WW2 ID Cards.

Tom Kelly sent us an I.D. Card that was issued during the war.

Tom Kelly ID Card

The government introduced National Registration Identity Cards in World War II. Everyone, including children, had to carry an identity (ID) card at all times to show who they were and where they lived. The identity card gave the owner’s name and address, including changes of address. Each person was allocated a National Registration number and this was written in the top right hand corner on the inside of the card. The local registration office stamped the card to make it valid.

Tom Kelly ID Card1

The identity card belonged to Thomas W Kelly who lived in 60 Beckford Street in Hamilton. Further information on the card stated that Thomas had recently moved to 56 Eskdale Terrace in Bonnyrigg (Perhaps due to the war?) and later to 80 Elmbank Crescent. It was issued in 1948 when the blue card was introduced for adults. The card had an expiry date of 23rd of September 1964. Until then, adult identity cards had been brown, the same colour as children’s cards. (Government officials had green ID cards with a photograph.)

Tom Kelly ID Card2

On the back of cards for children and young people under 16 was space for the parent or guardian to sign. The parent or guardian was responsible for looking after the child’s identity card, and producing it when required.

Thank you Tom for sending this in, Perhaps you could tell us more about it. Garry,

 

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WORLD WAR 2 1939-1945.

WORLD WAR 2 1939-1945
Written by Wilma Bolton.

Despite the carnage of World War 1, the 1930’s brought war clouds gathering again over Europe and on the 3rd September, 1939, Britain once more declared war on Germany.

As the country mobilised for war, notices appeared in the Hamilton Advertiser informing the civilian population on issues such as gas masks, the blackout, evacuees, rationing and registering for National Service. The intimations page also underwent a change in content when the headings, Deaths on Active Service, Missing in Action and Prisoner of War were added.

May and June 1940 saw 338,226 troops rescued from the beaches of Dunkirk. Many Lanarkshire soldiers were killed or captured during this evacuation of the British Expeditionary Forces, or when fighting with the rear guard protecting the troops on the beaches. Among the soldiers being evacuated were Eddlewood brothers Owen and Charlie Lawless. Owen was killed in action. Charlie survived and fought throughout the duration of the war.

Two High Blantyre brothers, Robert and Jim McCulloch of Stonefield Crescent were also among the survivors. Unable to re-embark at Dunkirk the brothers who were in different units, both managed to reach Brest where they were picked up by one of the hundreds of vessels involved in the rescue. They were overjoyed when they met on board. Robert was lucky to be there, a wallet tucked into in his breast pocket had stopped a piece of shrapnel which undoubtedly would have killed him.

During the nights of the 13th-14th and 14th-15th March 1941, German bombers flew over Hamilton heading for Clydeside. The sky was lit up by searchlights and the town echoed with the noise from the local anti-aircraft guns firing at the planes, as they flew overhead. Aided by the light of a full moon, the bombers discharged a cargo of 105,300 incendiary bombs, bringing death and destruction to Clydebank.

Within two hours of the air raid starting, a large convoy of Hamilton first-aid ambulance and rescue vehicles, fire engines and mobile canteens left for the blazing town. Among the rescue teams were highly trained First Aid Party (F.A.P.) personnel including John Anderson, house factor; Andrew Adams, Portland Place; Gus Le Blonde, Scott Street; John Henderson, lorry driver, Portland Park; Paddy King winding engineman, Arden Road; Guy Lang, newsagent, Morgan Street; Johnny Logan, Alness Street and Bob Roxburgh, optician. It was to be four days before they returned home. Three men from the rescue teams were injured; Samuel Wright and Frank Bebbington received crushing injuries when bombed buildings collapsed on top of them and John Paul received a serious knee injury.

Blantyre also sent a substantial number of rescue personnel in a convoy of eighteen vehicles, nine of which were destroyed during the bombing. Among the rescue teams was Thomas Limerick a former miner and trained first aider from Bairds Rows. Two of the Blantyre rescue team were injured. Vincent McInerney suffered a compound fracture of his arm and David Paterson sustained serious back injuries.

On the 16th March, seven hundred Clydebank refugees arrived at Hamilton and were transported to sixteen previously earmarked rest centres at churches and halls throughout the town. Most of them had lost everything they owned and arrived with only the clothes they stood in.

