1 Last week’s Five Facts on Sir John Macdonald, the Ramshorn Parish boy who became Canada’s first Prime Minister, prompted reader Johnny Smith to remind Times Past of another great Glaswegian who made his mark over there. Poet Robert William Service became known as the ‘Bard of the Yukon’ and the cabin where he stayed and wrote some of his works in the early 1900s is now a visitor attraction.

Robert with Marlene Dietrich in 1942 film The Spoilers.

2 Although born in Lancashire, England, Robert spent his early years in Glasgow and Kilwinning in Ayrshire. He lived with his grandfather and three aunts until his parents moved north to join him. Johnny explains: “He went to Church St Primary, Kelvinside Academy and Glasgow University. The family lived just off Byres Road, in Roxburgh Street.” Service’s first jobs in Glasgow were at a shipping office and a bank.

3 After studying literature at the University of Glasgow, Service sailed to western Canada in 1894 to become a cowboy in the Yukon Wilderness. He worked on a ranch and as a bank teller in Vancouver Island six years after the Gold Rush. He also travelled to Hollywood, Cuba, Paris and elsewhere, journeys which inspired his writing.

4 Service published numerous collections of poetry during his lifetime, including Songs of a Sourdough or Spell of the Yukon and Other Verses (1907), which went into ten printings its first year. His most famous poem is The Shooting of Dan McGrew. When the First World War broke out he became a war correspondent and ambulance driver on the front lines. He returned to Kilwinning in 1930 to erect a memorial to his grandparents in the grounds of the Abbey.

READ MORE: The Glasgow boy who became Canada's first Prime Minister

5 Several of his novels were made into films, and he also appeared as an actor in The Spoilers, a 1942 film with Marlene Dietrich. He died in the South of France in 1958.