this fourth part of the Paton family history, we pick up with Calum's, Jamie's and Pippa's two times great
grandfather,David Hepburn Paton, who left the shores of Scotland in the 1880s
to take up work as the manager of a series of shoe shops in Brussels, Belgium, and their great grandfather, Charles
Paton, a sergeant in the RAF.
Many thanks to Future Publishing editor Garrick Webster for kind permission to reproduce
the illustration that accompanied my article "Trapped in Brussels" in Your Family Tree magazine, issue 40 (August 2006).
David was Calum's, Jamie's and Pippa's
two times great grandfather.
David Hepburn Paton
David was born during the reign of Britain's
Queen Victoria at 4.45pm on August 15th 1864, in New Street, Blackford, Perthshire (GROS:1864/333/47), a year or so after
the arrival there of his mother Janet, father William and two elder brothers, James
and William, all of whom had relocated to the village from the Calton district of Glasgow so that William
senior could take up work as a currier, a preparer of leather.
In April 1866, as an innocent two year
old, and the youngest in the household, David was undoubtedly completely unaware of the immense trauma that his
family were going through in the wake of the brutal murder of his maternal grandmother Jessie Rogers (nee Henderson) at Mount Stewart Farm in the nearby village of Forgandenny, Perthshire. The murder, known both as the
Mount Stewart Farm Murder and the Bridge of Earn Murder, shocked Scottish society at the
time for its sheer brutality, and dominated the country's newspaper headlines for over a year, until the trial of the main
suspect, farm labourer James Crichton, in 1867. The fact that the case against Crichton was eventually found to be non-proven,
must have sickened the family to the core.
In approximately 1868 or 1869, David would have attended school. There were two primary schools in
Blackford at that point, Blackford Public School and Blackford Free Presbyterian Industrial School. The records for the public
school, including the school register, still survive in the A. K. Bell. There is no mention of David or any of his siblings
attending this school, and it must therefore be deduced that he attended the Free Church school.
By the time of the 1871 census, David was still attending school in Blackford, whilst his father
continued to work in the village as a currier. By this stage, David had been joined by three sisters, Jessie (named
after his deceased grandmother), Margaret and Catherine.
New Street, Blackford - August 2004
In November 1876, David's visually disabled
aunt, Annie Rogers, relocated to Blackford from Airntully in the parish of Kinclaven, Perthshire, after the death of her father, David's
grandfather, James Rogers. David's sister Margaret moved in with Annie at some point shortly after, most likely to be able
to help her incapacitated aunt around the house, and Margaret is therefore recorded here in the 1881 census as a 12 year
old scholar, rather than at the family home(GROS:1881/333/2/14). But David undoubtedly would also have paid regular
visits to Annie's cottage, to make sure that all her needs were being attended to, and he would most likely have run
on various errands for her.
In approximately 1879, David finished school, and in 1881,
he was now listed in the Blackford census as being an apprentice leather cutter, obviously following his father into the
leather trade, a major industry in Blackford at the time. And at some point between 1881 and 1886, David took up work
with Glasgow based company R. & J. Dick, perhaps arranged through contacts of his father, and it may even have been with
them that he had taken up an apprenticeship.
R. & J. Dick
was based in Greenhead, Clydeside, Glasgow, and was founded by the two brothers Robert and James Dick. The two
brothers had come to prominence after they had discovered a new gum in Borneo called guttapercha, from which they were able to make synthetic shoes and mechanical rubber belts. Initially
the brothers had a major disaster when their shoes made entirely from the gum were found to melt in extreme temperatures!
But when they decided to make leather uppers for their shoes and to reduce their costs in the shops, a hesitant public
suddenly flocked to buy them. The company soon became an international success and prided itself on its slogan "All our goods 5s a pair". Guttapercha shoes had
in fact been imported to Brussels from at least as early as 1853, as an advert in the Brussels Commercial Almanach for that
year records the wonders of the new "Semelles de Gutta-Percha, nouvellement importees en Belgique". Evidently they had taken
off so well in Brussels that the Dick brothers decided to open their own shoe shops in the Belgian
On September 1st 1886, at
the age of 22, David made his way to Brussels in Belgium. David
had obviously impressed the two brothers enough in Glasgow to be given
the opportunity to manage their shoe shop in Brussels,
which was located at 37 Marche Aux Herbes (Grass Market). Belgium's Ministry of Justice kept an eye on the movements
of aliens on its territory via a department
called the Sureté Publique,
and as such, there is a file held on David at the archives in Brussels (Ministère de la Justice: Administration de la Sureté
Publique. No. 451623). From this, and other records in Belgium, Scotland and England, it has been possible to establish
David's story abroad in quite some detail.