Among the many families to take refugees into their homes were the McCrums of 54 Mill Road, Hamilton. Mrs Isabella McCrum had been helping with the refugees at Low Waters School where she worked as a cleaner. On returning home, she informed her husband Robert that all the refugees had been found accommodation with the exception of one family of five adults; a mother, three daughters and a son who did not want to be split up. Feeling sorry for them, they went to the school and brought the family back to their home. This family, the Langs, were to stay with the McCrums for the duration of the war. They were living in two bedrooms; one of them normally used by the McCrum girls who were hastily moved down into the living room to sleep. The other bedroom had been used by the four McCrum sons who were away fighting with the British army. One of them John; a Gordon Highlander fought at El Alamein and was wounded by shrapnel in Sicily but survived his injuries. George, a paratrooper also survived the war as did Robert, who fought with Wingate’s Chindits in Burma, but William, a Royal Scot, was killed fighting in Burma.

There were many local soldiers engaged fighting the grim battle against the Japanese in Burma. Another one was Cameronian, James Spiers one of three Earnock brothers, all of whom were regular soldiers fighting for their country. James was killed in Burma and has no known grave, Alexander, a Seaforth Highlander was captured at St Valerie while defending the soldiers being evacuated from Dunkirk. The third brother John, fought in Europe with the Cameronians. Both men rose through the ranks, Alex to become a Major and John a Captain.

Burnbank Blitz.WM

On May 5th a bomb fell on the railway sidings behind Whitehill Road, Burnbank. Luckily there were no casualties.

The country was stunned when on 24th May; H.M.S. Hood was sunk with the loss of 1,417 men. Three young Hamilton sailors, William Pennycook, John Mullen and John Kirkland were among the dead.

William PennycookWM.

In October,May Baillie a young Hamilton nurse, survived 8 days in an open raft after her ship was torpedoed 700 miles from land. She married two weeks after returning home.

Also in October, Lance-Corporal Jimmy Welsh, 6 Neilsland Drive, Meikle Earnock found himself in the thick of the fighting at El Alamein. During the bombardment he heard a sound which brought a lump to his throat. Rising and falling above the thunder of the guns he could hear the pipes of the gallant 51st Highland Division playing the soldiers into battle. The battle of El Alamein was won, resulting in the retreat of Rommel’s Afrika Korps and eventually the surrender of 250,000 German and Italian troops in North Africa.

By November the Government was calling on all “patriots” to give up disused articles of copper, pewter, zinc, lead, brass, bronze, aluminium to make munitions. Collection points were arranged and the people started clearing out their unwanted ferrous metal. The children of Russell Street, Hamilton helped, by having a door to door collection for scrap. Every piece of scrap paper was also collected and recycled.

All over Lanarkshire, people organised back door concerts, whist drives and other forms of entertainment to collect money for the war effort. Prisoners of war were not forgotten. Weekly lists appeared in the Hamilton Advertiser naming contributors to the Red Cross Prisoner of War Fund for food parcels and clothing.

Many local men were decorated for outstanding bravery and among them was Second Officer John Inglis of Burnbank who was awarded the George Medal in December 1942 for his courage when his ship was attacked by enemy aircraft.

1943 saw a turning point in the war and the country was now on the offensive instead of the defensive and winning major victories.

Sunday 26th October was designated “Battle of Britain” day and ceremonial parades and thanksgiving services were held all over the county. The same week saw the repatriation of 790 prisoners of war and civilian internees. Among the men repatriated were James Steel and Matthew McDonald from Burnbank and George Hall, Graham Avenue Eddlewood. Welcome home parties were held for all three men.

In February 1944 there was great excitement in Burnbank when Mrs Lily McGauchie proprietrix of a newsagents shop telephoned the police about a suspicious customer. It was just as well she did; he turned out to be an escaped German prisoner of war.

Among the mighty armada crossing the channel on D-Day June 6th were many of Lanarkshire’s sons. The Death on Active Service columns in the Hamilton Advertiser told of the high price of freedom being paid by local families. Among the dead were Earnock man Brian Cameron and Arthur Russell from Blantyre.

September saw the lights go on again after blackout restrictions were relaxed. This delighted the local children, many of whom had never seen the streets lights on.

In December the Home Guard held a “Stand Down” parade in Hamilton, three months later on May 7th 1945 the war in Europe ended and Hamilton celebrated with flags of all shapes and sizes flying from buildings and windows. Banners were thrown across streets, fairy lights were connected up and by nightfall the town was a mass of colour. Thousands of people danced in the streets and fires were lit on the top of Earnock and Neilsland bings.

