Tommy’s story

Your support makes a real difference to veterans like Tommy. Read his story below...


Tommy McSorley, Royal Scots

Tommy grew up in Glasgow and like many young men of his generation, he joined the Armed Forces at a young age.  He was conscripted on Boxing Day 1947, which was his 18th birthday.  He set off to Inverness for basic training with the Royal Scots.  His first posting was a six month tour of post-war Italy.

Initially his tour of Italy was a terrific experience and he enjoyed his posting, although there was still a level of resentment from the local Italians.  His time in the Army changed rapidly.  He would make a huge sacrifice which has impacted him his entire life and nearly cost him his life.  In October 1948, whilst serving in Italy, he was driving an army jeep within the barracks when he drove over a rogue landmine.  Blown up instantly, he was left unconscious for five days.  When he awoke, he was in a hospital bed with his father by his side.  His father had come to bury his son.

“That’s us lost him”

His Mother and Father had heard the news back in Glasgow and had feared the worst.  His father had said to the family, “that’s us lost him”.  Despite his injuries; two broken arms, a fractured pelvis, a fractured skull, his stomach crushed and a blood clot in his groin, Tommy survived.  19 days after the accident he had his leg amputated.  His injuries meant it couldn’t be saved.  He was still only 18 years old.

Was the accident hard to come to terms with?  Tommy says, “Losing my leg was much harder to cope with.  For years I’ve suffered from phantom leg pains that have driven me crazy.  Nobody told me about those pains and I still get them today.”


Tommy says “I’m quite resilient.  It took me years to fully recover but I’ve always tried to live life to the full.  If I could chase the lassies and still play football, I was happy.”

He spent many months in various hospitals and his recovery lasted years.  He was introduced to Erskine many years ago.  He says, “I came to visit the old Erskine Hospital four times to have bits taken off my leg.  I’ve been coming here for respite care for seven years now.  I lost my wife Jeanie a few years ago, so now I need care.  I always look forward to coming in, Erskine is a home from home for me.  I am so grateful to be well looked after here and to be amongst friends at Erskine”.  Tommy gets on so well with the care staff and other residents, it’s easy to see why it feels like home for him.

Thank you

Tommy sends out his thanks to you, “Erskine is a lifeline for me and has helped me cope with my injuries over many years.  The care staff give me so much support and the care is outstanding.  Without wonderful supporters like you, who donate to Erskine, we wouldn’t receive the care that means so much.”

Whether it’s nursing care, respite, dementia care or housing, Erskine will be here for ex-Service men and women in Scotland, now and in the future, but only with your help.