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

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Valentine’s Snapshots – Scottish National War Memorial, Edinburgh Castle

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.
warmemorial2

warmemorial1

WWII – it’s all about me!

HMS Gloucester

HMS Gloucester

On the 22nd May, 1941, HMS Gloucester, 14 miles north of Crete, was attacked by German Stuka dive bombers and sank, having sustained at least four heavy bomb hits and three near-misses. Of the 807 men aboard at the time of her sinking, only 85 survived. Her sinking is considered to be one of Britain’s worst wartime naval disasters.

One of those killed was my Uncle Bill, my Dads big brother.  At the time, my Dad was serving in the RAF, where he remained until 1946.  Every year, on Remembrance Sunday he would take me to the Scottish National War Memorial at Edinburgh Castle, look up his brother in the Book of Remembrance, bow his head for 2 minutes, then pull his shoulders back and say “right, son, fancy a play on the cannons”.

And that is how it should be.  The mawkish Me! Me! Me! outpourings over the last month (because Remembrance Sunday lasts longer than Christmas these days) is absolutely sickening.  The BBC has been the worst, as their media whores try to outdo each other with tales of long dead, distant relatives they never met, bravely wiping away a tear, as it becomes all about them.

Of course we should remember, but it doesn’t have to be a self pitying, selfie taking circus.  Bow your head, take a breath, and go play on the cannons.

HMS Gloucester sinking, photographed by the Germans.

HMS Gloucester sinking, photographed by the Germans.

How my Dad beat Hitler

As it’s VE day, here’s a couple of pictures of my Dad, Alexander Walker Hamilton, who served in the Royal Air Force between 1940 and 1946, and helped give Hitler and the Germans a good stuffing.

Here he is, aged 19, getting his picture taken at the Valette Studio, 32 Bank Street, Blackpool, on 2 May 1942.

Alexander Walker Hamilton, RAF

And here he is, towards the end of the war with his best friend (and future best man), Phil McLuskey.

Alexander Walker Hamilton, RAF