14,000 likes on Historic Hamilton.

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This month we have reached another milestone on our Facebook page. We have now got over 14,000 followers!
 
We would like to say thank you to every single one of you for stopping by and spending time with us on Historic Hamilton.
 
After today we will be going offline for a while as we will be moving house. We are moving back to Hamilton after being away from the town for nearly 20 years, so new things on the horizon for the McCallum family.
 
Historic Hamilton should be back in a couple of weeks, please keep sending us your pictures, stories and family research requests as we will pick them up on our return.
 
Thanks again for your support and see you all soon…..
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AWARD FOR ANNSFIELD ROAD NEWSAGENT.

Alex Fotheringham 1985WM.

In 1985 Alex Fotheringham was making news instead of selling it. He was elected, president of the Scottish Council of the national federation of retail newsagents.
 
In 1985 Mr Fotheringham’s family had owned the newsagent’s shop at 20 Annsfield Road for more than 50 years.
 
His new post put him in charge of an organisation which represented the interests of 3,000 Newsagent members throughout Scotland.
 
Mr Fotheringham who was 50 at the time said that his wife Ellen, along with his three grown-up children, Anne, Andrew & Ellenor would be helping out in the shop during his presidential time with the organisation.
 
What are your memories of Alex Fotheringham’s Newsagents on Annsfield Road?

The Hamilton Town Hotel 1985.

Hamilton Town Hotel 1985.

The Hamilton Town Hotel 1985.

3 – Course Business Lunch for only £2. With business lunches also available at ‘Pinkies’. Why in 1985 go anywhere else in Hamilton?

The Hamilton Town Hotel will bring back many memories for a lot of people. I can remember when this was called O’Neill’s in the late 90s.

What are your memories of the Town Hotel & Pinkies?

Sergeant John Wilson

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For Bravery in the Field – 21st to 24th December 1917.
Written by Barrie Duncan of the Low Parks Museum.

100 years ago, on 21st December 1917, a four-man patrol from the 10th Scottish Rifles left the relative safety of their trenches and crept into no man’s land. Their objective was to establish the condition of the enemy’s defences and to try and establish the identity of the German unit defending them. It wasn’t until three days later, on Christmas Eve 1917, that two of the patrol would drag themselves back into the British lines – wounded, dehydrated, and suffering from exposure and frost-bite – while the other two members were presumed dead.

The two men who made it back to the British trenches on 24th December 1917 were Sergeant John Wilson, and Lance Corporal John Thomson. Both men were awarded the Military Medal for their actions on the patrol, but within a few days Lance Corporal Thomson had succumbed to his wounds, and Sergeant Wilson would ultimately have both his legs amputated as a result of wounds exacerbated by frost-bite.
The patrol that set-out on 21st December 1917 comprised of four men; Second Lieutenant Ewen, Sergeant Wilson, Lance Corporal Thomson, and Private Aberdeen. Sergeant Wilson had led a similar patrol on the previous evening when a German post was encountered, but this was too well defended for them to try and rush in an effort to secure prisoners.

The patrol came up to what they thought was the German lines, but which actually turned out to be a small section of abandoned trench that the German forces were using as an observation and listening post.

The lone German sentry was successfully captured by the patrol and while returning to their own lines they encountered and were attacked by a German patrol comprising of between 12 and 15 men. In the ensuing fight, the German prisoner was killed, and all four men of the British patrol became casualties.

Lieutenant Ewen was thought to have been killed outright, and Private Aberdeen was badly wounded. Wilson and Thomson, both wounded, were able to get away, using the myriad of shell-holes as cover. Looking back, they saw the forms of Lieutenant Ewen and Private Aberdeen being dragged away towards the German lines.

Using the cover of darkness, Wilson and Thomson dragged themselves to what they thought was the British lines, only to find they had lost their way in the confusion of no man’s land and were actually near the parapet of the German trenches. It took them almost three days to make their way back to the British lines, as by this time Thomson was almost incapacitated through blood loss and the effects of exposure and Wilson had to physically drag him, even although he himself was wounded and suffering from frost-bite.

Having survived all this, the unfortunate pair were almost met with the cruel fate of being killed by their own men, as when they first reached the British lines they were fired upon by the wary soldiers manning the trenches. On Christmas Eve they met a British patrol who assisted them back to the 10th Battalion’s lines.

The fate of Lieutenant Ewen and Private Aberdeen would not be known by the Battalion for some time. Wilson and Thomson had assumed Lieutenant Ewen killed in the fighting against the German patrol.

He had in fact been wounded and taken prisoner. He recovered from his wounds, although he spent the remainder of the War as a prisoner in Germany. Ewen was a chemist and druggist in Aberdeen in civilian life; he had originally served as a private soldier in the Royal Army Medical Corps before being granted his commission and had only been serving with the 10th Scottish Rifles for a short time before commanding the fateful patrol.

