems daft but during the winter we really did need a gas fire in
the house as it was real cold. The change in temperature was such that 130 degrees during
the day could drop to 60 degrees at night and so it felt really cold. Of course if you'd
just arrived from Scotland you felt like you were walking into an oven when the aircraft
MY INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTERS
My father was in charge of the computer dept at KOC and so my introduction to computers
came early with big ICL mainframes.
My first computer with my father standing
back right :-)
I remember that the room was huge... had to be air
conditioned and had copper grids screening the windows. To think how things have
progressed since is quite amazing. I remember my father talking about 4k of memory on his
mainframe when he got an Amstrad PCW computer with 256k of memory as a present!
Of course by being at boarding school and resident in Kuwait I never saw television, apart
from an odd program or two, until I was around 17. This meant I came from a generation
that learned to read, listen to music and attended parties instead of sitting at the
goggle box. In Kuwait there were always parties on and of course as most people had a stay
in cook it was rather easy to organise. Great times were had by all! The BBC overseas service was a must to catch up on what was
happening... of course sometimes the reception wasn't that good which was highly
READING AND BOOKS
I've always enjoyed reading and while I read just about anything at all Science Fiction
has always been a favourite of mine. Am very keen on Anne McAffrey and particularly
enjoyed her Pern series (there is an alt.fan.pern newsgroup). I reckon to buy around 5
books a month and also subscribe to the Readers Digest Condensed Books. I think we've got
every one since they started the series... my parent first took them and when they died I
continued the subscription. In fact on their 100th issue they repeated one of the stories
from the 1st book and I was one of the ones that complained about a repeat! <grin>.
Dollar Academy gave me a great education... I really enjoyed the school and all the
facilities they offered. Being a boarder was actually quite easy... I was in Dewar House
with a Mr Oliver as our house master (although I now understand it's now a girls boarding
house). An excellent house and I have to say that I don't believe there was any bullying
or such in all my time there. I'd certainly recommend the school to anyone thinking of
placing their kids at a boarding school. The other good thing about Dollar was that it is
in the country.. so as boarders we got the chance each Sunday in the summer to go off on
picnic teas. The house provided us with appropriate food and off we would go. There used
to be an excellent river running through Glen Devon and it had two excellent sizes pools
where swimming was excellent. I remember taking a friend back there in later years to show
her where we used to go and was horrified to see a reservoir had been built on the spot
I was quite an athlete at Dollar... I well remember that a
friend of mine, Ron Johnston, and myself would go in for the annual cross country race. We
always finished last equal <g>. Mind you I don't know who made up the list but
whoever it was did a very fair job in that in the first race I had my name at the top
bracketed last equal and the next year Ron got his name above mine :-)
MY EARLY CAREER
Well when I left school I joined WP & JA Scott, (now Scott Oswald & Co.)
chartered accountants training to become an accountant. I had the grand salary of 350.00
pounds per year! When I left three years later I was on 480.00 pounds per year! I joined
British Home Stores in Coventry as a Trainee Manager and had a fantastic social life.
Can't say I enjoyed the work much but the social life was excellent... loads of parties..
I remember I stayed for a time in the top flat of a multi-storey building and coming back
home at night got into the lift with a policeman.. who told me he had complaints about a
wild party on the 12th floor.. what floor are you going to... Err.. 11th will do nicely!
After my year with British Home Stores I joined Gallaher Ltd the tobacco manufacturers as
a salesman. Now this was an excellent job in that I had been earning around 1350 pounds
per year but this new job gave me 1450 pounds plus company car and free cigarettes! WOW! I
was in the realms of luxury! <grin>. Actually I really enjoyed this job and spent
lots of time down in Devon & Cornwall, all over Wales, North, South and West... and
have to say that the Welsh are excellent people. Especially in the West and South... great
people. Some of my best times were spent down there. I really worked all over England from
the Midlands down. I was still living in Coventry at the time.
Anyway.. as I wasn't getting promoted fast enough I decided to turn my hand at selling
insurance... well after getting people to buy cigarettes I figured it was now time to get
them some life cover! :) I joined Hill Samuel Unit Life Services as a self employed agent
and after around 15 months left to join Legal & General as they also allowed you to
sell general insurance as well as life, pensions, etc.
MOVING ON TO CARNATION FOODS AND RETURN
I was just starting to get established when my father had a heart attack and when I went
back up to be with my folks in Scotland I also discovered my mother was losing her
eyesight. So.. I figured I should move home to help out... and not being able to transfer
with Legal & General I sought another job and got the District Sales Managers job with
Carnation Foods looking after the 6 man sales team in Scotland.
This is myself preparing a sales meeting in
our garden in Grangemouth.
Had a great time with Carnation and this is where I got my
first introduction to computers. It was during this time that my father retired for the
second time as Data Processing Superintendent at BP in Grangemouth.
This was my fathers retirement picture that
went into the local paper.
EX-GOLF CLUB CAPTAIN DIES
My father died September 1986 and got this write
up in the local paper:-
ONE of the prime movers behind the establishment
of Grangemouth golf course at Polmonthill has died.
