St Andrews man’s lifetime of adventure

Braid Anderson's armed escort on his last job in Papua New Guinea.
Braid Anderson's armed escort on his last job in Papua New Guinea.

A St Andrews man who left home as a teenager to escape a brutal stepmother has had a life of adventure that has taken him round the world.

Now a part-time writer, part-time contractor in a remote, and dangerous, province of Papua New Guinea (PNG), 74-year-old Braid Anderson’s life story reads like the plot of one of his books.

After leaving Madras, he was in the Merchant Navy before studying economics but when money ran out, he quit his studies.

He joined the Army, where he was regimental instructor in Artillery Survey, along the way qualifying as a marksman and demolitions expert.

Later, he gained qualifications in both in civil engineering and business administration and went on to manage major projects in Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and PNG. His last project management job in PNG was so dangerous he needed an armed escort after dismembered bodies were dumped at his gate.

Hopes of retirement were dashed when he married a local woman, who, he said, stole most of his money.

He did not keep in touch with many people from his home town but has fond memories of an uncle who owned the Kinburn Hotel, an aunt who owned Suttie’s Aerated Waterworks and another uncle who had the China Shop in South Street.

Not so happy was his treatment at the hands of his stepmother, who abused him so badly that, unusually for the time, the police intervened.

He has a grown-up family in Australia but feels tied to Papua New Guinea after adopting two local children and, despite a lack of funds he describes his self-built house high in the hills as “my own little kingdom in the clouds”.

So far he has three published books, Flag McAndrew, The Castaway’s Diary and Gross Britain, and a fourth, Tropical Trial, is about to go to print.

“It’s an account of my six months in an Indonesian jail,” Braid said. adding that it was not necessary to commit a crime in Indonesia to go to jail and “all you need to do is get on the wrong side of the wrong general.”

His books are available online at