THE sergeant major who helped prepare British troops defeat the Nazis and went on to organise Walkerburn Festival has died in Canada at the age of 98.

Alexander Frickleton was the overseeing instructor at the infamous Commando training centre at Achnacarry, where he ensured thousands of elite soldiers made the grade as Second World War Commandos.

Born in the village of Slammanan, near Falkirk, on January 16, 1919, Alexander was the son of Henry and Elizabeth.

His grandfather was a professional soldier who served with General Charles Gordon, and his second cousin, Lance-Corporal Samuel Frickleton, won the Victoria Cross in 1917 for gallantry at Messines Ridge, Belgium.

After moving to Lanarkshire young Alex attended Budhill Primary and Uddingston Grammar Schools, leaving at 14 to become a grocer’s assistant.

He enlisted in the Army Physical Training Corps in Glasgow in October 1939 and two years later he was with the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders before going on to Achnacarry to train volunteers as commandos.

Frickleton found a niche preparing some of Britain’s toughest troops for battle by creating the a gruelling obstacle run known as the Tarzan Course.

His training course consisted of the Death Slide and Toggle Bridge, a web of ropes slung up to 40-feet above the ground, which was used to train troops in cat-crawling – inching flat on their stomach along a single rope from tree to tree – and swinging monkey-like from platforms onto grappling nets.

While on leave he married Anne, in Glasgow on Christmas Eve 1942, with whom he had four children – Anne, Harry, Gordon and Stuart.

After the war he began studying medicine and worked as a qualified remedial gymnast - a forerunner of today’s physiotherapists - rehabilitating injured patients at Peel Hospital and Dingleton Hospital.

During his years living in Walkerburn Frickleton was known for his community-spiritedness.

As well as organising the village's summer festival he also helped build a community tennis court.

Alex and his family emigrated to Canada in the late 1960s where he was instrumental in establishing the Canadian Remedial Gymnast Association.

He worked at the Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto, where he was responsible for the setting up and management of the physiotherapy/rehabilitation unit for those injured at work.

Alexander Frickleton, Commando and remedial gymnast, died on March 21 in Ontario.