Upon his arrival, David took up residence
in the city at 37 Rue D' Or with a gentleman called Omer Gillard (who worked as an usher). No sooner
had he arrived than the Sureté sent a request on 27 SEP to Great Scotland Yard in London, to request that the Assistant Commissioner
of Police at the Criminal Investigation Department carry out some form of enquiry into David's background in Glasgow. The
English force responded on 5 OCT 1886 noting that "...pendant son séjour à Glasgow, la conduite de Mr Paton a été bonne."
was tasked with managing R & J Dicks' premises at 37 Marche Aux Herbes. The almanac for the city in 1887 lists the shop
simply as "Dick. R et J., fab. chauss.", in essence a shoe manufacturer's shop. To one side of him at the shop worked
a Mr Poirot-Declerq, to the other a Mr. J. Rossum-Voet - indicative of the bilingual set up that was Brussels. On November
29th 1887, David was recorded in a Brussels population list (a sort of census) as living at Marche Aux Herbes
in the city, but in the following year, 1888, he had moved to Rue Chair et Pain (Flesh and Bread Street), which directly
faced the shop on Marche Aux Herbes.
1890 advert for the two Brussels R & J Dicks shoe shops
It is not yet
known how they met, but on August 15th 1889, David married Jessie MacFarlane, aged 22, daughter of Inverness based tailor John Brownlee McFarlaneand Anne MacGillivray. David would have frequently returned to Glasgow from Belgium, to the headquarters of R. & J. Dick,
and it was almost certainly in the city that he met Jessie. At the time of the wedding, David was listed as a
'manager in the boot trade', and was again living at Marche Aux Herbes, in
Brussels, most likely at the shop in which he worked. The wedding was carried out according to the forms of the Free Church of Scotland, and the witnesses were Alexander
Fraser and Annie MacFarlane. The minister was John J. Black who lived at The Manse (GROS:1889/098/104).
After the wedding, it seems that
David at first returned to Brussels on his own, as in the 1890 population list, on February 30th, he was recorded
as living alone (seul) at Rue du Laeken, although he did have a domestic servant working for him called Catherine Lories,born in Lembeecq, Belgium
in the 1830s.
In addition to the shop on Rue Marche aux Herbes, a second shop was
opened by the firm in approximately 1889 or 1890, which was also to be managed by David. This was located at 106 Rue de Flandre, and
first appears in the Brussels almanac in 1890, where it is simply noted as "Dick, R et J. fab., chaussures".
An advert for this shop has been located in a publication called Bruxelles: Une Histoire Capitale - Volume 3, and
shows that it specialised in "Chaussures Anglaises"
i.e. "English Shoes". The advert also gives an
indication of the wares on sale, and their costs - a pair of 'bottines elastiques, pour Hommes' was advertised for
9fr 50, and a pair of 'souliers, pour Dames' for 7fr 50. David appears to have briefly resided at the property.
An 1892 advertisement for the two R. & J. Dicks shops managed by David Hepburn Paton
On 11 JAN 1891 the Sureté Publique files note that David had moved from 106 Rue de Flandre to 212 Rue
Marie Christine, in the commune of Laeken. Within a few months he had relocated again, this time on 14 APR 1891
to 24 Place Bara in the Commune of St. Gilles. At the time this was located outside the limits of
Brussels, although it is today a part of the
3 AUG 1892 we get the first glimpse of Jessie in the country, with a note in the files stating that both David and his wife
had moved from St. Gilles to the shop at 76 Marche Aux Herbes, in the commune of Brussels. In this record David
is noted as a commerce manager. It was here that the couple stayed for several years, and started to raise a family. On April 26th
1894 Jessie gave birth to the couple's first child, their daughter Annie McGillivray
Paton. Annie's birth entry records that David and Jessie were living at 76 Marche Aux Herbes.
