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.

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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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24 years of doom

Little did Mrs H know, way back in 1992, that she was doomed to spend the next 24 years married to me. It says a lot for her sheer bloody mindedness that she’s still hanging in there, or it could be that she knows when she’s on to a good thing.

After all, how many husbands would take a day off work, and jump on a 26 bus to the Toby Carvery for an all you can eat six quid buffet AND offer to pony up the extra 30 bob for a King Size. That woman’s got it made.

I’ve even offered to take her back next year for our silver wedding and splash out on a pudding.

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Fathers Day

Apparently it’s Fathers Day this month.  Now, by the time my Dad died, 35+ years ago, that was some fancy American nonsense for jessies and / or the English.  Today, a quick search on Amazon showed that there are 1,246 CDs available for purchase with titles like “The Best Dad In The World…Ever”, “My Dad Rocks”, “How It Works: The Dad: The Album”, “Dad – The Collection” and “Please Stop Beating Me Dad, I’ll be Good, I’ll Be Good”.

Back in pre-jessie days, my Dad owned precisely three records, accumulated over 40 years of passionate collecting.  They were;

As I Love You – a 4 track EP by Shirley Bassey
The Best Of The Mills Brothers, and
Glen Daly Live at the Ashfield Club

Amongst his friends, this was regarded as affectation of the highest order. Most of them got by with a Josef Locke 78 for high days and holidays.

So, here for your pleasure, is his collection.

 

 

My Dad (below left)

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Party, party, party with the Robinsons

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The Robinsons knew how to have a good time.  And here’s Evelyn (Eva) Robinson, fourth from right front row, with her brother William Robinson (my Uncle Bill), second from left, sometime in the early fifties.

My Mums sister Eva, married Jimmy Martin, and had three children, two of them died young.  Valerie died from bronchitis, aged 9 months and Leonard died aged 19 after an accident on a building site.  As far as I know her son Jimmy (Young Jim) is still around, although I last saw him at my Mums funeral in 2008.

Eva died in 2003, aged 84, Bill died in 2005, aged 77.

Once upon a time Part 2

Continuing the notion that I used to be a real person, here’s a picture taken at Northallerton on some kind of corporate beano.  I can’t remember what I was doing, or who many of the people were, but it must have cost a fortune to ship us all there.

I’m in the back with the impenetrable shades.  The bloke two to the left from me was called Chris, the girl on the right at the back was Nicola.  Front row, far left was Catherine, and in the middle of the front row was Sarah Bellamy.  She moved to Cyprus, became Sarah Karmiotou and, last I heard (2015), was very poorly. Fingers crossed.

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