Three Towns war hero Ted Gear - the oldest member of the Saltcoats, Ardrossan and Stevenston branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland - has died at the age of 101.

Ted, who had been living in a retirement home in Saltcoats, passed away on Sunday, September 3.

Earlie this year the Saltcoats, Ardrossan and Stevenston Legion branch president Paul Coffey presented Ted with his Second World War 'Victory Coin' to mark his contribution to the Allied war effort.

A Legion spokesperson said today: "The Royal British Legion Scotland, Saltcoats, Ardrossan and Stevenston Branch are saddened by the news of Ted Gear's passing.

"Our oldest member and a very proud ex-Navy man, he had plenty of stories of his service days and his exploits to get back home when discharged at the end of WW2.

"Tributes have come in from RBLS HQ and closer to home.

"Not one for the spotlight we did manage, with help from his family, to award Ted with his overdue Victory Coin earlier this year. He will be missed.

“Fair winds and following seas. Our thoughts go out to Ted's loving family."

Ted was born on February 19, 1922 in a small cottage on Barry Island, just to the west of Cardiff.

Ted enlisted in the Royal Navy on March 26, 1940, and after basic training ‘up north’, he joined the ‘ship’ that was to be his home for the next six years - a Harbour Defence Motor Launch.

He sailed around the world with many convoys. His boat's duties whilst in port included protecting the bigger warships and cargo ships.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Ted Gear received his WW2 Victory Coin in June of this yearTed Gear received his WW2 Victory Coin in June of this year (Image: Contributed)

Ted described sailing around stationary convoys and dropping three small depth charges at a time, aimed at deterring enemy divers and small submersibles - a dangerous, but important job.

In 1942 whilst in home waters, Ted was given two days' special leave to marry his sweetheart, Betty McCallum.

They had met whilst Ted was on a run ashore previously in Ardrossan, and they had kept in touch.

The marriage was a rush affair due to Ted's naval duties, and took place in the registry office at the ‘Iron Brig’ in Ardrossan Road, Saltcoats.

Having survived the war, and in 1946 having attained the senior rank of Coxswain, Ted was demobbed - though his ship was in Burma at the time he got the news, so it took more than three weeks to get home.

The worst part of the trip, according to Ted, was the five day journey through Burma, India and down to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). He still recalls the very basic trains - and his very sore backside!

Back in the UK, Ted made his way back to the Three Towns, where his beloved Betty was waiting.

The couple settled in the local area, and Ted began a new career on the railways, eventually becoming a train driver.

In 1946, shortly after returning home, he was "marched down" to the Ardrossan Masonic by his father-in-law Willy McCallum, and joined the 320 Masonic Lodge, based in Castle Craigs - now the Ardrossan Indoor Bowling Club, where the then Lord Eglinton was the Master.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Ted during his naval serviceTed during his naval service (Image: Legion Scotland)

Ted retired due to eyesight problems when he was 63.

Sadly his wife Betty passed away, but between them they had five children, nine grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren, some of now live are in Australia.

The Victory Coin was produced by Legion Scotland in August 2020 to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the war, with the intention that it be presented to all surviving veterans of the conflict.

But Ted rebuffed the prospect of a formal presentation when he was contacted about his coin, instead being determined that he didn't want any fuss.

In June, though, Paul "just popped in" to pay Ted a visit - with the full agreement of Ted's family - and had the honour of presenting the centenarian with his Victory Coin on behalf of Legion Scotland, Poppy Scotland and the Scottish Government.

Ted's funeral details are yet to be revealed, but the local Legion brach are expecting to be paying a full tribute to man who was their oldest member.

Our thoughts are with Ted's family and friends at this sad time.