A lieutenant colonel honoured with an MBE for his services to the military will be remembered as a hero at home, not just in the field, his family has said.

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Paisley man John Lauder, who had a 36-year career in the British Army,  died following a long battle with cancer.

The 82-year-old passed away peacefully at his Corsebar Drive home surrounded by his loved ones earlier this month.

Col Lauder was born in Paisley in 1937 and attended Mossfield School before being enlisted into the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in 1952 as a boy soldier.

Joining the regiment’s 1st battalion in Berlin in 1955, he served during the Suez campaign in 1956, before returning to Scotland in 1958 to work as weapons instructor at Stirling Castle.

There, he was promoted to sergeant and met his wife Bette, who worked in the canteen for the armed forces.

The pair wed the following year and had their daughter Alexis.

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In 1964, Col Lauder moved to Singapore and, while in the Far East, was a platoon commander for three operational tours of Borneo between 1964 and 1966.

He also commanded a platoon in Aden in 1967 and was a company sergeant major of a rifle company in Plymouth and Berlin in 1968 and 1969.

He completed three tours of Northern Ireland throughout the 1970s and, when appointed quartermaster in 1979, he served with the Ulster Defence Regiment.

Rejoining the Argylls between 1981 and 1987, he was appointed quartermaster to Headquarters 3 Armoured Division and Signal Regiment Korbecke when he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and he was posted back to Northern Ireland.

It was during this time in 1988 when Col Lauder was awarded his Member Of The Most Excellent Order Of The British Empire by the Queen.

Family: John and Bette with their great grandchildren

He retired in 1991, but continued to dedicate his life to the armed forces, taking up many civilian roles within welfare services up until 2000.

He was also president of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Association for many years - an organisation he was passionate about until his death.

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But it was his role outside the army that his relatives will remember him best for.

Described as the “backbone” of his family, Alexis said he was affectionately known as big papa by his great grandchildren.

“He was our hero. He was always there at the head of the family,” she said.

“He was always there for advice. He was the backbone of the family. He was a tower of strength to us all.

“He loved his family to bits and loved adventures with his grandchildren and great grandchildren.

“I remember as a child the weekends would be spent taking a drive out somewhere and he carried that on with my children, going off on adventures.

“He loved to see the children all the time, even the babies.”

Battling cancer for four years before this death, Col Lauder was determined to see many significant milestones and marked his diamond wedding anniversary with his beloved Bette in March.

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Always seen together, the pair marked their golden anniversary by renewing their wedding vows in March 2009.

A massive Rabbie Burns fan since his school days, Col Lauder was a member of Glasgow Haggis Club and, as a very active man, enjoyed walking, running, curling and golf, keeping a membership at Paisley Golf Club.

Gradually forced to give up his interests due to ill health, members of these clubs, together with men who served with Col Lauder in the army, have spent this week sharing their memories of their friend with his family.

Alexis added: “We have had so many kind messages and his death has been put on the regiment’s Facebook page.

“We have had so many people say he was a gentleman, that he gave great advice, that they wouldn’t be where they are today without him.

“We are all very proud of my father, who was a silent hero.

“He did not like to bring attention to himself. He just got on with it.

“He was a quiet man who was well respected and trusted by all who knew him.”

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Col Lauder leaves behind wife Bette, daughter Alexis, grandchildren Kerry-ann, Alexis and Sean and six great grandchildren.

His funeral takes place today at Stow Brae Kirk at 1pm.

His family has kindly asked that people make a donation to veterans’ charity Erskine – a cause close to his heart – in lieu of flowers.

They are also reminding all veterans seeking companionship and support that the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Association is always welcoming new members.

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