Three witches

Well to be fair all the women in my Mums family were a bit mad.  Proper mad that is.  Not just peculiar.  One of them was actually certified and carried away to the loony bin in a straight-jacket.  They held grudges for decades so you very rarely saw more than 2 of them at any one tie.  So here’s a rare photo from when they were too old to remember what they’d fallen out about.  I think it was taken at my Auntie Margarets 80th birthday but as I’d fallen out with my Mum at the time I can’t be 100% sure.  They’re aw lang deid noo anyways so it disnae really matter.  From left to right, Grace Hamilton, Eva Martin and Margaret Early  – three of the Robinson sisters.

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My deid Irish mammy

So it’s Mothers Day and all that.  My mother was;

Grace Muir Robinson
1929–2008

BIRTH 25 SEP 1929 • 122 Bonnington Road, Leith
DEATH 29 MAY 2008 • Hotel Burstin, Folkestone

And here she in in her 1950’s prime on the left of the photo at a works night out.

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And glamming it up again.  Second on the right, with my Dad on the right.

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Gone but not forgotten.

The Daily Telegraph September 1940

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A German plane crashed outside Victoria Station but if you were one of the rich few you could always doss at the Green Park Hotel for 7/6 until the rubble was cleared. Of course, little was Hitler to know that my Dad had been called up that very month by the Royal Air Force with the express aim of kicking his German arse.

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My Mum in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force

She was a bit too young for the war but when she was 17 my Mum, Grace Muir Hamilton nee Robinson lied about her age and tried to sign up to the Air Force.  Of course, she got found out but when my grandparents realised how keen she was they signed the forms and off she went to the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force.

And here’s a picture of my Mum when she was in the WAAFs. She’s third from right, in the back row. Looks like her and her pals were heading out from RAF Wilmslow for a night oot. Probably Blackpool. This would have been around about 1947/48.

She loved it in the WAAF but that may have be due to the fact that she seemed to spend most of her time flying around Europe to play in tennis tournaments!

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IN PICTURES: Britain Remembers ‘The Few’ at the 76th Anniversary of The Battle of Britain

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Alexander Walker Hamilton 1922-1980 (Royal Air Force 1940-1946).  My Dad.

A short, moving service marked 76 years since the first Battle of Britain Day took place on the White Cliffs at Capel-Le-Ferne, Kent on Thursday.

Each year on September 15, members of the public gather at the site to pay their respects to the sacrifices made by RAF aircrew in 1940. The service began after a Spitfire flew overhead, and visitors gathered at the memorial site heard a delivery of Winston Churchill’s famous speech about The Few.

Battle of Britain Day is marked on 15th September each year to commemorate the defining battle in which the RAF repelled the German Luftwaffe’s largest major assault on London, 76 years ago.

The first battle to be fought almost entirely in the air, the Battle of Britain took place between July and October in 1940. Around 1,500 aircraft are thought to have taken part in the aerial warfare, in which men from New Zealand, Poland, Canada and Czechoslovakia fought alongside British soldiers.

More here.

Scottish slavery – lest we forget

You see a lot of people still banging on about slavery in the UK, despite the fact that in 1838, enslaved men, women, and children in the British Empire finally became fully free after a period of forced apprenticeship following the passing of the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833.

But they never seem to talk much about the slavery that existed in Scotland.  Half of my ancestors were miners working in shale and coal mines where legally sanctioned slavery operated.  This was a time when at the baptism of a child of a miner, the mine owners could buy them into slavery for life by a system called the payment of “arles”.  MIners were the property of the mine owners until death.

Even when they died, miners were segregated from free folk.  In parts of Fife in the 18th century, miners could not be buried in church graveyards or other consecrated ground and barriers were erected in church so that the decent worshippers wouldn’t have to mix with the miners and their families.  Some churches even had a separate door!

And this isn’t ancient history.  The 1606 Act “Anent Coalyers and Salters” had placed Scottish “coalyers, coal-bearers and salters” in a condition of permanent bondage to their employer.  This wasn’t reversed until the Colliers and Salters (Scotland) Act 1775 which noted that the Scottish coal workers existed in “a state of slavery or bondage”.

Even then it took a subsequent 1824 Act of Parliament, the purpose of which was to “explain and amend the Laws relating to colliers in that part of Great Britain called Scotland.”  Finally, all Scottish colliers were to be free from servitude and were now subject to the same legislation that governed other workers in the country.

So what about a nice apology from the Prime Minister for the institutionalised slavery that bound my ancesters for over 200 years.  I’m sure Robert, my 4x Great Grandfather and Archibald, my 3x Great Grandfather, slaves both, would appreciate it.

Pictured below – a Scots slave collar.  Featured image at the top is my coal miner Grandad, scion of Robert and Archibald, Scottish slaves.

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