When Annie's birth was registered on the 28th, we learn of two witnesses who were friends of the couple and possibly
involved in David's business. The first was 37 year old Auguste Moreau, negociant,
meaning a sales representative or negotiator, whilst the second was David's 23 year old magasinier (the person who took care
of the shops stocks and supplies) Charles Depoorter, from Schaerbeek.
R.&J. Dicks on Rue de Flandres, early 1900s. The figure in the shop doorway may well be David.
father William Hay Paton tragically died back home in Glasgow, Scotland, on January 20th 1894, almost certainly a devastating time
for David and his family. It is not known whether he returned to Scotland to be with his mother, but if so, the chances
are he would have stayed at his parents' tenement home of 40 Springfield Road.
Back in Brussels, on October 11th 1896, at , Jessie gave birth to the couple's first son,William. In William's baptism certificate, the
family are still listed as living at 76 Rue Marche Aux Herbes, one of the R. & J. Dick shops, but they are also listed
as domiciled at 40 Springfield Street in Glasgow, the house in which David's father William had resided prior to his death
in 1894, and within which presumably his mother Janet was still dwelling. Williams birth was
registered in the presence of Roderick Fowler or Fawler, a 33 year oldmerchant tailor, and 33 year old magasinier
François Van Espen.
76 Marche Aux Herbes - once David's shop, & birthplace of William & Annie - now Raphael's Restaurant
On October 29th 1898, the couple had a third child,
John Brownlee Paton, and his birth was registered in the city on November 7th. (It was not possible to obtain John's
birth certificate in the Brussels archives in March 2004, as the records from that period
are still sealed, but his birth date was mentioned in a later census entry.)
In the 1900 Brussels population listing, David is listed as being resident
at 76 Marche Aux Charbons, with his official address being curiously listed as Blackford, his birthplace. In either August
1900 or 1901, Jessie seems to have temporarily returned to Inverness in Scotland, but it is not
known for how long.
In 1902, the
second of the brothers who had founded R. & J. Dick, James Dick, died in Glasgow. According
to the archives of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, preserved at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow:
Both brothers had always given their workers
an almost paternal care... He died a millionaire in 1902, typically leaving most of his fortune in philanthropic
bequests. Nor were his former employees forgotten. In addition to individual gifts to all of his workers, he left the company
itself to 14 of the principal employees.
David was obviously one of the employees to receive a gift from his former boss! From the book "One Hundred
Years of Guttapercha - R & J Dick Limited", we learn that for all the company's managers a bonus of £300 was paid,
in recognition by James Dick for their hard work.
October 18th 1904, David is recorded as having moved to the commune of Koekelberg, to take up residence with Jessie and their
three children at 57 Rue de Neck. In the same year, an advert appeared in the Brussels Commercial Almanac,
advertising "Balata Dick belts" for sale in Brussels, at 83 Rue Van Artevelde. These belts were huge industrial transmission
belts for machinery that were invented by the Dick brothers in 1885 from a new gum resin called 'balata' . Balata was
a fantastic alternative resource to leather, and the so called 'Dickbelts' made from this resin became famous worldwide. The
resin was so versatile, it also replaced guttapercha as a source for the shoe manufacturing arm of R & J Dick. However,
the commercial almanc for the city reveals that this particular operation was not run by David, but instead by a firm called
Wanner & Co., though David would likely have known of the outfit and perhaps had some dealings with them as a representative
of R & J Dicks.
1904 advert for Balata Dick belts in Brussels
On 24 MAY 1905, David became a father again, to his third son, Charles,
who was born at 57 Rue de Neck. In this record, David is noted as again having been born in Blackford and having married to
Jessie in Inverness, and his description states him as an 'agent commercial'. The record also states that David was 'en voyage'
and therefore not present at the birth. Whether that means he was travelling in Belgium, or perhaps back to Scotland is not
known, though there is no record in the Brussels books of his having left the city. Charles' birth was reported to the Sureté
Publique by the Commune of Koekelberg on 31 MAR.
In the Almanac of 1906, we learn that R. & J. Dick had
two shops at this point at 31 Chaussee d'Ixelles and
at 106/108 Rue de Flandre. It is not known if by now the shop at Marche Aux Herbes was still in operation, or whether it had
been closed and a new one opened in its place at Chaussee d' Ixelles.
