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John was born in Helensburgh Dumbartonshire in approximately 1882 . He was the son of John Leitch of 14, West Clyde Helensburgh . John and his wife Christina C Leitch lived in Arbroath Forfarshire at 1 Culloden Crescent at the time of his enlistment in 1914 with two daughters Ina & Elizabeth . John s/n 3103 was KIA the night of July 15 1917 during the battle of the Dunes near Nieuport Belgum . I would like to thank my friends at The Great War Forum for much of the information we have of Johns war service . After spending two years of research I have adopted John as my own but he is actually my lovely wife's Great Grand Father . If this information could put us in touch with long lost family members in your great Country that that would be our ultimate goal. Best Regards Bill & Catherine
A photo of my Grandfather George McFadyan HOLLEY (1883 - 1945)
Circa after 1905 (year of enlistment in the HLI) and before 1914 (year immigrated to USA from Glasgow with my Grandmother Martha MCDOWELL HOUSTON and my father Thomas). Back of photo reads: "No. 9562, Pvt. Geo. Holley, K. Coy, 1st H.L.I., Dum Dum, India"
A photo of my Grandfather George Holley with his Daughter (my Aunt Helen) and Son (my Uncle Chuck)
Helen was a U.S. Navy Aviation Machinist Mate and Chuck a U.S. Navy Signal Man 3rd/Class. Chuck served aboard the USS Nashville (CL-43) - he was awarded the Purple Heart from injuries sustained during a Kamikaze attack. Both my Aunt and Uncle have said that my Grandfather was very proud of their military service during WWII.
George McFadyan Holley: United States - WWII Draft Registration Card at age 58
Also within the DOWNLOADS section you can view within "PDFs" a three (3) page copy of the Highland Light Infantry Chronicle, Vol V, No.1, January, 1905 where George is listed within the "Depot Notes" under "Recruits Joined Since Last
Issue": 9562 G. Holly (surname misspelled).
Page three of the Chronicle contains a recruiting advertisement for: "Smart Respectable Young Men of Scottish Nationality" to join the HLI.
Wondering if anyone can comment on my Grandfathers uniform and/or the history of
the 1st HLI between 1905 and 1914. And the translation of:
"CLANNAIBH NAN GAIDHEAL RI GUALAIBH A CHEILE"
as noted at the end of the HLI Chronicle article.
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.
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 http://www.locatetv.com/tv/infamous-assassinations/3657947
Here is my Dad's discharge book when he eventually got home after more than three years with the HLI.
There was a slight mistake on the discharge book as my Dad is shown as a Lance Corporal, when he was by that time a Corporal.
My Dad seems to think that the document was signed by a Major who was the 2IC, to the Lieut. Colonel. It looks like the Major was J.G. Coulter or Coultard. It says that Dad's Military Conduct was Exemplary and the Testimonial reads "Classified Signaller. Thoroughly honest, sober and dependable. Intelligent and thoroughly respectful in his manner. A good signal ??(word unclear)"
Apparently this was the Army equivalent of a letter of recommendation to be used when getting a job.
Hope it's of some interest.
My Dad, Charles Robert Dobson, known as Charlie or “Scouse”, was in the HLI, his memory for names of his platoon and company members isn’t brilliant, but I’ve got a few more stories from him that I thought I’d share. Don’t forget that these stories are from a man who turns 85 in two months, so exact dates and historical accuracy is not guaranteed
My father remembers that in Hamburg, his company (A Company) had a Sergeant by the name of BARTELLI. The sergeant was from a Glasgow family who owned a Fish & Chip shop that was right next door to the Maryhill Barracks. Maybe some older Glaswegian’s may remember the shop? I believe that Glasgow was home to a lot of families of Italian descent.
Another name he recalls from his platoon was a Geordie from Newcastle by the name of DENNIS COCKING, a guy who was football mad and a dyed in the wool Newcastle United fan. In 1946 a Newcastle player named Albert Stubbins transferred to Liverpool, my Dad’s team. At the time my Dad said it a major move for a record fee of £12,500 and this Dennis Cocking guy moaned and whinged for about two months after the move as he couldn’t believe Stubbins had deserted his home town team for Liverpool. Stubbins' later claim to fame was an appearance on the front cover of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, the only footballer to be given that honour.
The photo below was taken approximately late 1946 or early 1947 and my Dad appears to be showing off fairly fresh tattoos. They don't look anywhere near as crisp and sharp now he's 85 years old.
My Dad also remembers a man by the name of MITCHELL, who won the Military Medal and if you asked him why he had been awarded the medal he would tell you that he got it for throwing snowballs at the Germans. I’d like to know why he had won it? Dad thinks that they had about six MM recipients in the regiment.
There is another reason that my Dad remembers Mitchell, was because their company were detailed as a guard of honour for a visit by the Emir Abdullah, the King of Jordan to the then High Commissioner of Palestine, General Alan Cunningham. The Commissioners residence was at the top of a hill, the King walked up and down the rows of the honour guard, stopping occasionally to speak to some of the soldiers. He stopped to speak to Mitchell who was two away from my Dad. The King said to Mitchell “How long have you been in the British Army?” Mitchell took a breath and bellowed at the top of his lungs “21 years, your Majesty!” The Kings face was a picture apparently.
