When Dumbarton man Colin Hamilton joined The Royal Highland Fusiliers he had no qualms about the prospect of some day finding himself in the firing line – it's the job he signed up to do.

That was in 1993, and by the time he transferred to The Black Watch in 2001 he was already a veteran, having seen service in Northern Ireland and Bosnia.

But the former Dumbarton Academy pupil's military career seemed over when, during a tour of duty in Kosovo, he was electrocuted while trying to save a comrade who sadly later died.

Albanian insurgents had laid live electricity pylons across the road to ambush British troops.

He was badly burned and, worse, lost his right leg above the knee. At the time, in agony, he thought he was going to die.

What happened next has been praised by the Douglas Bader Foundation, among others, as a classic example of fighting spirit.

After surgery he was fitted with an artificial limb, and learned to walk, but unsurprisingly was left in the battalion rear party when the Black Watch was despatched to Iraq in spring 2003.

Colin was determined to follow them, and to prove he could do it trained himself up to run 800 metres in six minutes 50 seconds.

The Army capitulated and allowed him to join his mates at the front – and it's possible he is the first man in British army history to go on active service after being fitted with an artificial leg.

He told newspapers at the time: “I had to stay behind in the rear party when the regiment were in Iraq for the war last year and I hated every minute of it.

“But I've proved I can do my job just as well as anyone now. Being back with my mates is the best form of rehabilitation you can get."

Promoted to corporal, he was in charge of a truck in a convoy which took three days to reach Camp Dogwood – which had very basic facilities and no running water.

He was regularly under indirect fire from insurgents, and played a key role as a Signals watchkeeper at Battlegroup Headquarters, during a period when the battalion lost five men dead and 17 wounded.

Colin, 40, who left the army in 2013, told The Reporter: “I felt I had justified myself, and didn't have to be embarrassed about drawing my pay.

“I'd come back from near death to fight in the front line.

“I wanted to be a soldier – I wanted to be in The Black Watch. There were jobs I could have done at base, quite useful jobs, but it wasn't what I'd joined for – and at some point I made my mind up I would do whatever it took to be there with the rest of the unit, and I got there with a bit of grit and determination."

A news picture taken of Colin at the time shows him climbing out of the back of an armoured personnel carrier, with his metal leg clearly visible.

He later received the Hambro Award for personal endeavour.

These days he's sanguine about the war itself, and answers “yes and no” about whether it could be justified – but he resents the idea that “it was all the UK's fault”, asserting: “Let's face it – it was an American war, and we joined it.”