DAVID R ROSS
28th February 1958 - 2nd January 2010
Tributes to David can be found at The Society of William Wallace
DAVID R ROSS was born in Scotland near Glasgow at a very young age. He can trace his family tree back to the 1950's. For as long as he can remember he has had a passion for Scotland, its landscape, its traditions and its history. Every free moment is spent stravaiging around historic sites, battlefields, and castles. He is a keen motorcyclist, as many x-rays can prove. He is looking forward to all the arguments that will take place in the forthcoming Scottish Parliament, showing that the Scots never change. He is 6ft 5in and naturally blond, although he is developing a distinguished touch of grey around the edges. He also has the audacity to think he looks the business in a kilt. His life is an ongoing quest for the truth, as if personally burdened by the bitter-sweet legacy of Wallace. His favourite current saying is "Sorry, can't stop, I have a country to free."
So states the blurb at the front of each of his books. Those privileged to know the man will recognise his pawky, sometimes almost black sense of humour. But there's a lot more to him than that. Anyone who has heard him talk of Wallace and his struggle during the Wars of Independence know that he is fired with an absolute passion for his subject. Each of those privileged enough to have been present at one of his talks carries away with them a sense of this man's devotion to the memory of his subject - and to Scotland herself.
He's a big laddie, standing 6 feet 5 inches tall, and whether resplendent in full biker's black leathers, or the highland garb when he's running about in his ancient Mercedes, is a somewhat noticeable figure wherever he goes. A very approachable man despite his size, David is an excellent ambassador for Scotland.
This is an article which appeared in the Sunday Herald on 11th January 2004, giving a brief outline of the preceding week in David's life as he prepares for the Walk. Unfortunately it was condensed quite a bit from the original one he submitted, a lot of the humour was cut out and it is a rather dry read!
David was asked recently to write a piece for the Times. I'm not sure if or when it will be printed, so here it is just in case they don't run it. Some more of David's thoughts on Sir William Wallace.
I have often said to friends, if I die while abroad, I want you to make sure that I am brought back to Scotland to be buried. Nothing unusual in that, as I would imagine that people of any nationality feel that same pull for their native soil. As William Wallace is the national hero of Scotland, and he died alone and far from home, I felt the least I could do was to bring him home. Wallace was destroyed utterly by Edward I, who ensured his ashes were scattered to the winds, but I felt that by having a funeral service on the spot of his murder, with a coffin there to symbolically capture his spirit, I could do my bit in trying to return him to his homeland.
Why is the idea of a national hero important? Wallace is the man whom Scots identify with as having that quality that is peculiarly Scottish . Every country has its heroes, and the one thing that the bulk of them have in common is that they fought for the freedom of not only their native soil, but for the liberty of their fellow countrymen and women. Their story is the one that each succeeding generation of their countries children grow up with. How this person held off tyranny is told as an example of all that is good about their particular culture. A national hero is held up as a shining example, as a figurehead, as one whose story is something to aspire to. They are not all warriors of course. Attaturk is the man who most Turks put forward when asked. Nelson Mandela went from prisoner to head of state.
Ask a person from any nation on the planet if they have a national hero, someone that the people of their nation look up to, and there may be some options, but they will be able to provide you with an answer. In Scotland too, there are several options, but Wallace is seen as the father of our patriotism, and the man who died trying to hold off the incursions of an aggressive invader.
Surely we need figureheads for our children? What makes us unique in our particular nationality can be summed up in the tales of our heroes, and why the rights of one people should never be dictated from somewhere else is a right that every nation on Earth recognises.
And is Wallace important to the people of Scotland? When I speak to them of my plans to return his spirit to his native soil, they rise at the end as if as one, and I can see the tears in their eyes. He is our hero, and when we talk of him our differences are forgotten. Where Wallace is concerned we are all Scots together with our shared history.