Ian Robert Hastie was born in Kelso on September 7th
1929. He was the son of a popular local cabinet maker. He
attended the Abbey School – now Abbey Row Centre and
then during the war years Kelso High School.
After leaving school, he became an apprentice joiner, until compulsory national service took him to the conflict in Malaya. He served as an infantryman with the 1st Battalion Cameronians. There he saw combat in the jungle against communist guerrillas. The endless nights spent in insect infested jungles left him with sores, which were to affect him for the rest of his life.
In Malaya he developed a reputation as one of the best boxers in the British Armed Forces, winning the title of Far East Armed Forces light heavy-weight champion.
When he came back to Kelso he returned to work as a joiner. Later he became repairman on the British railways line squads.
He joined Kelso RFC as a prop, captaining the side and playing for the South of Scotland along with his brother Arthur. He was married in 1955 to Loretta and in that year he won his first cap for Scotland against France. His greatest moment came in a 1958 match against France at Murrayfield, when after catching an astute throw from Arthur Smith, Hastie drove over the line. His try was decisive in the teams eventual 11-9 victory.
1964 saw the railway closures under Beeching. He decided to emigrate to New Zealand with his wife and three children. He worked on the railways first of all on South Island them for most of his career in Lower Hutt, near Wellington. There he shunted wagons around the busy docks of Wellington.
Whilst in Kelso he had been a talented darts player and this he continued in his new life, gaining caps for New Zealand.
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