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|Angus McWilliam 1st Battalion HLI 1944-47|
|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.