Another significant event in 1906 was the final passing away of David's mother Janet
Rogers in Glasgow, at 40 Springfield Road. Again, it is not known whether David returned to Scotland to be with his
brothers and sisters for their period of mourning.
The year 1907
marked a huge change, in that the majority of the family returned to Scotland for a significant period, initially settling
at 8 View Place, Inverness, the house of Jessie's father John Brownlee MacFarlane. It seems that Annie, David's and Jessie's daughter and eldest child, returned to Scotland
first, quite possibly taking her brothers William and John with her. On May 10th 1907, David sent a photographic
postcard of Charles, taken in Brussels, to Annie in Inverness. The front of the card, depicting Charles in a Highland
outfit, can be seen below at his biographical entry; the reverse of the card, with David's message is reproduced here:
Postcard written by David to his daughter Annie in 1907
I only got the photos of Charlie today. I am longing to get a long
letter from you.
Love to all.
...sending C to mother.
its briefness, the postcard tells us many things. It tells us that Annie was with her mother's family in Inverness, at
8 View Place, and that French was a language that she spoke, with David using words like 'Cher' and 'Papa'. It also tells
us that young Charles - known colloquially as Charlie - was still with his father in Belgium at this point. The last
part is partially torn, unfortunately, but is believed to say "sending C to mother". It seems that Jessie and David were briefly
living in separate accommodation at this point - the Surety Publique files note that David relocated on 31 JUL 1907 back
to the commune of Brussels, to stay at 7 Rue d'Artois. A second document then shows that Jessie in fact left Brussels for
Inverness in August 1907, but this states that her previous residence was 76 Marche Aux Herbes. A note here also suggests
that in her residence were two females and one male, though their identity is not given. The record is vague in merely stating
August as her departure date, and so Jessie may have left for Scotland earlier. Not long after, however, we know
that Charles returned to Scotland also.
may be that David had in fact taken Annie and the other children to Scotland before Jessie's arrival. The admissions register
for Inverness High School (in fact a primary school), shows that his son John joined class Std I on May 21st 1907,
transferring to Std II on August 12th 1908. When John joined the school in May 1907, his parent or guardian was noted
as being David H. Paton, resident at 8 View Place. Interestingly, John was noted as having had previous schooling
in Brussels, although the school itself where this may have happened is not listed. Also of further interest is the fact that
neither Annie nor William were listed as pupils at Inverness High School, and yet Annie was in Inverness at this
After the death
of the two Dick brothers, David continued to work for the company, which in 1908 became R. & J. Dick Ltd, having by now
taken on shareholders anddiversified its interests to manufacturing mechanical belts,
known as "Dick belts", from a substance called balata, which was as durable as leather, and like guttapercha, originated
from a tree resin. On May 19th 1909, David was recorded as moving to a new property at Ixelles, where he was still recorded
as living alone.
in Inverness, David's youngest son Charles also started his schooling at Inverness High School on April 21st 1909.
But on August 23rd 1910 the register tells us that Charles had left Inverness High School, having "gone to Glasgow".
The 1911 census, recorded on April 2nd, shows an interesting picture of the family's circumstances. David's wife
Jessie is noted at 108 Cumberland Street, Gorbals, Glasgow, living with David's brother Joseph and his family,
and David's sister Andrina. Jessie's 16 year old daughter Annie was also with her, with
neither of the two listed with an occupation. Although David was not present, the entry still notes that Jessie had been
married for 21 years and had had four children, all of them still alive. Their three boys, however, William,
John and Charles, were in a separate household but in the same tenement at 108 Cumberland
Street, residing as boarders with a 43 year old police constable called James Sheret, his 45 year old wife
Marion, and children Marion (8) and James (5). It would appear that
David himself had by now returned to Brussels (SP 1911 644/03 056/00 026 and SP 1911 644/03 056/00 027).
1911, Jessie and the family had also relocated to Belgium. The Belgian authorities recorded on October 10th that she and
the children had moved to the St Gilles commune.