Private Archibald Aberdeen was also wounded and taken prisoner. He succumbed to his wounds and died the next day, on 22nd December 1917. Private Aberdeen was buried by his German captors in a French cemetery behind their lines. In 1924, Private Aberdeen’s remains were reburied by the Imperial War Graves Commission in Cabaret Rouge British Cemetery among his comrades who died in the War.

Wilson and Thomson were awarded their Military Medals on 1st January 1918. Three days later, on 4th January, Lance Corporal John Barr Thomson died of his wounds and the hardships suffered during his ordeal in no man’s land. John Thomson was from Hamilton, Scotland, and was 38 years old at the time of his death. He is buried in Etaples Military Cemetery.

Sergeant John Wilson was also from Hamilton. He had joined the 6th Scottish Rifles, the local Territorial Force Battalion of The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) in 1912. John was a compositor with his local newspaper, The Hamilton Advertiser. Embodied for active service when war was declared in August 1914, John first went to France with the 6th Scottish Rifles in March 1915.

Like Lieutenant Ewen, Sergeant Wilson was only transferred to the 10th Scottish Rifles a few months before he took part in the patrol. He had already been wounded in action, and had also served for a short time with an Officer Cadet School where he was considered for training as an officer. During the December patrol described above, Wilson had suffered a gun shot wound to the left thigh.

In addition he suffered severe frost-bite as result of spending so long in wet, freezing conditions. The damage to his legs was severe enough to result in him having both legs amputated, and he was discharged from the army on medical grounds in April 1918, aged 24.

Military Medal of Sergeant John Wilson, on display in Low Parks Museum (obverse – left, reverse – right)

If you would like to see more of these exhibitions, then you can see the fantastic display at the Low Parks Museum.

HAMILTON GROCER’S SHOP RAIDED May 1921.

Police Recover Goods and Make Arrests.

Bob MacTaggart
On Friday the 20th of May 921, the premises of Mr Alexander Proudfoot-Begg, who was a licensed grocer on Low Waters, Hamilton, was broken into late on Friday night or in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The booty comprises salmon, 37 lbs. of cheese, bottles of port wine, sherry, claret, beer, 20 lbs of butter, and £5 in money. According to the information supplied by the police, a considerable portion of the booty was recovered.

During the week after it happened, Chief Constable Clark reported that attempts to enter shops in Hamilton have been frustrated by the vigilance of the police. Soon after the occurrence was referred to, Constables Docherty and Walker, they were early on the scene, and, after a smart round-up, they apprehended two men, who were before the Court on Monday the 23rd in connection with the affair.

The two accused, who have been remitted to the Sheriff, are Joseph White (28), miner, 158 Low Waters, Hamilton, and Robert MacTaggart, junior (31), miner, 121 Low Waters, Hamilton. The charge against them is that of breaking into the licensed grocery premises mentioned and stealing the provisions and money enumerated.

It turns out that Robert or Bob as he was better known was indeed no stranger to trouble and this was not a one-off incident. Five years later, on Friday the 27th of May 1926, there was a fight which had taken place at The Ranche Pub.

This fight is still known of today, as it involved many police officers and of course Robert MacTaggart. It was nearly five years to the day of the break-in at the Grocers where ‘Bob’ MacTaggart had a few too many pints and had been challenging people to a fight out in the street and being already barred from the Ranche, he had it in his head that he was still going to go in and have a pint.

The owner had called the police and Bob was apprehended, but as the Ranche was a tough working Man’s Pub the regulars did not like what they were seeing and tried to free Bob from the custody of the police and then a mass riot broke out involving around 100 men. This was also watched by many hundreds of men outside.

More back up was needed and police officers from Hamilton and Blantyre were called for assistance. The riot act was read and there were many arrests, this included Bob MacTaggart, who received a six-month prison sentence.

Several years after the riot Bob McTaggart with his wife and children emigrated to Canada where he lived until he was in his seventies and died after losing a leg in a lift accident.

With thanks to Alan McTaggart for sending us a picture of Bob McTaggart.

Alan told us: here is a picture of Cadzow St Anne’s football team 1910-1911 a young Robert”Boab”McTaggart is standing back row 3rd from the Left-hand side this is a photo my late father Robert McTaggart had hanging in his house he was the owner of Croftwood store and was well known by many as “Big Rab” or “Boab” hope you find this interesting. Alan.

Hi Folks,

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Hi Folks,

Next week we will be reposting Historic Hamilton’s most popular stories of 2017. This will give you all a chance to have another read over our fully researched publications and it will also let our new readers see what they have missed.

Do you want to know the History of a building in Hamilton? Is there a family mystery that you would like solved or are you curious about your Ancestry? Send us the details and we will look into this for you.

One more thing! Don’t forget to buy your copy of the Hamilton advertiser this week as we will have an advert in the paper, so remember and tell us what you think.