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.
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.
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.
Ninety four years ago today, my Dad, Alexander Walker Hamilton was born. He’s been dead since he was 58 but he’s still my Dad. Here he is with a young Mr H, outside our luxury holiday accomodation at Kinghorn, around about 1971.
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.
You’re both lang deid, but on this day in 1961 you did the decent thing and got married. From left to right – Cath Muirhead, her husband, Molly Keepe (my Dads sister), Dad, Mum, Betty Graham, Phil McLuskey. Pictured in the glamourous Gillsland Hotel (they got it free as my Mum knew the cook!)
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.
And here’s a bloke who spent 6 years fighting Hitler. While he was doing that in the RAF, his brother Bill was being killed when his Royal Navy ship was sunk in the Mediterranean. Thanks, Dad (pictured left).
Every year, without fail, even when he was dying a slow and lingering death, my Dad would trek up to the Scottish National War Memorial in Edinburgh Castle. He would look up his brother Bill, who was killed in the Second World War, bow his head and say a silent prayer.