Top linguist Gordon Stuart dies

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Gordon Stuart, former owner of Colliston Castle, Angus, died on February 15 at the age of 91.

A gifted linguist, he had lived at the castle for most of his life until a few years ago, when the family moved to the West Coast to help his youngest daughter set up a campsite business there.

The late Gordon Stuart

The late Gordon Stuart

Married to Judy for 51 years, the couple had four children and six grandchildren.

Throughout his life, Gordon used his exceptional gift as a linguist to the full and eventually learned to understand and speak some 28 foreign languages.

At Cambridge, he gained an Honours degree in Latin and Ancient Greek, combined with French and German.

Later, he graduated again from London University, this time in Russian and Polish. He was told by Polish friends that he was as fluent as a native speaker in their language.

Gordon was a teacher for many years, latterly at Arbroath High School.

He retired from teaching in his fifties and for the rest of his active life, worked as a professional translator, very much in demand for his skills. Some of the languages he spoke, such as Hungarian or Finnish, had few translators available.

He was president of the Institute of Linguists (Scottish branch) and, at one point, was runner-up in a contest to be named “Polyglot of Europe”.

He had many interests and his other main focus, apart from his family, was in aircraft recognition, with which he became involved at the time of the last World War.

He greatly regretted that, for health reasons, he was unable to serve in the armed forces. Instead, however, he joined the Royal Observer Corps, where he was able to carry out important work, spotting enemy aircraft.

His other love was Colliston Castle.

He will be missed by his family and many friends.