Another soldier Dad remembers from his platoon was a chap called HARRISON who was a tall, blond lad who came from Keithley in Yorkshire and loved the game of cricket. Many years later watching a TV programme about the bombing of the King David hotel in Jerusalem, there was photo of Harrison stood with his rifle outside the remains of the hotel were 80+ people had died. At the time of the bombing the battalion were in the Allenby Barracks, which was just up the road from the hotel. Several members of the HLI, Dad included, were called out to help get the wounded and dead out of the ruins.
Dad remembers quite a lot of trouble surrounding the issue of demobilisation, a lot of soldiers had been through WWII and now they found themselves in a hot, desolate country, miles from home, whilst others were returning to their wives and families, some of the soldiers got a bit disgruntled. At this time the Battalion had come out of Palestine and were stationed in Egypt. In late 1945 or early 1946 a number of Royal Army Service Corps (RASC) men barricaded themselves on board some barges they were unloading in Port Suez, Egypt, they were protesting because of the slow demob. Some days after they were forcibly brought out of the barges and found themselves posted to other regiments in the area. The 1st HLI received about 20 of the RASC soldiers who were told in no uncertain terms that if any trouble started in the Battalion, then they would immediately have to report to the Company Office for duty, if they failed to report they were told that they would be tried and shot for mutiny.
Some time later in 1946 Dad and a number of other soldiers from the Battalion, including the Commanding Officer, Colonel Rose, were sent home on a 21 day leave. On their return to Egypt they were told that whilst they were away the Battalion had formed a mass march from their camp to take part in a meeting, with other Regiments in the area, at an open air cinema, they too were protesting about the very slow demob. The story goes that the RSM tried to stop the march and had ordered the soldiers on guard duty to fire upon their mates; they refused and let the march pass through. The HLI had been led on the march by a Provost Sergeant named SLOPER, for this act Sgt. Sloper received a term in the glasshouse, my Dad doesn’t remember how long his prison term was. All this had happened under the watch of the 2IC, a Major whose name Dad can’t remember, the Major was very quickly posted away.
Conversely, another story tells of a group of men with age and service group numbers as low as 6 or 7 who were being demobbed, sat on the front of a Jeep crying like babies as their Jeep was towed along by another Jeep. These men were in their late 40’s or early 50’s and the army had been their life since they had left Glasgow years before. My old man said that at the time Glasgow and indeed his home town of Liverpool had terrible slums and these guys knew what they were going back to and preferred army life, harsh as it was.
Finally all that association with Scots must have rubbed off on my Dad, because after he’d returned to Civvy Street he met and married a half Scots girl, my Mum, who can trace her family roots back to the early 16th century to the island of Fetlar in Shetland.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed Dad’s stories.
My father, Stan Rumble, was a Canloan officer who served with the HLI, and was wounded in action in Normandy in June 1944.
He passed away some years ago.
I am interested in learning any information about his military service, and his career with the HLI.
Thanks very much.
Ted Rumble - Toronto, Canada
I'm looking for any of my fellow comrades from the Battle of Assaye. I'm sure I've seen you around somewhere.
Normandy 6th June 2013
A delegation of the Highland Light Infantry Association At the war cemetery at St Manvieu near Cheux, France. 6th June 2013. John Lamont and John Scrivin, the two sprightly youngsters in the middle were actually there in 1944! — in Saint-Manvieu-Bocage, Basse-Normandie.
The Highland Light Infantry Association is the official organisation for ex-members of 1 HLI, 2 HLI, 5 HLI, 6 HLI, 9 HLI (The Glasgow Highlanders), 10 HLI and the HLI Companies of The First Battalion, The 52nd LOWLAND Volunteers. Associate membership is also available to members of other UK and Allied veteran associations, descendants of HLI veterans, and serving military personnel.
The HLI Association meets for an annual "Assaye" reunion in September of each year, and attends various veteran events in and around the City of Glasgow, including: VE Commemoration Day, Armed Forces Day, VJ Commemoration Day, and of course, Remembrance Sunday.
Glasgow Remembrance Service Sunday 10th November 2013
Evening Times 11/11/13
Remembrance Service Bridgeton Glasgow Monday 11th November 2013
2 Scots Homecoming Parade Glasgow Friday 15th November 2013 2 Scots Homecoming Video by David McNay (This link will take you to YouTube)
The Glasgow Highlanders Association held a service of dedication of their new standard in St Columba Church of Scotland Highland Cathedral on Sunday 18th November 2012.
The new Glasgow Highlanders Association Standard flanked by the RHF Association Standard and our own proudly borne by 1 HLI veteran Jim Urquhart.
(Photo by the Secretary)
Members of the HLI Association and other ex-service associations supported and participated in this splendid event. HLI Association members also assisted in raising funds towards the cost of the new GH Association standard. It is intended that both the HLI and GH Associations will continue to march together at parades with both standards flying!Kilts V Trews 1957
Click on the link above for a short British Pathe news film on the battle over amalgamation.
(Link will open in a new browser window)
Liverpool lad in the Highland Light Infantry!
Charles Robert Dobson, Service Number 14986559, A Company, 1st Battalion, Highland Light Infantry, City of Glasgow Regiment. (Photograph c.1944 courtesy of Steven Dobson)
Do you recognise Charlie? Also known (inevitably!) as "Scouse". He would like to hear from old comrades. Read more about Charlie in the "HLI Stories section".
Service of Dedication of a new Standard for the Highland Light Infantry Association 13th August 2010
This website has been developed to raise the awareness of the Highland Light Infantry Association and facilitate communication between its members whilst also appealing to the wider general public.
The website will grow over time and will hopefully stimulate further research and study into this famous Regiment.