This photo was taken on the steps of Fairknowe Home, the receiving home used by The Orphan Homes of Scotland, when my father first came to Canada.
Fairknowe Home still exists but has been converted to flats. This impressive verandah no longer exists but other than that a change in the upstairs dormer and the paint colour, the building still retains much of its original character.
My dad served with the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders during the war. Born in Scotland, he came to Canada in 1930 through The Orphan Homes of Scotland and worked on farms in eastern Ontario. He enlisted at the local armouries and soon went overseas.
These two pictures were in a box labelled “pictures for Melanie” that my mother had carefully preserved.
There are a couple more photos, one of the two gentlemen who are with my father in these pictures and another one of the “bat man”, Gordon Armstrong, my father drove for. The backs of all of these photos have been stamped Passed by First Cdn Army Film Service.
These pictures are quite small – maybe 2.25 x 1.5 so until I scanned them at a high resolution, it was really difficult to identify the people.
In 1943, my father was granted leave so he could attend his youngest brother’s wedding in Scotland. He wore his kilt for occasion. It wasn’t until long after my dad died that I got a copy of this photo from a family member overseas. I’d never seen my dad in a kilt, even though his Scottish roots were so important to him.
This picture came to me from a cousin in England. Another picture of my dad in uniform. After reading Harry Leslie Smith’s book, 1923: A Memoir, I always assumed the one photo I had of my father had been taken by the army. After finding this other one, I think my dad did like Harry and had photos done to send to his family.
I’m proud to say I have my dad’s Glengarry, leather dog tags, and his medals.
My Scottish roots and writing by Melanie Robertson-King