Page last updated at 16:12 GMT, Friday, 10 July 2009 17:12 UK

Earl Haig dies at the age of 91

Earl Haig
Earl Haig, the son of Field Marshal Douglas Haig, has died at the age of 91

Earl Haig, the son of British World War I commander Field Marshal Douglas Haig, has died at the age of 91.

George Alexander Eugene Douglas Haig was born in March 1918 at the time of a major German offensive.

The death of his father - who is buried at Dryburgh Abbey in the Borders - saw him become the 2nd Earl Haig of Bemersyde at the age of nine.

Haig, who was known as Dawyck, was imprisoned at Colditz after being captured during World War II.

He once said that this time as a prisoner had a profound effect on his life.

"I was thus able to prepare myself for the post-war world in which I would play a part quite different from the one which I would have played had the war not happened," he said.

"Ironically, out of the evil that Hitler wrought upon my life there came some good."

That included becoming a long-serving office bearer in numerous ex-service charities.

Among them were the Royal British Legion Scotland, the Earl Haig Fund Scotland, the Lady Haig's Poppy Factory and the Scottish National Institution for War Blinded.

He later became an acclaimed artist and was a president of the Scottish Craft Centre and a trustee of the National Gallery of Scotland.

However, his name was forever linked with his famous parent as was seen in the title of his autobiography, My Father's Son.

In 2006, on the eve of the 90th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, he spoke out to defend his father's record in World War I.

Field Marshal Douglas Haig
Earl Haig spoke out to defend his father's record in World War I

Earl Haig said he wanted to "set the record straight".

"I believe it has now turned full circle and people appreciate his contribution," he said at the time.

"But it saddens me my three sisters have not survived to see it.

"They died suffering from the beastly attitudes of the public towards our father."

A spokesman for the Royal British Legion Scotland paid tribute to Earl Haig, who died at the Borders General Hospital near the family home in Melrose.

"Earl Haig was our national chairman, between 1963 and 1965, and was deeply committed to the ex-service community and kept a proud and paternal eye on the Legion," he said.

"He and his wife were equally committed to the Scottish Poppy Appeal and the Lady Haig's Poppy Factory in Edinburgh.

"He played an important part in developing almost every ex-service charity in Scotland."

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