Walter Wingate, Hamilton’s Poet. 1865 – 1918.

Walter Wingate WM.

Walter Wingate was born on 15 April 1865, in Dalry in Ayrshire, the fourth son of David Wingate, who himself was known as ‘The Collier Poet’, having achieved some local fame for his own poems and songs. While Walter was still an infant, the family removed to Lanarkshire, where he remained for the rest of his life.
 
He attended Hutcheson’s Grammar School in Hamilton and, at the age of 16, went to Glasgow University from where he graduated with honours in mathematics before the age of 20. He was keen to work for the Indian Civil Service, but though passing all the academic tests, failed the physical requirements due to poor eyesight.
 
Countering this disappointment, he turned to teaching, obtaining an appointment in St. John’s Grammar School in Hamilton as mathematics master, a position he continued to occupy until his untimely death at the age of 52. Many years later a memorial fund was inaugurated by the Hamilton Civic Society, and a framed picture of the poet was given to the school in 1932.
 
During his life Wingate contributed poems to the Glasgow Herald and Evening News, to magazines, and to the anthologies of the Glasgow Ballad Club, but never had a book of his own published.
 
In his editor’s note in the collection put together after Wingate’s death, (Poems, published by Gowans and Gray in 1919) Adam Gowans speculates that many of the poems ‘will become familiar and dear to his countrymen.’ Certainly the Scots pieces have: ‘The Sair Finger’ remains a popular recitation piece, along with ‘The Dominie’s Happy Lot’ and ‘Conscience’.
 
A contemporary reviewer in The Scotsman was of the opinion that ‘the Scots verses are racier and more humorous in expression’, while praising the tender meditations on nature in both languages. Wingate’s talent for capturing wayside flowers and their habitat in watercolours was equalled by his ability to paint in words the countryside he so loved to wander.
 
In 1907, Walter had married Agnes Thom, who predeceased him by two years; her sudden death affected him profoundly and may have hastened his own death in 1918. Their two sons were subsequently raised by relatives, including Walter Buchanan, also a member of The Glasgow Ballad Club, who contributed the preface to Wingate’s posthumous collection.
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The last poem of Walter Wingate.

Following on from our earlier post on Walter Wingate, Iain English sent us a poem that was written by the Hamilton Poet in 1917.
 
This poem until today has never been published and is the first time that it has been read by the public as it has been in the families possession since 1917.
 
Iain told Historic Hamilton:
 
“Walter Wingate (famous Scots poet) knew the Dawson family (and my Grandmother) and wrote this poem dedicated to Robert Dawson who was tragically killed in Passchendaele”
 
Here is Walter Wingate’s poem which was dedicated to Hamilton soldier Robert Dawson, which was to be one of his last poems written as he died the following year (1918)
 
 
“Corporal Dawson died of wounds”
That is all the story.
Brief and poor the notice sounds
Not a word of glory.
 
Sits Etaples by the sea:
There when war is over,
We may find where such as he,
Last have taken cover.
 
Two, whom none are left to call,
Father now or Mother,
Into lonelier years must fall,
Comforting each other.
 
And a symbol, meant to show,
Lovers newly plighted,
Rings a finger with the woe,
Of sweet promise blighted.
 
Shrapnel tore the soldier’s limb,
Here at longer ranges,
Spreads its havoc: reft of him,
Life’s perspective changes.
 
Let consoling Duty say:
“Would you have desired him,
Though you loved him, to say nay,
When my call required him?
 
God accepts your sacrifice,
Pleased with gift and giver,
And in him your comfort lies:
Death is not forever.
 
Walter Wingate 1865 – 1918.

Jotters….

JotterWM.

Thank you to Sandra Fox who took us on a wee trip down memory lane when she sent us a picture of her old Jotter which she found up the loft.

If you were at school around the 1980s and early 90s and before the region broke up this is what the schools in Hamilton were issued with.

Do you have an old school picture that you would like to share?
Send them to us and we will share with everyone on Historic Hamilton.

2166 (Hamilton) Sqn Air Training Corps circa 1966

Barracks.

2166 (Hamilton) Sqn Air Training Corps circa 1966 Taken outside HQ at Hamilton Barracks on the Bothwell Road.

John Taylor sent us this picture from the Hamilton Barracks and he told us:

“Now I am struggling after 50 years! I remember the officers.

In the centre is Sqn Ldr Smeaton. On his right is Flying Officer Whiteford, and on his left are Pilot Officers Sandy Bruce and Sandy Colvin.

I am in the back row second in from the right. On the left in the first row of cadets is Tam Semple and in the middle row third from the left is Lindsey Adair. Am afraid I am struggling with the rest!

The aircraft was delivered to the Hamilton Barracks on a low loader and was a permanent feature at the Sqn HQ as a gate guardian.

At the time the Hamilton Barracks was such a large area we were fortunate to get this old Gloster Javelin as our gate guardian.”

Do you know any of the lads in this picture? If you do then let us know.

LEST WE FORGET…..

LEST WE FORGET…..

