Robert W Service (1874 - 1958)
Born in Preston, Lancashire, in January 1874 of a Scots father and English mother, Robert Service spent most of his formative childhood years in the Ayrshire town of Kilwinning where his father was born and his grandfather was the town's first Postmaster. His great-great-grandfather, Alexander Service, according to family lore ... "achieved the distinction of getting drunk in Irvine with Robert Burns".

His early years in Kilwinning were brief but he certainly remembered them and gives a none too flattering picture of the dour place it was for him in his autobiography where he styles it "... the long grey town". A notch on one of the pews of the parish church is pointed out as where he whiled away the time during a once too long sermon!

The only hint of a future career as one of the world's leading poets came on his sixth birthday when Service wrote, what he later described as his "first poetic flutter",

God bless the cakes and bless the jam; 
Bless the cheese and the cold boiled ham; 
Bless the scones Auntie Jeannie makes; 
And save us all from belly-aches. 

Robert Service at 8 years old

A comprehensive Robert W Service resource page can be obtained by clicking on the links below.