Quick Ren - Here's yer Faither!
above link publicising
Territorial Week for the TA Headquarters with Lord Provost Mitchell and Major
Lyon, chairman of Territorial Association, who visit the RE 2B6. Field Company's
display accompanied by Officer Commanding. Shots of visitors outside
splinter-proof shelter and scenes inside drill hall showing a Model of a box
girder bridge .Also shots of the TA ball in the 'Palais de Danse', crowded
with uniformed dancers and the local band.
Terriers - TA Aberdeen Circa 1938
Alexander Wood Fowler top row 4th in from Right at Don Barracks
75th (Highland) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery (9)
(H.Q., 299th (City of Aberdeen) & 300 th (City of Aberdeen) Field Batteries,
This was a T.A. regiment, with the headquarters, 298th , 299th and 300th
based at Ruby Lane, North Silver Street, Aberdeen;
The Don Barracks
Barracks are situated in Bridge of Don, Aberdeen. Built by J & W
Wittet, circa 1935, the barracks buildings are located around the
barrack square. Constructed of dressed granite blocks, the two-storey
central block, once used as the Junior Ranks Club, is typical of the
style with 3 bays and being rectangular in shape. The roof is crowstepped and
slated. It has very grand Royal coated arms tripartite above with pediment
detail. Other listed buildings include: the Medical Reception Centre, 3 barracks
blocks, the Guard Room, Gate Piers and Gates, Married Quarters, the Officers
Mess and the Gymnasium. Once the depot for the Gordon Highlanders,
Gordon Barracks, it then became the training depot for the Highland
Brigade. It is still actively used for training by the local cadet groups.
The Barracks also hosts many events which serve the community of Aberdeen.
Ellon Road, Gordon Barracks Parade Ground Barracks Block A, Old Machar (Don Barracks)
1935. 2-storey, 7-bay range with wider advanced and crowstepped centre bay with
apex stack. Squared granite rubble with rock-faced base courses, finely tooled
ashlar dressings with long and short quoins. Centre bay, 3 windows each floor.
Outer bays, windows in pairs. All windows narrow with multi-pane. Sash and case
glazing. Straight skews, end stacks, slate roof. Entrance at rear.
2-storey, 7-bay range with wider advanced and crowstepped gabled centre bay with
apex stack. Squared granite rubble with rock-faced base courses, finely tooled
ashlar dressings and long and short quoins. Door off-centre left of wide central
bay, 2 windows to left 3 above. Outer bays windows in pairs. All windows narrow
with multi-pane sash and case glazing. Entrance
to rear: straight skews, stack at E. Slate roof.
1935. 2-storey, 7-bay symmetrical range with 3 window advanced centre gabled bay
with straight skews, stepped skewputt and centre stack. Squared granite rubble.
Windows paired in outer bays; multi-pane sash and case glazing throughout. Slate
roof; end stacks. Entrance at rear (S).
joined the TA's at 18 for shear bravado and some extra shillings for weekend
soldiering to eak out his otherwise meagre earnings. Seen here in the
ubiquitous tinted photos (before colour) take pride of place in the home within
a mirror surround bevelled edge glass frame. The watching sentinel image
as wife with new born bairn and 2 other sons to feed in their absence were
waiting for the dreaded telegram borne news of widowhood from the Government War
Department. All before the Welfare State had been mooted.
pronounced him 'ready trained' when war was declared in 1939 and he found
himself catapulted out as a Royal Artillery Man into North Africa to attack
German Tank Corp with 25 pound shells with nothing but fingers to put in his
ears making him very deaf indeed. Censored photographs shown him kneeling
next to the shells as tall as he was in that position. He really lost the
will to live or return to his family as he witnessed the carnage among his
from Egypt on to Alexandria, Cairo Libya, Sicily and more heavy pounding of Monte Cassino in
Italy. He eventually reached Rome where he was repatriated and demobbed
only to run in fear of being Z-Reserved into the Korean Conflict in the 1950's.
Despite being given enough money to buy a house and fully equipped with a
new suit and hat
- the full Montague Burton's when demobilised - they all pissed it away like
the Hero's they saw themselves to be and then resumed their hand to
mouth living as common labourers billeted in a Garret with little more comfort
than a desert tent.
Although a trained and an expert Fish
Filleter in Torry he did not enjoy the work and spent his days humping Sacks of Coal up tenement stairs or
lifting steel Plates about in the Plater's Shed of many a Shipyard in Aberdeen. Perhaps
he found the
voracious sexual appetite of the predatory Fish Wifes too exhausting. He
would rather have a plate of Broth.
