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Charles Dobson, A Company, 1st Battalion, HLI. 1944 to 1947

Charles Dobson, A Company, 1st Battalion, HLI. 1944 to 1947

Provided by Steve Dobson

My name is Steve Dobson and I’m submitting this information on behalf of my Dad.

I’ve just come back from visiting my Father, who from 1944 to 1947 belonged to the HLI, City of Glasgow Regiment. My Dad, who turned 91 in May, still talks about his days in the HLI. He had recorded a programme which had been on the Yesterday Channel as part of a series called “Infamous Assassinations” this particular programme was about the death of Israeli Prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. The programme gives the back story to the setting up of Israel and about 12 or 13 minutes into the programme, it talks about the Peacekeeping Force sent into Palestine to try and keep the Jews out. The camera flickers showing Jews in Jerusalem and pans across to a group of British soldiers stood by a Bren Gun Carrier, with the number 62 on its front. There are five soldiers, all members of the HLI, Tam o’Shanters on heads and rifles in hands. There amongst the group, second on the right, is a 19 year old Charles Robert Dobson, my father. Or at least we’re 98% sure it’s my Dad, who was a Bren gun man. The image only lasts seconds, but we paused it and sure enough it looks like my Dad, or at least photos I have of him at that age. My Dad tells me that the White Triangle on the arms of the soldiers shows that they belonged to 1st Division, and Dad was in A Company of the HLI. However he can’t recall the names of the other guys in the group, apart from he thinks one may have been called Ballantine. I thought that HLI Association members might like to watch the programme as it is bound to be repeated.

My Dad’s details are Charles Robert Dobson, born 27th May 1926, Liverpool, England. Service Number 14986559, A Company, 1st Battalion, Highland Light Infantry, City of Glasgow Regiment. At the time of the photo, which my Dad thinks was in the winter of 1945-46, because their wearing full uniform, if it had not been winter they would have shorts on, my father was a Lance Corporal and by the time he was demobbed in 1947, he was a Corporal.

My Dad was one of only two Liverpool lads in the HLI (at that time) and of course he was known as “Scouse” or as the Scots guys called him “Scoose” in their Scots brogue. His best friend was a guy called Angus McWilliam of Peterhead, Dad is still in contact with Angus. The only other Liverpudlian my Dad can remember was a guy called Charlie Warwick, who was a Bren Gun Carrier Driver and was in S Company.

So how did a lad from Liverpool, with no Scots ancestry end up in the HLI? Well, in 1944, Dad signed up for the Navy, then it was decided that soldiers rather than sailors were needed so he was transferred to the Army, he tells me that the 149 at the start of his Service Number show that he was a transferee. He was send over to Northern Ireland for his basic training, In the County Down area, not far from Newcastle. Whilst there D Day happened, and after training in about August 1944, he found himself amongst a party of 100 soldiers shipped from Tilbury Docks in London on an American Troop Ship to Belgium. Once in Belgium, the 100 were spilt in half, 50 went into the HLI and the other 50 others ended up with another Scots regiment, possibly the Black Watch or Argyle and Sutherlands. My Dad heard that these 50 guys were all killed later in the war.

The HLI were at time part of the 53rd Welsh Division according to Dad and they went into Germany in February 1945 at a place called Goch, which is south east of Nijmegen in Holland. He ended up in Hamburg near the end of April 1945 and he tells a story of being posted on guard duty at Hamburg Cathedral on May 8th, the night the war in Europe ended. The place they were particularly guarding was the wine cellars below the Cathedral; you can imagine the chaos that eschewed with a load of young Scots lads and a Scouser guarding a cellar full of wine!!

After the VE day, Dad was on guard duty at a barracks were Josef Kramer and other prisoners from the Belsen camp where held. Then about July or August they were flown in a converted Stirling Bomber from Brussels to a place called Heliopolis near Cairo, Egypt, for one month’s acclimatisation to the heat before going into Palestine. Dad remembers that VJ day, August 14th, happened whilst he was out there, as he remembers discussing the Atom Bombs etc. Anyway he ended up spending about 2½ years out in Palestine in various locations. Dad remembers the footballer and later manager,Tommy Docherty, joining D company at some point whilst they were in Palestine.