In one way or another, whether being directly or indirectly involved, most of us have been affected by war. For me, I would like to keep the memory alive of two people in my family who were killed in action.

Michael McNamee WM.

The first person who was killed in action was my second great uncle who was called Michael McNamee. Michael was born at 35 Church Street to parents Thomas McNamee & Jane Adams and after leaving school he worked as a coal miner at Ferniegair Colliery.

Michael enlisted in the army on the 7th of June 1915 and was part of the 17th Battalion with the Royal Scots. He was 19 years and 11 months when he joined.

He was not a large boy, being only five foot four inches tall, and he weighed 98 pounds. Michael spent around three years in the army and he was based in France when he was killed.

His division was engaged in the battle of Ypres when he died of wounds on the 19th of October 1918 at No 2 Canadian Casualty Clearance Station. During Michael’s Army Service he had been awarded the Military Medal.

robert-thompson1

My second family member who was tragically killed was my mother’s cousin, Robert McNamee Thompson, who was killed in action during the troubles in Northern Ireland. Robert was a Whitehill man and a father and husband.

Robert enjoyed his time in the army and his regiment was the Royal Highland Fusiliers and his life was brought to a devastating end when on the 27th of July 1980, he was on patrol at Moy Bridge, Maughnahan Road, Aughnacloy, Co Tyrone and was killed by a remote-control Bomb. Robert was only 26 years old.
Today there are still former soldiers who either served in the army or survived war. You will see them out in the shopping centres and standing in the rain collecting money and handing out Poppy’s.

James Poulton.123

One of these men is called James Poulton who served in the Army and never misses collecting money for Remembrance Day. You will find James standing in the doorway at Morrisons superstore over in Whitehill.

Remember to stop by and donate what you can, and wear your poppy with pride, to remember the men who fought and died, not only in both World Wars but in every other war that happened after.

Did you have an ancestor or family member who was killed in action? Send us their picture and we will add it to our ‘Hamilton Folk’ Album and have your picture proudly displayed on Historic Hamilton which is viewed all over the world.

John Reynolds aka Jukebox Johnny R.I.P. 1948 – 2017.

Juke BoxJohnny WM.Hi all, I just wanted to let you all know that sadly John Reynolds passed away on Wednesday. John who was well known around Hamilton and in his younger years he played football and was a football agent. Later in life, he cleaned windows and was a pioneer of the music singing contests where he appeared on Michael Barrymore’s ‘My Kind of People’.

John was a karaoke singer and he sang I a lot of pubs & clubs around Hamilton & Lanarkshire. In his recent years, he has been in a home with Alzheimer’s.

Our thoughts are with John’s family at this time and I am sure that you will all agree that we have lost another Hamilton legend who will ever be in our thoughts for years to come. John’s family will let us know in due course where & when his funeral will be held.

John Reynolds 1948 – 2017.

WOMAN KILLED AT THE KEEPERS HOUSE AT THE MAUSOLEUM.

WOMAN KILLED AT THE KEEPERS HOUSE AT THE MAUSOLEUM.

Keepers House.

A sad tale occurred on Saturday the 16th of September 1911. Mrs Thomas Kerr, wife of the keeper of the Mausoleum at Hamilton Palace, died at one o’clock Saturday morning from injuries sustained by explosion of gas in her house late the previous night.
Her husband had gone out to post letter, leaving in the house his wife and two children, aged respectively two years and six months. After making some calls, he returned home between ten and eleven, and entering the house a painful scene confronted him. His wife was lying the stair leading from the kitchen the coal cellar. Her clothes were practically burned off, and her body was scorched in a terrible manner.
He lifted her into the kitchen, and ran for assistance, Mrs Kerr was still conscious, and was able say that when she was going down to the cellar fetch coals something went up in a blaze at the gas jet on the stair. The elder of her two children, a bright little girl, was with her, but Mrs Kerr had the presence of mind to push the child down the stair when the explosion occurred. In this way the girl escaped the flames which enveloped her mother.
The younger child was asleep in a perambulator in the kitchen, and was uninjured. Mr and Mrs Kerr are a young couple, who only entered upon duty at Hamilton Palace three weeks ago, having previously lived at Caledonia Road, Glasgow.

Keepers House1

On the morning of 30th of October 2016 I took a drive over to the keeper’s house to take some pictures for Historic Hamilton. As I walked through the woods and across the overgrown and once well-kept grounds I approached the house. Possibly my mind was playing tricks on me, but I swear that I could hear voices coming from inside the old caretaker’s cottage. The voices were not very clear, but more of a whisper! But nonetheless, as you can imagine after hearing this it dawned on me that I had not told anyone where I had intended to be!

Do you ever get that feeling that someone is following you when you are walking alone? Well, I couldn’t get out of the woods quick enough and I had this very same feeling all the way back past the Mausoleum caretakers house, back through the overgrown hedges and through the trees back to my car. This is the first and last time that I will visit an old house on a dark morning on my own.

The mausoleum caretakers house has a lot of History connected to it and is now sitting in a very bad state. This week I am going to ask for your help to try and save this Historic Building from disappearing forever.