Mr John McIntyre, 141 Bo’ness Road, Grangemouth
was 77. He died suddenly at his
A founder member of the steering committee
formed to put the
case for an 18-hole municipal course to
be built in the area, Mr McIntyre went on to
be the first treasurer of the club when it
opened in 1973. Four years later, at the age of 68,
he was made club captain.
A man who spent
the early part of his career working for
major chemical corporations, Mr McIntyre
latterly worked for BP Chemicals in Grangemouth as superintendent in the data
Grangemouth club professional Mr John Black said:
"John was a lovely person who worked long and hard to get this golf club
"He was always a man you could
respect and trust. Grangemouth
Golf Club members
have a lot to be grateful to John McIntyre for."
captain, Mr Norrie Wardlaw, said:. "John was one of the
men who stayed in
the background but always carried out his duties in a responsible and efficient
fashion. His death is a sad loss to
"He will be greatly missed. I for one am very grateful
for all his efforts. He was a fine
Mr McIntyre’s funeral was to Falkirk Crematorium
on Tuesday. As a mark of respect the golf club lowered its flag to half-mast on
Mr McIntyre, whose wife Sybil died last year, is
survived by a son. AIastair.
I was with Carnation for some 7 years and then the company was taken over by Nestle and we
were all made redundant. It was at that time I decided to start my own computer business
as I'd been working with computers for some three years and reckoned I could be a better
dealer than most of the ones I'd visited. So.. off I went and started up my business...
START OF MY OWN BUSINESS
At first I did some training.. then got an introduction to BP through an association I had
with another computer company. That company went down the tubes but as I at least had done
a good job in BP a guy there by the name of Bill Stevenson decided to take a chance and
gave me an order for some software. Since that order I established my own company Almac
Computer Services Ltd. in 1988 and things just continued to grow. I was doing mostly small
jobs for them but they then asked if I could supply PC's and when I said I didn't actually
have enough money to buy them for resale they helped me out with the first few orders my
paying on delivery. That was a great help and this allowed me to establish credit terms
and never looked back since... so thanks BP!
This is a picture of, from left, Craig Dunn, Vickie Mather and myself when we
were working as a computer dealership. Vickie was the Office Manager and Craig
Dunn did a lot of the support work and helped with the BBS.
Since then of course there have been many changes
amongst which I started up a Bulletin Board Service (Almac BBS) with my then fellow
Director John Wilson. We really started it with the view to helping our remote clients.
They could upload a program they were having problems with and we could then fix it and
put it back for them to download. It saved hours in travelling time!. The
company was formed on
18 Jun 1992.
While we were browsing around in this new on-line community
we noted a large public BBS in Scotland was looking for someone to run it for 6 months
while the SysOp was off abroad on an assignment. We decided why not as it would increase
our knowledge and give us experience of a public system. So, in short the chap arrived
with some 300 floppy disks... his BBS! Well after a rather long time we got it all
installed on our network and off we went. The service grew to be the largest of its type
in Europe but of course the Internet made a rather big impact on it especially when the
Web came into being :-)
Today I'm in the process of developing Electric Scotland
which I hope will be a great place for Scots the world over to drop in and have a
blether. As at the year 2001 the Electric Scotland web site gets over
5,500 visitors per day with 94% of our visitors coming from outside the UK and
mostly from the US and Canada. Our public message WebBoard has now been
responsible for three marriages and there are lots of general friendships being
Toward the end of 2002 we've become the online
home of the Scots Independent Newspaper which is Scotland's oldest political
newspaper being started in 1926. We now get over 12,000 visitors a day
peaking at over 15,000 as at October 2002 so we must be doing something right.
We got a mention in the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Newsletter, No.
14.1, Sept 2002, page 8. It reads as follows:
Electric Scotland now hold around 10,000 web pages on historical matters
pertaining to Scotland, Scots and people of Scots descent and is the largest
Scottish history site on the web. It has now also become the online home of the
Odom Library in Georgia and its Family Tree newspaper which is the largest
genealogy publication in the world and the largest Scottish publication outside
Here is me after my trip to the US at Christmas '97 in
I'm on the left with Donna, Buck & The_Innkeeper.
You can visit Donna, Buck and Amanda's homepage by clicking
here and they also
have a great mining section as well!
and this is me with my caffeine free Sprite which turned out to be neat gin hence my
and from left to right is me, Buck and The Innkeeper with Amanda in the front
Donna & Buck)
And here is me at New Year 2000
And here is me in my messy office in 2001
And here is me in my new home office in 2002
Became an FSA Scot in 2002
Myself and Ranald McIntyre, Christmas 2002
Receive Honorary Membership of Clan MacIntyre
at the Scottish Weekend at Moultrie, Georgia 2003.
I was told this is only the second honorary membership they've awarded.
Sold my house July 2003 which has been in the family
for 50 years
some of my genealogy here
see what happens when you reach the BIG 50!
my Jung Type Indicator
Submission to the Scottish Parliament on Tourism and VisitScotland
From Scottish Parliament Archives