After the war, he was one of many reservists, who were called up because of the war in Korea, luckily he was never sent to Korea and went back to civvy street, working as a tram and bus driver in Liverpool. Dad remained in the TA for many years but was then attached to the Royal Artillery; by the time he was discharged from the TA in 1960 he’d reached to rank of Sergeant.

He was able to put his time in the Army to use, because of an organisation called the Royal Artillery Association. Through which he managed to get a job as a chauffeur to the Managing Director of a shipping company.

Luckily despite being 91, his memory is fantastic, so hopefully he’ll come up with some more interesting stuff.

Charles Robert Dobson, A Company, 1st Battalion, HLI


Major George Stewart

Major George Stewart

It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing on Boxing Day 2017 of Major George Stewart, a long serving member of the Glasgow Highlanders, and former Chairman of the GH Association.  George seen below preparing to lead the HLI and GH Associations on parade on Remembrance Sunday November 2010.

George’s funeral will be on Thursday 11th January 2018 at 12:00 at Lambhill Crematorium Tresta Road, Cadder, Glasgow.


Glasgow Remembrance Services 2017

Glasgow Remembrance Services 2017

The following Services of Remembrance in Glasgow were attended by members of the HLI Association with the HLI Association Standard carried.

(Remembrance Service George Square 2017)

Bridgeton Cross Armistice Service Friday 10th November 2017

Jim Devine, Jimmy Urquhart and Billy Neilson (RHF Association) at the 7th (Blythswood) Battalion HLI Memorial at Glasgow Green after the Bridgeton Cross Armistice Service.

Glasgow Remembrance Service George Square Sunday 12th November 2017

Commemoration Event for John Brown Hamilton VC

Commemoration Event for John Brown Hamilton VC

John Hamilton VC and his wife Mary after his return from the western front

The Highland Light Infantry Association standard was paraded by Association members Jim Devine and Jimmy Urquhart for Victoria Cross commemoration events at Dumbarton on Saturday 23rd September (Assaye Day), and at a service in Cambuslang Parish Church on Tuesday 26th September for 1/9th (Glasgow Highlanders) Bn. Highland Light Infantry Victoria Cross recipient L/Cpl John Hamilton. Commemorative plaques were unveiled on the banks of the river Clyde and river Leven at Dumbarton, and in Cambuslang Parish Church.

Both events were well attended by local dignitaries and veterans organisations, and most importantly, John Hamilton’s grandson Gordon and granddaughters Meryle and Hazel had all made long journeys from around the country to mark this commemoration of their valiant grandfather.

On 25/26 September 1917 north of the Ypres-Menin Road, Belgium. For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty during the enemy’s attack on the line held by our Brigades. The greatest difficulty was experienced in keeping the front and support lines supplied with ammunition. As it was of vital importance that this should be got forward Lance Corporal Hamilton on several occasions on his own initiative carried bandoliers of ammunition through the enemy’s belts of fire to the front and support line, and then passing along these lines in full view of the enemy’s snipers and machine guns distributed the ammunition. By his splendid example of fearlessness and devotion to duty he inspired all who saw him with fresh confidence and renewed their determination to hold on at all costs.

He later achieved the rank of Sergeant. Between the two World Wars he remained an active reserve and Territorial Army member. At the outbreak of World War II he was in hospital and missed mobilisation, and luckily missed his unit being captured at St Valery in the defence of Dunkirk. He eventually was promoted through the ranks and finished the war as a Colonel in charge of an Italian prisoner of war camp in England. He died at the age of 77. His Victoria Cross is displayed at the National War Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle.

Sunday 30th July 2017 – Service to Commemorate the Battle of Passchendale

Sunday 30th July 2017 – Service to Commemorate the Battle of Passchendale


Compassion on the field of Passchendale

The Battle of Passchendaele, also known as the 3rd Battle of Ypres, took place on the Western Front, between 31 July and 10 November 1917. As was often the case, the Battle was a series of smaller battles that were fought during those 102 days.

