Battle of Britain Day

It was Battle of Britain Day yesterday but I was too busy being maudlin and depressed to mention it.  But that would be to do my Dad a disfavour.

Alexander Walker Hamilton

Born 23 AUG 1922 • Breich, West Lothian, Scotland
Died 24 DEC 1980 • City Hospital, Edinburgh, Scotland

He was actually too young to have been in the Battle of Britain but he was called up to the Royal Air Force shortly after and spent six years fighting Hitler so you lot could swan about drinking artisan coffee and moaning about how hard your lives are.

Here he is in his Royal Air Force finery.

Thanks Dad.  Linda would have liked you.

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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.

telegraph1940

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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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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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Happy Deid Dad Day

Apparently there is some Christmas thing happening about now, but to me, the 24th December will always be Deid Dad Day. Yes, it was Christmas Eve, 1980 when my Dad died, just after my Mum had nipped oot tae the shops with my Auntie Eva to buy some Christmas stuff, seeing as how my Dad was supposed to be staying in the hospital.  But in the finest tradition of the NHS, they said he was OK to come home.  The ambulance dropped him off late morning, my Mum went to the shops just after dinner, so it was just me and my Dad when he died.

Here he is, taking a short break from kicking Hitlers arse in World War 2, second from the left, at a military wedding. Do the click thing for a big version.

Alexander Walker Hamilton World War II

Auntie Famie

Mrs H had an auntie die this week. It was her Auntie Famie.  I never met her as she’s moved to England a long time ago, along with her husband Bob Todd.  I only found out her name was Famie Todd after she’d died, which was downright spooky because I had an Auntie Famie, who married a man called George Tod!  So we both had Auntie Famie (Tod/ds).  Weird.

Anyway, my Auntie Famie was actually my Dads Aunt, so she was my Great Auntie Euphemia.  My Grans’ sister, Euphemia Moore Bell was born on February 5, 1906, in 3 Faraday Place, Addiewell, her father was William and her mother, Mary. She married George Robertson Tod on December 24, 1932 and died on March 18, 1994, at the Eastern General, at the age of 88.

Her Mum died when she was 2 years old, and she was farmed out to her aunt and uncle in Dalzel, Lanarkshire. I mainly lived with her and George from when I started primary school aged 4, up until I got the key to my Mum and Dads house when I was about 9. They lived 3 doors down from us in Temple Park Crescent and as I had a lisp as a youngster, she was always Mamie to me, as I couldn’t handle the letter F back then..

Picture 1 shows Famie as a young woman, with my Dad, and his sister Molly (Mary) and brother Ian (John), probably in either Breich Terrace or Addiewell, in the twenties.
Picture 2 shows George as a young man. He was a violin maker, and had a workshop in his house, as well as playing in orchestras and dance bands.*
Picture 3 shows Famie and George as I remember them in the seventies.
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*picture taken by Drummond Shiels, Photographer, 70 & 72 Lauriston Place, Edinburgh