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Home HLI Stories Angus McWilliam 1st Battalion HLI 1944-47
Angus McWilliam 1st Battalion HLI 1944-47 PDF Print E-mail
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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.

 

 

Comments 

 
0 #8 Jean Robinson 2015-09-25 21:05
Quote:
Quote:
My uncle was John Leslie Evans, nickname Taffy who served in "A" Company, 8 Platoon, 10th Battalion of the HLI, he and another soldier David Bain were killed on 2nd May 1945 and are both buried in Ohlsdorf Cemetery, Hamburg next to each other.

jean - david bain was my grandfather! how great to read this post!

Karen - I was thrilled to hear that you are David Bain's grandaughter and have taken the time to inform me. Have you ever visited his grave? I have not but have a photo of my uncle's grave. He was my mother's brother.
 
 
0 #7 karen mathers 2015-09-21 05:00
Quote:
My uncle was John Leslie Evans, nickname Taffy who served in "A" Company, 8 Platoon, 10th Battalion of the HLI, he and another soldier David Bain were killed on 2nd May 1945 and are both buried in Ohlsdorf Cemetery, Hamburg next to each other.

jean - david bain was my grandfather! how great to read this post!
 
 
0 #6 lynn clifford 2013-11-15 21:41
i loved reading this, i am looking for any info on my grandads brother james mcgill from glasgow he was hli 2nd battalion died 02/02/45 buiried in phalos war memorial greece,any info or pics from this time would be greatly appreciated! many thanks!
 
 
+3 #5 Steve Dobson 2013-06-06 14:48
05/06/2013 UPDATE

Sadly Angus McWilliam passed away this morning, three days after his 87th birthday. Another warrior reports to that great parade ground in the sky!

My father, Charlie Dobson and the rest of the Dobson clan send our condolences to Angus's family.

Steve Dobson
 
 
-2 #4 Jean Robinson 2012-05-11 13:28
Loved seeing the photos and your write-up. Does anyone remember a Lt Gorley?
 
 
0 #3 Kerrie Spicer 2012-05-11 03:17
Thanks for the photos, Steve. My grandad died last year and I've been trying to find photos or any info I can of his time in the HIL - but unfortunately (and I kick myself now) he never gave me much info. He had dementia for the last 5 years of his life and he only had vague memories before that. He told me he was originally in the Bucks Battalion and listed in County Down, Northern Ireland. Spent 2.5 years there and then transferred to HLI at Rye, Kent. They went to France and Holland (where he lost a lot of mates), then Germany and Middle East, a couple of miles from Jerusalem.

I wish I knew more, so I could feel closer to him, but your photos helped to at least me give me some idea of what his life was like in the army. I once asked him to name the best days and the worst days of his life. He said the best day was "when I joined the army" and his worst day was "when I left the army".
 
 
+2 #2 Jean Robinson 2011-12-08 00:06
My uncle was John Leslie Evans, nickname Taffy who served in "A" Company, 8 Platoon, 10th Battalion of the HLI, he and another soldier David Bain were killed on 2nd May 1945 and are both buried in Ohlsdorf Cemetery, Hamburg next to each other.
 
 
+2 #1 HLI Admin 2011-05-29 08:32
Great photos Steve. I'm actually in the Middle East right now (Qatar) so I can really sympathize with your father's comments on the heat. I look forward to seeing any new photos. Cheers

David Taylor
HLI Association Middle East Representative and Part Time Webmaster
 

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