Hamilton Academy 1965, Class 2D.

Margaret Hewitt WM1

Margaret Hewitt sent us her old class picture of Hamilton Academy 1965 Class 2D.

Margeret told us:

“From the bottom. Can only remember a few names – no boys names.

2nd row from bottom / left to right – ?, ?, Norma Davidson, Jane?, Margaret Syme, ?, ?, ?, Marion Massey, Sheila McKenzie, Margaret Howie, ?

3rd row left to right – ?, ?, ?, Brenda Maher, Margaret Lapin, Patricia Barrie, Margaret Culbert, ?, Denise Arnold, Fiona?, ?

Can you fill out the blanks?


Lanarkshire Steel Works.

Margaret Hewitt WM

This picture was taken at the Lanarkshire Steel Works in Motherwell. Margaret Hewitt who lives in Australia sent this to Historic Hamilton and she told us that her dad at the time lived at Low Waters Road.

Andrew Howie who is the man in the suit is front row and third from the right. He was the foreman, Joiner. He later lived in Hillhouse when the family moved in 1958.

Margeret told us:

“This is the Joiner’s Shop at the Lanarkshire Steelworks in the early fifties. My Dad, Andrew Howie, third from right in front row, was the foreman joiner.
He lived on Low Waters Road and then we moved up to Hillhouse in 58. A lot of the men came from Hamilton.

My dad was born in Townhead Street, Hamilton on 31st December 1915 to William Howie and Isabella Napier. He was the youngest of five children all born within seven years four boys and one girl.

At some point, the family moved to Montrose Crescent and my dad became a champion swimmer. Later in his life, he joined Bothwell Bowling Club and was a member of a bowling team that represented Scotland.

He worked in the Lanarkshire Steelworks for forty years, taking early retirement when it looked like the Shire was closing down. During the war, he was a member of the Royal Marines for two years, stationed in Deal, Kent.

He married my mum in 1940 and they had 61 years of marriage until he died in 2001. They emigrated to Western Australia to be with us in January 1984, leaving Hamilton at minus 20 degrees and arriving in Perth to 44.5.”

Some of the names that we know, Garry, are Alec Mitchell, Bert Chambers and Jimmy Perrie. Not sure which is which.

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

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.

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.



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


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.



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.


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.