At Larkhall there was cheering and singing around a bonfire at the “Old Cross,” after the official announcement that the war in Europe was over. Music was provided by Larkhall Home Guard Pipe Band and reels were danced at Charing Cross. In Blantyre the celebrations lasted three days, with bonfires, music and dancing.

The war with Japan continued for three months after V.E. Day but at midnight on August 15th, Larkhall folk were wakened by the sound of Trinity Church bells ringing out the news that the war with Japan was over. The bells were soon joined by hooters and sirens all loudly announcing the welcome news. By half past twelve bonfires were blazing all over town and spontaneous street parties were being held in Hamilton Road, Hareleeshill, Old Cross, Raploch Cross and Strutherhill.

Thirty minutes after the midnight announcement of the Japanese surrender, victory fires were lit all over Hamilton. The Old Cross was thronged with delighted citizens who danced eightsome reels to the music of pipers. Eventually most of the crowd made their way to the Council’s open air dance floor and danced the night away to the music of Tommy McLaren’s dance band.

In Blantyre’s Morris Crescent, there was a fireworks display using fireworks formerly employed in A.R.P. exercises. In High Blantyre, an effigy of the Japanese Emperor was burnt on one of the celebration bonfires after it was paraded throughout the village by children shouting “we want Togo” and all over the village, street parties were held to celebrate the end of the war.
Ⓒ Wilma S. Bolton. 2018.

“SEARCHLIGHT”

A pencil of light hovered over the sky,
The moonlight revealed each passer-by,
Slowly the beam travelled westward, then
south;
Clear-cut as crystal, compelling as youth,
Between two tall houses, then over the
trees.
Roaming the skies with a careless ease,
Touching as lightly as the wind on the
heath,
Who would have thought it was searching
for death!

ALYSON LUNN.
Strathaven.
Ref. Hamilton Advertiser. 27/4/1940. Page 4.

HMS HOOD.

HMS HOOD

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HMS Hood was the last battle cruiser built for the Royal Navy. Commissioned in 1920, she was named after the 18th-century Admiral Samuel Hood. One of four Admiral-class battle cruisers ordered in mid-1916, Hood had serious design limitations, though her design was drastically revised after the Battle of Jutland and improved while she was under construction. For this reason she was the only ship of her class to be completed.

As one of the largest and, ostensibly, the most powerful warships in the world, Hood was the pride of the Royal Navy and, carrying immense prestige, was known as ‘The Mighty Hood’.

In May 1941, she and the battleship Prince of Wales were ordered to intercept the German battleship Bismarck and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, which were en route to the Atlantic where they were to attack convoys. On 24 May 1941, early in the Battle of the Denmark Strait, Hood was struck by several German shells, exploded and sank. Due to her perceived invincibility, the loss had a profound effect on the British people.

William PennycookWM.

In this picture is Hamilton Man William Pennycook & his brother Tommy (Right) along with his cousin to the left who is unknown. The picture was taken in 1940 the year before he died.

William was one of the crew men on board the HMS Hood on the day it sank. He was born on 19 May 1919 to George and Jeanie Pennycook, of Hamilton. He spent much of his childhood in Nova Scotia and later returned to the UK.

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He lived at Morgan Street and Prior to joining the Navy, he worked with his father at Viewpark Colliery, he was only 22 years old at the time of his loss.

Historic Hamilton would like to thank Toni Sempie for sending in this picture of her Great Uncle.

HUGH SCOTT. 1912-1997

Hugh Scott.
The generations of our ancestors who have over the past decades and centuries were definitely a tough bunch of people. People made do with what they had, and they also worked to the best of their ability to be strong in adverse situations.
 
In 1978 an old age pensioner called Hugh Scott was a direct example of a tough old Hamiltonian. He was born on the Eighteenth of December 1912 to parents John Scott, who was a coal miner and Mary Johnstone. Hugh was born in 82 Albert Buildings which would have been a tied house at Earnock Colliery. The house came with his father’s job as a coal miner.
 
At the moment I don’t have many details to go on about Hugh’s upbringing or what he did in his younger years. When he was an adult, he served in the Tank Corps during the Second World War and after the war, he worked as a loader driver at Drumclog Sandpit where he continued to work until he retired.
 
