A TROON soldier is being remembered as veterans hospital Erskine celebrates it's 100th anniversary.

The first ever patient of Erskine was Corporal James Ritsen, a 29-year-old rigger from the town.

Brought to the hospital on October 10, 1916 Corporal Ritson was a member of the 1/5th Royal Scots Fusiliers.

James fought in the battle of Gallipoli where he was reported to have been buried alive.

He survived the horrific ordeal but suffered 22 wounds on his body, one of which was so serious his left hand was amputated.

James' son David Ritsen, 89, still lives in Troon and - the Advertiser caught up with him recently.

James proudly showed off his family mementos including the medals and badges that his father earned.

David said: "My dad was his own man - put it that way.

"That's how he got all those medals, because he was his own man.

"He never told me one thing about the war - even as I was growing up he wouldn't tell me a thing about it.

"I never seen or knew him when he was in his Navy days but he was in the Home Guard in WW2 and he took the recruits in Troon who were only a year in and trained them for a month and that was them - they were ready for anything."

As David got older, he asked his father about what happened to him.

He said: "I asked him 'what happened to your arm? and he replied 'I got blown up', but then I said 'aye, but what happened to it?' he then told me that they dipped it into a bucket of hot tar - to stop the bleeding."

At a public meeting held in Glasgow City Chambers on March 29 1916, the proposal to establish a hospital in the West of Scotland for amputees wounded in battle was approved.

Such was the overwhelming public support for the Princess Louise Scottish Hospital for Limbless Sailors and Soldiers, as it was named, that £100,000 was contributed within a few weeks and doubled within the year.

The day is being marked by a civic reception held in Renfrewshire.

Erskine have been putting together a book - 'A Century of Care' which tells the story of James Ritsen throught to that of founder, Scottish brain surgeon Sir William Macewen who lead the project to establish a new hospital.

By the end of the First World War over 3,450 men had been admitted and 2,697 wounded ex-servicemen like Corporal Ritson were fitted with artificial limbs.

Since then Erskine has cared for over 85,000 ex-service men and woman and more recently their spouses.

The Erskine Centenary Book – A Century of Care – costs £12 and is available to buy online at shop.erskine.org.uk or phone 0141 300 4904.