In the 5th annual general meeting of the company in Glasgow in 1912, the minutes
record the effects of the restructuring of the company's boot department (Mitchell Library:TD 1376):
At home the chief event has been the complete reorganisation
of our Boot trade... we are devoting considerable attention to the Balata Boot and are sanguine of doing well with this article.
We were the first to introduce this boot, as the material used for the soles is identical with the Dick belt. The demand for
the boot is encouraging, and I would suggest to every shareholder that this obvious interest is to increase that demand.
new boots took off spectacularly at first, as the minutes of the following year's AGM record ((Mitchell Library:TD
1376; Nov 13th 1913):
The reorganisation of the Boot Department has
been proceeding steadily and shows us that we are on the right line. The results of last year show considerable improvement
on those of previous years and we look to further advance in the current year. We propose in particular to give attention
to extending our retail trade by increasing the number of our shops, and we look to our shareholders to assist in advertising
the excellence of the Ballata boots of R. and J. Dick.
In 1914, the Brussels Commercial Almanach
recorded another shop at 30 Rue St Catherine, a new shop in addition to those already in existence, although this one was
simply named "R. Dicks". The premises, built in 1697, still exist today as a cafe called "Kapiteinje". But with
the advent of the First World War, it was certainly to be the last shop in
Belgium that David
would be involved with
Calum's and Jamie's grandfather, Colin Paton (see
the Patons - Part Five page), was told as a child that his father's family had been repatriated to
Belgium at the outbreak of the
First World War. After much research, the truth of the story has finally come to light.
28th 1914, Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his wife was assassinated
in Serbia by Gavrilo
Princip, setting off series of events that led to the world madness of the so called 'Great War'. By August 4th, Germany had invaded
Belgium, despite being
warned against doing so by the British. The event signalled Britain's entry into the First World War, and Belgium was to become
one of the bloodiest battlefields of the entire four year long conflict.
David and his family were in
the city on August 20th when Brussels fell to the
Germans. From Memoirs & Diaries: August 1914,
by nurse Esmee Sartorius, comes the following description of the German arrival in the city:
At 3 p.m. next day the Germans marched
in; it was a soul-stirring sight, seeing these impassive and tired-looking troops marching in to what seemed like a deserted
town, every door and window shuttered and barred, and not a civilian to be seen, or a sound to be heard, save the steady tramping
of the German troops, regiment after regiment, guns, cavalry, Uhlans with their fluttering pennons on their lances.
One felt that thousands of Belgians were
waiting and watching behind their shuttered doors and windows, with bated breath and terrible anxiety lest anyone or anything
should cause a disturbance, and so bring down the punishment of the enemy.
However, nothing happened, owing to the
notices which had been posted up everywhere, and the wonderful influence of Burgomaster Max, who had implored everyone to
be careful and to give no cause or excuse for trouble. Brussels being an unfortified town, he had begged the people
to help in a peaceful occupation.
His words had the right effect and, after
a time, doors and windows were opened, and cafes put their chairs and tables outside again, and the town gradually resumed
its everyday life, but with a strong undercurrent of fear and consternation at the terrible feeling that the enemy was really
in occupation, and Brussels under German rule.
Panics were easily started these days,
and one sometimes met a crowd tearing down a street terror-stricken, crying that the French were outside the gates and a battle
beginning, and one had to turn and run with the crowd till the panic was over.
We heard there were a number of wounded
lying not far outside Brussels, and M. and I tried to get a car to take us out there to pick them up, but the Germans would
not allow a car outside the gates just then, so we took a tram as far as we could, then walked, but could find no trace of
German soldiers on La Rue Royale, Brussels, First World War
Over three days, fifty thousand German
troops poured into Brussels, completely unchallenged. The reason for the relative ease in the take over of Brussels was that
the Belgian authorities had realised at an early stage that the city could not in any way be defended. As such, the government
declared Brussels to be an "open city", and the Germans were allowed to simply walk in, whilst the Belgian king, the government
and the majority of foreign diplomats retreated to the fortified town of Antwerp. Only three foreign diplomats remained in
the capital, the ambassadors of China, Spain and the USA, who as well as looking after the interests of their own nationals,
took on the additional responsibility of interceding with the Germans on behalf of other foreigners.