Sadly, Hugh’s marriage to Helen Mary Boyle broke down and this is where his run of bad luck started. He found himself homeless and although a succession of friends and relatives gave him lodgings he was eventually forced to live rough.
 
Hugh’s story made headlines in the Hamilton Advertiser in December 1978 where he fell on hard times and his birthday was the forthcoming week where was about to turn 66 years old. He told the reporter of the Advertiser that he wasn’t looking forward to his birthday, not to Christmas.
 
Hugh had become so destitute and he was living in a tent on the banks of the river Avon on the outskirts of the Town. He “Moved In” around 6 months prior while most people were taking their Fair Holiday, after spending some time in living in a cave under the nearby road bridge.
Avon Mill7
There were very bad storms in December 1978 and the small tent which Hugh bought from a Tinker had been his only shelter, and with the winter starting to set in he wasn’t looking forward to the New Year either.
 
Blankets and old curtains kept Hugh warm at night and protected him from the nocturnal prowling’s of his regular visitors, moles, field mice & weasels. He used a candle to give him light and he had a five-gallon drum as a fireplace while water for washing and drinking came from the river itself and a nearby spring.
 
Most of his meals came from various halls and hostels in Hamilton, while the animals around his tent made a regular habit of raiding his home for any available food, sometimes eating his soap. But it was just not four-legged predators which Hugh had to deal with.
 
At one-point children cruelly raided Hugh’s tent and threw his clothes and other items into the river. The storms also brought another threat of flooding.
 
However, Hugh who was a well-known figure in Hamilton did manage to weather all the storms, but he did not know how much longer he could last as the last storm to his nearly blew his tent away and the rising water was nearly up to his campsite.
 
The council inspected Hugh’s tent and told him that he couldn’t live in these conditions and they promised him that they would help, but a considerable time had passed since the inspection and there seemed to be no hurry to rehouse Hugh.
 
Hugh called to the council offices on many occasions only to be told that they did not have a house for him and that he had to try again later, so the Hamilton Advertiser enquired to the council on Hugh’s behalf and they told the reporter that “he was very close to the top of the housing list for a two bedroom apartment in Burnbank”.
 
It seemed that the council were indeed very aware of Hugh’s situation and they offered to alleviate his homelessness by putting Hugh into the Hamilton Home, but Hugh would have nothing to do with that. The Hamilton Home, or better known as the Poor House was the last resort for poor people who were destitute, and it was indeed not a very nice place to live.
 
Hugh Scott was a tough old soldier and he continued to live in his tent on the banks of the river Avon. He told the reporter of the Hamilton Advertiser “All that I need for a happy Christmas is to have a roof over my head, even if it’s a hut”.
 
I am sure that Hugh did get his council house not long after he appeared in the Hamilton Advertiser. Hugh was well-known in Hamilton I know that there will be a lot of our readers who knew him, so perhaps you could let us know where he got his new house?
 
Hugh continued lived in Hamilton and he lived to the grand old age of 84 where he died in 1997.
 
Did you know Hugh Scott, or do you remember the story of him living in the Tent on the banks of the Avon? Let us know!

Alexander M. Muir

Alexander Muir WM.

In August 1946 Sad news ended an anxious wait for the parents of Alexander M. Muir. Mr & Mrs John Muir of 10 Whitehill Road in Burnbank had known that their son was reported missing following the fall of Singapore, but the sad news came that he had been killed in March 1943.
Gunner Muir joined the Royal Artillery in August 1939 and went overseas in 1941. He was a native of Hamilton he was educated at Greenfield School. He later moved to Rosewell in Midlothian where he gained employment as a machine man in one of the local collieries. 


He was survived by his wife and his six-year-old son. His only brother who was called John served with the 7th Hussars in Libya and was discharged with war wounds in June 1941.
Alexander Muir was another Brave Hamiltonian who gave his life to his King and country.

THE ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND IN CADZOW STREET TO CLOSE AFTER 115 YEARS IN THE TOWN.

Royal Bank Of ScotlandWM

THE ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND TO CLOSE.
 
It has been announced that the Royal Bank of Scotland is to close 62 of its branches throughout Scotland. Our branch which has stood in Cadzow Street for 115 Years has been confirmed as one of these branches. The new age digital world of online banking has brought the demises of high street banks and for this reason, Cadzow Street will lose an old familiar shop.
 