Although, there were some initial successes, adverse weather conditions reduced the battlefield to a quagmire and the offensive became, quite literally, bogged down.

It was a very costly battle in terms of casualties on both sides: some 275,000 British and Commonwealth casualties and 220,000 on the German side.

All British and Commonwealth units were involved; in particular, the 9th (Scottish), 15th (Scottish), 51st (Highland) and Royal Naval Divisions.

A Service to commemorate this terrible, bloody Battle will be held at Glasgow Cathedral at 1100 on Sunday 30 July 2017 – conducted by the Reverend D J MacPherson CF RAChD.

All are invited to this service and we are keen that as many Service organisations as possible will bring Colours and Standards.

The timings will be as follows:
· 1015: Rehearsal Colours & Standards
· 1045: All seated in Cathedral
· 1100: Service commences

William Blackwood HLI

William Blackwood HLI

It was with great sadness that we learned on Thursday the 3rd August 2017, that Willie Blackwood (HLI and RHF) had passed away.  Willie was a very well known and much respected figure who began his military career in the HLI and moved into the RHF on amalgamation in 1959.  He was probably best remembered as one of the battalion boxing champions.  A fine soldier and sportsman, and a true gentleman.

Gone but not forgotten
Charles Bryan 1927-2017 HLI Palestine/Egypt 1947-49

Charles Bryan 1927-2017 HLI Palestine/Egypt 1947-49

It is with great sadness that we heard from his son John, of the passing recently of Charlie Bryan. Charlie served in Support Company of the 1st Bn HLI in Palestine and in Egypt.  Charlie was a welcome visitor to the Iron Horse Thirsty Thursday sessions, and our regular parades and gatherings when his health permitted.

The family have intimated that a private family funeral was Charlie’s wish.

Gone but not forgotten.

Major Robert Barbour Cameron HLI

Major Robert Barbour Cameron HLI

Robert Barbour Cameron

Robert Barbour Cameron enlisted into the Highland Light Infantry at Glasgow University Officer Training Corps on the 18th of September 1939. He was subsequently commissioned into the Highland Light Infantry (2nd Bn. Glasgow Highlanders).

Robert’s wartime service was spent as an officer in the 12th Frontier Force Regiment, a regiment comprised of British and Empire troops, serving in India and Burma. The 12th Frontier Force Regiment was part of General Slim’s 14th Army, the so-called “forgotten army”. This unfortunate moniker was due largely to the lack of contemporary press interest in the Burma campaign. So much so that General Slim is said to have told his troops…

“When you go home don’t worry about what to tell your loved ones and friends about service in Asia. No one will know where you were, or where it is if you do. You are, and will remain “The Forgotten Army.”

Pte. Ernest (Ern) William Brown

Pte. Ernest (Ern) William Brown

Dear All,

On behalf of his Son, I am hoping to trace the Army Career of my Father -in-Law Ernest William Brown.  Ern died in 1975, but often spoke of his time in the Army.  He was born and lived in Consett County Durham, and said that as a teenager he joined the HLI in Durham in the late 1920s.  He often said, he thought he was joining the Durham Light Infantry!!!   He served in India, and left the army in 1935/36 when he married.

The only personal possessions of his time in the Army are the photo’s shown below.   One of Ern in uniform, and the other of his Regiment perhaps in India.

Is there someone who can confirm that the uniform is that of the HLI.   It would also be helpful to know if the marching column is thought to be that of the HLI.

Any information would be helpful, including any link where we could find his Army Records.

Thanking you

in anticipation.

Owen Master


Elizabeth Cross Presentation Ceremony

Elizabeth Cross Presentation Ceremony

HLI Association Cyprus veterans Jimmy Urquhart and Jim Fury attended the presentation ceremony at Glasgow City Chambers where Mrs Jean Andrew, the sister of their fallen HLI comrade John Beattie, was presented with the Elizabeth Cross.

The Herald 23rd February 2017