In the immediate aftermath of the invasion, David and
his family almost certainly carried on living their lives as normal, so long as they did not
get up to any activity that was contrary to the German war effort. However, with war now underway, David's shops would
have only been able to sell what they already held in stock, with new stocks from Scotland now completely cut off. This
is confirmed by an entry into the minutes of the R & J Dick AGM on December
4th 1914 in Glasgow (Mitchell Library:TD 1376):
The results of the working of the year have been quite satisfactory.
The gross profit for the year stands at £67,000, against £81,000 last year. A reduction wholly due to the outbreak of the
war. This not only cut off our Continental trade at once, but made it necessary for us to make large provision in case of
loss either upon our stocks in countries now the seat of war, or upon debts owing us by our agents in those countries. We
have as yet heard of no injury to our property and in any case have made provision which we hope will be ample.
In this statement, the company is still preparing against
losses incurred by the German occupation, and had not yet heard of any damage to their Belgian properties. We can assume from
this that in the immediate aftermath then that David was carrying on business as normal.
However, there was
one big upheaval in the Patons' family life. David's eldest son William, being of military age, had
managed to return to Scotland just prior to the invasion, in order that he could sign up for the war effort. He may have returned
to Scotland as an enthusiastic volunteer, or perhaps he was sent by his father in order to do his duty. He may have
even been recalled by R. & J. Dick themselves, being an employee of the company, which was under some pressure to provide
volunteers. Either way, in setting off for Greenhead works in Glasgow, there was undoubtedly
a lot of heartache in the Paton household, with the future now completely uncertain. William, upon his return to Scotland,
volunteered to join the British Army Medical Corps as a medical orderly, and his prior departure from Belgium was the
last time he would ever see his father again.
David views the German arrival [Your Family Tree (c) 2006 Future Publ. Ltd, illus by Garry Walton]
David and his family remained in Brussels, British
citizens trapped in a country occupied by the enemy. David had stayed in order that eh could keep an eye on the properties
owned by his company, and to even continue to trade as normal if that was at all possible. But why his family remained with
him is perhaps more puzzling - perhaps they did not wish to be separated, or perhaps they physically could not get out of
the city. Perhaps the answer was more simple - most people believed that the war would only be short, over by Christmas, perhaps
if they just stuck it out, things would soon return to normal.
But the war did not end immediately. And whilst British residents
in German occupied territories were allowed a degree of freedom in the initial weeks of the war, that was soon to change.
Towards the end of October 1915, a German press campaign began to demand retaliation for the alleged internment of German
civilians in Britain. On October 31st the Germans gave the UK an ultimatum to release all German civilians from internment,
or else every British man in German hands would be arrested and interned. The British ignored the demand, and on November
6th 1914, the order was given by the Germans for the detention of every Briton of fighting age.
Being 49 years of age, David was certainly of fighting age,
and it may be that this was the time that he was forced into hiding. We have no documentary evidence to show what happened,
but we do have the story as recalled by David's son William to his own daughter Joan West
(nee Paton), which she retold to Calum's and Jamie's father in December 2003. At some point after the invasion, the
Germans had demanded that David turn over all of his company books to the new occupying administration. David refused to do
so, and immediately went into hiding in the house of a Dutch friend. It does not appear that the whole family went into hiding,
only David himself, and for the next few months, David was a fugitive from the Germans, who we know from a subsequent letter
written by Jessie in 1917 then duly shut down his shops. We can only imagine how David spent his months in hiding, whether
he was able to maintain contact with his wife and family, and whether he was ever close to being detected.
But psychologically, things finally began to take their
toll. David took ill whilst in hiding, an illness which Jessie later maintained was a very expensive one to treat. In 1916,
all was to finally end tragically for David. The minutes of R. & J. Dick's ninth annual general meeting, held
at the Accountant's Hall at 218 St
Vincent Street,Glasgow, on Friday December 22nd, tell us of what eventually
happened to David from the company's point of view:
In addition to material, we have given many men to the war.
Our Roll of Honour consists of 135 names. Of these, all were volunteers. Out of the eligible men of military age, 94 per cent
offered themselves voluntarily. Out of these ten have been killed, ten wounded, one "gassed", and one is reported as missing.
Besides these we have lost the manager of our shops in Brussels; after the German occupation he remained for many months in
concealment, doing his best for the Company's interests. I regret that the strain and anxiety cost him his life...