Field Marshal The Viscount Alanbrook
"During the last war, I had the opportunity of seeing most of the British,
Dominion and Indian Divisions, many American Divisions, and several French and
Belgian Divisions, and I can assure you that, among all these, the 51st
unquestionably takes its place alongside the very few which, through their
valour and fighting record, stands in a category of their own."
"It is at once a humiliation and an honour to have had such a Division under
one's command. I shall always remember the Highland Division with admiration and
Father was much impressed by the slow flow of Lava at Mount Etna after
the invasion of Sicily and they also
were given and introduction to Vesuvius and pleasures of the flesh portrayed in
ancient Pompeii. He delighted in saying he had 'Peshed in the Po' (River)
and often recounted his mixing with the wild Italian Partisans from the
mountains who were then the Italian Resistance.
family life was an austere existence and what money he had left after a hard
weeks labour and the Friday trip to the pub had to sustain the family for the
rest of the week if his football pools results did not release him from such torment.
Constant struggles ensued to balance the family budget, pay the rent to the
landlady (always in arrears), provide food for the table (bless the the regular
free 'Fry') and cheap but rationed food, clothing the bairns (bless the Parish
Boots), feeding the gas meter (bless the rebates), buy the coal supplemented by
firewood salvaged from the Harbour (Bless the Flotsam). A family of 5 living in some 170 sq
ft in the 2 roomed attic of a four storey tenement house built circa 1860 with
outside toilets and washroom and no running water or electricity supplied to the
Garret level. Heating in the winter was a major problem and we huddled in
our beds like nested spoons in a drawer. A land fit for heroes indeed with
long searing bouts of unemployment.
powerful man he had little self confidence despite his wartime experience and
was a constant gnawer of his finger nails making his massive fat square hands
look even bigger and more formidable when raised as weapons - Hud up yer Knivs!
Despite being a trained driver in the army he did not seek to drive cars or
lorries as in his own words - i lost mah confidence - perhaps a nasty wartime
experience settled this. The nervousness extended to his diet and he
developed a stomach ulcer - a duodenal that forced him to eat mainly fish boiled
in milk and light 'Energen' rolls for bread washed down with concoctions of
Bisodol, Settlers, Rennies etc for acid calming medicine. His frequent
bouts of sickness would set up a chain reaction through the kids as we all puked
in turn out of our nauseating sympathy induced by the sound and smell of his
voluminous vomit.. He was finally operated on but now it would be cured by
a course of antibiotics - I fear his Desert Army rations had done for his guts
during his wartime campaign in North Africa.
In his prime
he was quite brutal towards his 3 boys ruling with a heavy hand he boasted that
even if we were 50 we would never be able to knock him down - he was a minder
for a Bookie - when i was at the age of 16 he tore the front out of a shirt that I had just
bought and in my pent up rage I swung a haymaker of a punch at his jaw and he
collapses to the floor unconscious - my thought was that would be the end of my
life but it proved to be the end of his omnipotent authority over the family.
No mean feat for a emaciated lad of 9 stone in weight. He didn't eat for a week as his jaw hurt
so much. If ever such confrontations were to happen to me my reply would
have been - 'now run along sonny before your dad gets angry' and to pre-learn to
ride a venomously delivered punch.
in Northfield Council House, 31 Davidson Gardens, aged about 34 circa 1955
When he was 37
the suffered an accident while assisting the fitting of a coping to a trawler on
a floating pontoon. The coping had not been pre-bent properly and by forcing and
tack welding the the steel half round it finally won the stress war and broke
free sending the men falling to a cluttered steel deck from the inadequate
temporary scaffold. He broke his elbow and his marketability as a
labourer ended. Enforced nursing and neglect of the damage to increase his
industrial claim resulted in an withered arm and a paltry lump sum being paid
instead of a life pension. The premium was promptly drank away by his
ready companions in the post injury idle state.
were little better as he developed Bowel Cancer and despite undergoing a
colostomy operation he succumbed to secondary's and died aged 49 years.
His coffin image was that of an emaciated cadaver with a full head of hair.
The arms still retained the massive hands undiminished in their former threat
and strength. As the youngest son in my 20's thought my that's a
fair age and life served but when I equalled that era myself it seemed to early
to shed the mortal coil so readily. His mother outlived all her sons bar
2 but by then was quite senile in her 90s and recognised few of her
Quick Ren - Here's yer Faither -
was a mother's urgent signal to her bairns to run far from sight for fear of immediate punishment
- no wonder we never saw fathers as affectionate beings.
Mothers should have more care to balance such formidable strengths with a little
of the weakness.