Richard Hamilton Anderson
hi grandpa i miss you soo much <3 i really wish u were here,i hope you're doing really well in heaven and i hope you got to see barry and aunty, teddy is there too, but i reallly miss you and if i couuld take back some days i would take you barry aunt and our pups back, theres not one minute i go without thinking about you guys :) <3
Richard and I grew up in Bo'ness, West Lothian Scotland. An ancient harbor and village, part of Roman Fortification of Scotland, built to keep the Picts ( original people) out, now a town. Also, this town where James Watt invented the steam engine, Kinniel House summer home to Lord Hamilton. My grandmother claimed to be a poor relation to of the family. My father's older brother John married Chrissie Paul who was a blood relation to John Paul Jones mother, she was better than us so she said, but she was poor also. The Salvation Army was located on the spot where witches were burned in the 1600's. My mother played the coronet in the Salvation Army and her family were staunch members.
He was my big brother, never Dick, Dickey or Andy to me, it was always Richard. From early on, he and I were pals. He was a good brother, friend and he was funny, a ha ha, kind of funny, and he loved to laugh. He also loved to pull the wool over someone's eyes. If someone admired an item in his home, a small carving or painting and asked questions about it he would say “I made that.” Then describe how he made it. It was an opportunity he couldn't resist telling you, a master story teller who he loved to spin a story to pull people in. His friends would silently listen to him and burst of laughing when he had the person believing it. He was also a master at pulling faces. Anger: chin forward, eyes narrowed pointing finger. Bluster, puffing and panting blowing with false indignation that would end with him laughing Threatening which he couldn't back up as I was far faster runner than him. He was also a very, very strong swimmer and fearless, and a suave dancer (he practiced). I don't know who taught him to swim, but whoever did, was a good teacher and he a good student.
He and his friends, with me tagging along behind them, would spent much of the day near water, particular Harbour Road dock.There there was a ship wrecking dry dock next to it on the Firth of Forth River. There was a fast flowing current just outside of the dock that he was able to swim through. The next ship to be dismantled would be anchored about 150- 200 hundred yards out of the harbour waiting to be dry docked, everything of any value had been stripped by the owners.
Richard was challenged by his friends to swim out to it and clamber up the anchor chain and hoist himself onto the deck which he accepted. The swimming trunks we wore were home made by mum from old discarded woolen sweaters. The arms would be cut off for our legs to go through with elastic sewn around the bottom to hold them up; the downside was they would expand when he hit the water. He'd search the ship for anything we could use usually few small survival packs of Horlicks tablets, excellent nutrition and delicious. He would stuff the packages into his swimming trunks it and swim on his back to shore holding up his trunks. When he made it to the shore his swimming trunks would be around his knees. This was shortly after the Second World War when candy was on ration stamps with every one being restricted to 2 ounces a month. He would also bring back small glass tubes that he found in the engine room that we could use as pea shooters. Peas were part of our diet and also had to have a coupon for a small amount based on the number of people in the house hold, instead we would shoot small stones. Other than swimming, fishing and dancing, he wasn't much into sports. The type of fish we caught was mainly flounder and eels that we sold to neighbors and split the money.
There was an apple orchard near our home that had a high wall surrounding it that we walked past ever day going to and from school. We would talk about going over the wall to get some apples. One day he decided we do it and he helped me get onto the top of the wall to act as lookout. The plan was for Richard to go into the orchard and fill his sweater with apples then climb out. The owner was a big red headed nasty Scotsman who lived on the property. He was no sooner in the orchard and had picked a few apples when I saw the owner sneaking up on Richard, I yelled a warning to him and I was off the wall in a flash. Richard ran to the wall, scrambled up and was almost over except for a leg when his ankle was grabbed by the owner, he yelled for me to help him but I was well away from there. There was a struggle and Richard managed to break the grip on his ankle and caught me we ran until we were out of sight of the orchard before walking again to school. The owner yelled “I ken ya, I ken ya” and he did, we laughed and laughed as we running away. It was so funny, so funny. When we went home dad was waiting for us, and had been told of our thieving and wasn't happy. He had been a soccer player of some note in Scotland and with the side of his foot kicked us on the backside, sending us sprawling on the floor. A lesson learned. Fruit was scarce at that time and very expensive.
At Christmas we would get a Canadian red delicious apple that we would rub and rub against our sweaters to a high polish. I don't think we had bananas, oranges or any other imported fruit until several years after the war. We were located about 5 miles west from and oil refinery, 3 miles west from an RAF Squadron and 7 miles to the east was a large navel base. I am surprise we made it through the war as there were air battles over Bo'ness, usually late evenings or early morning. We spent many nights in a bomb shelter that was built into the ground outside of our back door.
Shortly after the war (circa 1948-1950) we would go to a shore outside of town and walk bare footed into the mud when the tide was out looking for bullets. That way we could feel the bullets as we walked out into the mud and we'd bend down pick them out of the mud and put them in the small can we were carrying. When we felt we had enough of them we would go back to the shore and, using pen knives, take the bullet off the shell and dump the cordite into the can. Usually we would fill the small can to about half way, take a piece of string and stuck it in the cordite and topped it up with a small amount up of paper. We would bury the lower half of the can in the sand, light the string and run as fast as we could before the can exploded. We were pretty good at guessing how fast the string would burn before the explosion and had thrown ourselves to the ground, hands over our ears.
What put an end to our stupidity was when we found a larger missile about 2-3 feet long, we turned it over to find out how to get at the cordite out, banged it a couple of times when it started to buzz. We threw it away and it started to fly about 3- 4 feet off the ground in an ever expanding circle with us in the middle of it, afraid to run in case it hit us. It finally flew straight at the sea wall and exploded on impact causing all sort large stones, concrete and debris skyward with most of it landing on the shore. We ran so fast he passed me before I had run 30 feet, mainly because it was difficult to run, laugh, cry, and pee at the same time. Try it some time.
Near the same location were a soccer field and a cow pasture next to it that was separated by a wall about 4 feet high. While playing there one day, Richard and I noticed an older cousin; (late teens) take female into the cow pasture. It didn't take too long before they were lying down on the pasture cuddling and kissing. We thought it was hilarious and started to yell at them to let them know we were watching. Our cousin got up and started to chase us, we were laughing so hard it was difficult to stay ahead of him.
I will close now. Richard will always be with me: Brother, friend and a beautiful compassionate person who lived a good life. He will be missed by everyone who knew him.
“May his peace be with you till we meet again?”
Eileen sorry to hear about Andy My thoughts are with you and your family
Kerri-Lea, Eileen and family - So sorry to hear of your loss. Andy was a wonderful man. Our thoughts are with you. Lloyd and Elaine Anderson