Hamilton Cadzow Street branch opened as an office of the National Bank of Scotland in October 1902. Hamilton at that time was already a thriving and important town with a population of around 7,600 people. Serval successful decades of coal mining brought considerable wealth to the area, as shown in the numerous fine buildings which were erected in Hamilton and particularly in Cadzow Street around the turn of the twentieth century.
 
The bank agreed to open a branch in the town at the request of William Dykes Loudon who was a local solicitor and town councillor, who believed that Hamilton could provide enough banking business to support another branch, in addition to the several which were already open in Hamilton.
 
National Bank of Scotland had been founded in Edinburgh in 1825 with more shareholders than any other bank in Britain. By the beginning of the twentieth century, it was operating around 125 branches in Towns and Villages throughout Scotland.
National Bank’s Hamilton branch first opened on the 20th of October 1902, with William Loudon himself as its agent. In its early years, the branch operated from Hamilton’s Masonic halls, originally near the bottom of Cadzow Street and Lower Auchingramont Road.
 
Just as William Loudon and the Bank’s directors had expected, the new branch was an immediate success. It was located in a thriving area of the town, with trams beginning to run along Cadzow Street in 1903, and the impressive new Municipal Buildings being opened in 1907.
 
Nevertheless, difficult times were on the horizon when the first world war broke out in 1914, the banking industry found itself facing new challenges. Levels of trade were reduced, money market rates were low, and staff shortages became severe as many Bank clerks of military age enlisted. William Loudon and two members of his staff from the Cadzow Street branch were among 439 employees of the National Bank of Scotland who left their posts to join the war effort.
 
After the war, business returned to normal, but Hamilton itself was changing. The coal mining industry had been severely affected by controls on exports and a shortage of workers during the war, and it never again returned to the levels of productivity that it had experienced at the turn of the century. Numerous Pits in the area were closed during the 1920s and 930s.
 
When the second world war began in 1939 the Banks resumed the special duties which governed their activities in wartime. Five men from the National Bank of Scotland’s Cadzow Street branch left to join the war. Meanwhile, the premises of the branch were also undergoing a change wherein 1942, the bank bought the site of 50 Cadzow Street and set about preparing it for use as a bank branch.
 
In fact, this was not the first time that 50 Cadzow Street had housed a Bank. In the 1860s and 1870s, the building had been owned by the Hamilton branch of the City of Glasgow Bank. This bank collapsed with huge debts and much publicity in 1878, leaving many of its shareholders, including serval citizens of Hamilton financially ruined. (Lewis Potter of Udston House in Burnbank was one of the men who went to prison as a direct result of the collapse of the Bank.)
 
In the early years of the twentieth century, the building had been occupied by a branch of Mercantile Bank of Scotland. More recently it had served as a shop of Peter Wyper & Sons but by the end of the war 50 Cadzow Street had become a bank once more and National Bank of Scotland’s Hamilton Brach was, at last, the sole occupant of premises of its own.
 
The Cadzow Street branch continued to trade successfully throughout the 1940s and 1950s, as new industries moved into the area replacing the old coalmining jobs. New housing was also built around the Town.
 
In 1959, the National Bank of Scotland merged with the Commercial Bank of Scotland, and 50 Cadzow Street branch became part of the National Commercial Bank of Scotland. In 1969 another merger occurred, this time between the National Commercial Bank of Scotland and the Royal Bank of Scotland. The new bank, with 693 branches enjoyed over 40 percent of Scottish Banking business.
 
The Royal Bank of Scotland now found itself with three branches in Hamilton, all located on Cadzow Street, there was the old National Bank at number 50, a former Commercial Bank Branch at number 88, and the original Royal Bank Branch at number 105. All three branches remained open, although the branch at 88 Cadzow Street was relocated in 1972 to Duke Street, in order to give a better geographical coverage of the town, particularly in the growing shopping area.
 
The branch at 50 Cadzow Street remained in its own premises and in 1980, a cashline machine was installed for the first time. The interior of the premises was also refurbished in the early 1980s and again in the mid-1990, but the exterior remains as much as it did when the branch first opened here in 1902. The branch absorbed the business of 105 Cadzow Street branch upon its closure.
 
Today and 115 years after it first opened its doors for business, Hamilton’s Cadzow Street branch continues to offer a full range of Banking services to our community, but for how long?
Royal Bank Of Scotland1

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.