Biography of Lieutenant William Rollo
William Rollo was a son of the Manse. He was born in Springburn on 27th November 1892, where his father, William, was a clergyman. The family home was at St James Parsonage, Springburn. William attended Whitehill Higher Grade School and from there went on to the University of Glasgow to study Classics.
He first matriculated in the Faculty of Arts in 1911, and his father was still alive at that time. William took Latin, Greek and Mathematics, passing the first two (taking 8th place in Latin), but having to re–sit Mathematics. It was his only setback. The following academic year he studied Latin and Greek at Higher Ordinary. In his third year he passed Moral Philosophy and went on to a fourth year, one of the small, elite group of students at that time to take an Honours degree.
He graduated MA with Honours in Latin and Greek on 20th April 1915. The family had moved home, probably as the result of the father’s change of occupation. He was now a lecturer and the family home was no longer St James Parsonage, but a house at 31 Carlyle Drive.
William joined the army immediately, taking a commission as a Lieutenant in the 13th Highland Infantry. At the carnage of the Battle of Loos he was posted as missing in action, presumed dead. In fact he was taken prisoner, and after a period as a POW was liberated to the Netherlands. He chose to continue his studies there and in 1922 is described in Glasgow’s alumni records as being a student at Leyden.
William graduated DLitt from Leyden and went on to have a successful academic career. He married and went out to South Africa in the 1920s to lecture in Classics at the University of Cape Town. During the Second World War he taught Japanese to South African pilots who were going out to fight in the Far East. After the war ended he helped demobbed soldiers to reintegrate into university life. Lieutenant William Rollo, soldier and classicist, died in 1960.
University of Glasgow Registry, Faculty and General Council Records
Biography: Information contributed by William Rollo’s grandson, Martin Rollo