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HLI Stories

This section is for personal stories or recollections from members who served in the HLI Regiment.

Former Soldier - Thomas Henry Evans - RIP PDF Print E-mail
HLI Community - HLI Stories
Written by Kerrie Spicer   
Thursday, 14 July 2011 22:25

I found this website today and wanted to post something on it in memory of my grandad, Thomas Henry Evans, who died on Friday 8 July in Auckland, NZ, aged 89 years, and who had been a member of the Highland Light Infantry.  I am not sure much about his time with HLI, other than that he served in the Middle East and his Army Number was: 5391864.  I am going to miss him so much. 

Angus McWilliam 1st Battalion HLI 1944-47 PDF Print E-mail
HLI Community - HLI Stories
Written by Steve Dobson   
Saturday, 28 May 2011 08:47

I've heard from my Dad's friend Angus McWilliam, who is still in touch with my old man and who is a whole week younger than my Dad, they're both 85 years old. Angus has very kindly sent me some photos and memories to share with you.


Angus and my Dad, Charlie Dobson, have remained friends since meeting on basic training in Northern Ireland in 1944. I'm told that there were three of them in their little gang with a Yorkshireman named Freddie Brannan making up the trio. Freddie Brannan took the photograph below, which shows Bob Hope, with his arm raised pointing at something. Bob Hope was with some American officers and was spotted by Freddie and other lads from the HLI, somewhere on the outskirts of Hamburg a few days before VE day.


Angus tells me that despite the HLI being a Scots regiment, at least half of their number were Englishmen back in those days and that there was always lots of banter regarding the various football teams they all supported. Angus was in Hamburg when the war ended and he remembers that part of the Army rations given to the troops was a sweet ration of seven sweets a day. Angus, my Dad and their mate Freddie used to give their sweets, usually caramels, to the local German children. Angus says that the look of delight on the kids’ faces was wonderful to see.

The soldiers were also given a carton of 50, Woodbine or Players Navy Cut cigarettes a week and Angus, being a non smoker, did well trading them with Germans who were desperate for British cigarettes. The photo below is of Charlie Dobson with a pipe clamped in his mouth with a Scots guy who's name neither Angus or my Dad can remember. My Dad gave up his pipe for a £5 bet when he turned 50, some 35 years ago.


Angus writes that his memories of the HLI's time in Palestine and Egypt are of extreme boredom and heat, being stuck in the desert for weeks at a time, with only the occasional jaunt into Jerusalem or Cairo to break the monotony.

Photo above shows Angus McWilliam on right with a unidentified HLI soldier.

Photo below is of Freddie Brannan on the right, with a soldier Angus names as Joe McDonald and was taken somewhere in Europe, Belgium or Holland or Germany, sometime in 1945.

Photo below shows a Corporal Murphy sat alongside Angus who appears to be doing a Winston Churchill impression and flashing the V for Victory sign!!

Angus says that he has more photos and information somewhere in his loft and will try to find it and pass it on.  Hope you've enjoyed his photos.


Men of 1HLI at the Pyramids 1946 PDF Print E-mail
HLI Community - HLI Stories
Written by Lee Ruffell   
Thursday, 07 April 2011 14:55

 Jack Brooks (my Grandfather) is front row on the right.  Back row in the middle is Mitchell.


My Grandfather's time in 1HLI 1944-1946 PDF Print E-mail
HLI Community - HLI Stories
Written by Lee Ruffell   
Thursday, 07 April 2011 05:23

My Grandfather John "Jack" Brooks served with 1HLI 1944-1946.
Initially he was in training for aerial gunnery in the RAF.  He was transferred to Infantry (it was that or the coal mines) and somehow a boy from Kent ended up with the Scots.
He was among the first of the 53rd Welsh troops to land at Arromanche at the end of June 1944.  He got a weeks leave after getting some shrapnel in the leg and went home to get married.
At sometime during the fracas he and and some other guys were sheltering in an old farmhouse which got mortared.  Afterwards there were dead cows everywhere, so being a butcher by trade he went out and cut some steaks.  While cooking them up with some onions from the fields the Officers appeared to see what was going on.  Eventually some ended up with the CO and he made my Grandfather his cook!

After Hamburg he went to Palestine with the Battalion.
Grandad cooked for about 200 officers on the 27th August 1946 at Suez the occasion was Presentation of Colours held by General Sir Miles Dempsey.  Have got a booklet with officers names in and the Ceremony (would be nice to find out a bit more if possible).
Unfortunately he came down with TB while out on patrol and was repatriated back to Preston Hall.  After treatment he was finally demobbed in 1949.

This is a brief history, he has lots of stories, some getting a little hazy at the ripe age of 84.  I have a picture to put up when I scan it in.

The 1st Battalion, HLI in Palestine. PDF Print E-mail
HLI Community - HLI Stories
Written by Steve Dobson   
Monday, 04 April 2011 11:07

In my first entry of stories from my Dad ( Charles Robert Dobson 1st Battalion, HLI, 1944-47) I mentioned a TV programme and how we thought that a we saw a brief glimpse of HLI soldiers in Jerusalem.  I've managed to take a photo of the TV screen that shows these soldiers.  I'm afraid that the quality isn't good, because firstly you can see the reflection of my camera and tripod and secondly the picture is grainy anyway.  The soldier that we think is my Dad is the one second from the right, leaning against the Bren Gun Carrier, my Dad was a marksman with the Bren Gun.

UPDATE:- I've just been informed that this episode of Infamous Assassinations - Yitzhak Rabin Isreal 1995, is being shown on the Yesterday channel at 11:30am on Tuesday 12th April 2011. see



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