In memoriam: my father

Today is the 22nd anniversary of the death of my father Robert Strachan, known as Bob. I thought it would be good to remember him by posting some photos.

My father was born in Cambuslang in 1916, the youngest child of Henry Strachan and Helen McCrae. Henry died three days before my father’s second birthday, so my father had no memory of him. Several of his older brothers and siblings migrated to Canada in the 1920s, so young Robert went to and fro between Canada and Scotland with his mother a few times.

My father was a keen musician, played the trumpet and trombone, and had a good singing voice. He learnt to play courtesy of the Salvation Army in Cambuslang, was in a dance band and the army band during the war, and once settled in Leeds formed a band that played big band and jazz at dances and pubs in north Leeds, including the Kirkstall Working Men’s Club where my grandfather was president.

Dad in 1936
My father in 1936 when he was 16

Robert married his first wife just before the war, and almost immediately was called up into the army. By then he had begun a career in the construction industry. In the army, he was promoted to corporal and then sergeant, and became an ammunitions testing expert working at an underground depot near Corsham, Wiltshire. My big sister was born during the war, but her mother came down with tuberculosis and died when my sister was very young.

Dad in the army
In the army, here as a corporal

He also played in the army band, and was in the Ralph Stacey dance band playing at forces dances in the south of England. They were even on the radio.

Dad in the army band
In the army band, at the front second from right

Later on in the the war, Dorothy Fraser from Leeds, in the women’s army, was posted to Corsham and my parents met at an army dance. My mother was already a very good dancer but my father wasn’t, so she taught him and romance blossomed. They married in 1949 and settled in Leeds.

Marrying my mum
Wedding of Robert Strachan and Dorothy Fraser at St Stephen’s, Kirkstall, Leeds

My father continued to work in construction after the war, eventually becoming a project manager for buildings such as hospitals and shopping centres.

He was always a proud father of both his daughters, as this picture shows.

Sister's wedding
My sister’s wedding in the 1960s. That’s me as bridesmaid.

You never stop missing your parents.

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8 responses to “In memoriam: my father

  1. That’s a beautiful tribute to your dad.

  2. A wonderful tribute to your father; ir was a pleasure to read and see the pics.

  3. Thanks for the comments. Parents are always very special to us.

  4. Betty Strachan Aylestock

    Henry Strachan and Helen McCrae would be my great-grandparents. My grandfather was Joseph Strachan (Cambuslang) and he married Agnes White(Ayr). My father’s name was Henry Strachan and my aunt’s name is Helen (Nell) Strachan Hunt who is still living in Ontario and Margaret Strachan Vincent who has passed away.

    I so enjoyed reading your comments. Thank you!

    • Hello Betty

      I know who you are as you’re already on my tree! I was in touch with your father, who was my cousin, a few years ago and he gave me details of his family. I was very sorry to hear of his passing – he died only a couple of months before my mother. I have it that you live in Virginia, is that still correct?

      I can remember your grandparents, as they came to visit us in Leeds when I was a child. I knew them as Uncle Joe and Aunt Aggie. So sorry to hear your aunt Margaret has passed away.

      So glad you are enjoying the blog. It’s proving to be a lovely way of getting in contact with overseas relatives.

      Regards,
      Judy

  5. Betty Strachan Aylestock

    Hello Judy,

    This is very exciting to me to be in touch with family in Scotland!

    My husband and I were in Scotland 2 years ago. I knew that James (Hamish) McBride was there. While we were there I was able to talk with him on the phone. We weren’t able to meet because his wife, Mary, was ill. I keep up with him on Facebook. I am sorry I didn’t know you were there. We may be coming over to Ireland sometime this year. My husband is going to be preaching in Dublin for one of our missionaries. He said that we could go over to Scotland. If we come, maybe I will be able to meet you.

    My Aunt Margaret passed away in December 2009 and then Dad passed away in January 2010. Sorry to hear of your Mum. My Mum has been gone for 18 years now. Still miss her and Dad very much!

    Yes, we are in South Riding, Virginia. We have 3 children and 12 grandchildren. They have a wonderful heritage in the Strachan Family!

    We have a Westie and I named her Aggie after Grandma. My husband, Mike, said she probably wouldn’t like that but knowing my Grandma she wouldn’t mind at all.

    I have a Certificate of Authenticity for the Strachan name hanging in my dining room. I am proud to be a Strachan!

    Well, enough said. Have a wonderful day and thank you for writing back.

    Joyfully,
    Betty

    • Hi Betty

      Isn’t the internet great when it brings relatives together across such distances? However, I’m not in Scotland though I’m not too far away – I was born in England and live in Leeds, Yorkshire, where my mother was born. I have your email address so will send a private email with more family news. I’m off up to Scotland in a week’s time, to Aberdeenshire, but hope to be up near Glasgow later this year. As it’s not that far for me to drive up to Scotland, you must let me know when you’ll be there so I can come up and say hello.

      I’m sure Aunt Aggie wouldn’t have minded about the Westie. One of my nephews used to have a dog called Bob named after my father!

      Regards,
      Judy

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