David died on March 12th 1916, after a long illness whilst in hiding. From conversations with his
granddaughters Anne McGillivray Cameron (Paton)
and Joan Elizabeth West (Paton),
the following is also known about the tragedy surrounding his death...
David's final refuge, 32 Rue Stevin, visited by his great grandson, Chris Paton on March 1st, 2004
For several months David had remained concealed in the house of a Dutchman in the city, who was another
employee of the company. On March 12th 1916, David apparently ended up having a furious row with the Dutchman
over something. The row caused a deeply stressed out David to collapse in the Dutchman's house, and shortly after, he
died. Apparently a doctor had been sought, but none was available. The Dutchman, terrified of being found with David
in his house and of being accused as a collaborator with the enemy, left David's body out in the street for the Germans to
find. His body was soon discovered and buried somewhere in the city.
From the research carried out in Brussels,
it has now been ascertained that the house in which David died was 32 Rue Stevin. At the time, his official residence was
at 100 St Gilles Rue d' Espagne. According to the death certificate, he was exactly 50 years, 6 months and 27 days old,
born in Blackford, son of William Hay Paton and Janet Rogers. His wife Jessie and another gentleman called Alfred
Carlier, who was jobless at the time, were the two informants to the Brussels
Upon David's death, the authorities in Brussels released
a certificate regarding the guardianship of his children in the aftermath of his death. Many efforts were made by the American
legation and the British Foreign Office to try and trace his widow Jessie and their children, in order to present them with
the certificate. The authorities were mistakenly convinced (as can be seen from a series of surviving letters stored in the
National Archives in Kew) that the family were in fact living back in Glasgow. This may indicate that Jessie and the children
were also in hiding at the time of David's death. The details recorded in the certificate are as follows:
Internationale de la Haye du 12 Juin 1902
PROVINCE DE BRABANT
JUSTICE DE PAIX DU CANTON
Bulletin des declarations
relatives a la tutelle d’ etrangers
Emeure avec indication
de la commune, du hameau, de la section et du numero:Glasgow,
domicile legal. Residence rue d’ Espagne 100 St Gilles
Etat Civil du decede
celibataire, marie ou veuf:Epouse
Nom et Prenoms du
conjoint avec indication s’il est survivant ou predecede:
Nom et prenoms des
heritiers mineurs absents ou interdits avec mention de l’age des mineurs:William,
19 ans,John 17 ans,Charles 11
Si Les Heritiers
mineurs ou interdits ont un tuteur legal ou datif: oui leur mere
Si le Decede laisse
des biers, meubles ou immeubles:biens meubles
Parente et d. meure
des parents: en Angleterre
le 23 Mars, 1916
Le Juge de paix,
(For more on the efforts to trace
Jessie and the rest of the Paton family at this point, visit the MacFarlane page.)
Shortly after David's death, Jessie and the three remaining children,
appear to have been found and interviewed by the Germans. The eldest son, John, having by now turned 18, and
therefore now judged by the enemy to be of military age, was taken as a civilian prisoner of
war and sent to Germany. He was interned at the concentration camp at Ruhleben just outside of Spandau, Berlin,
where a commandeered racecourse had been turned into a makeshift POW facility for civilians.
In July 1916, there were some 3759 civilian prisoners from Germany, France and Belgium held
at the camp.
and the two younger children were subsequently set free by the Germans, of whom Jessie once remarked to her granddaughter
Joan, were "perfect gentlemen" to her, although somewhat "pompous". They remained in Brussels until the end of the war. In
1917 Jessie wrote a series of letters to her brother in law James Paton (see Paton - Part Three), asking for financial assistance from R. and J. Dicks. These letters to James, held at the National Archives in
London, have shed considerable light on their situation, and can be viewed at the MacFarlane page. In a letter dated August 23rd 1917, from R. and J. Dicks to the Foreign Office in Downing
Street, regarding the payment of a small sum a week to help Jessie out, the company wrote the following line concerning David:
We may add that
the late David Paton was an old and trusted servant of this company, and we trust that your Department will find it possible
to assist us in helping his widow.
Three months after David's tragic death, his eldest son William,
serving in the British Army as a medical orderly, was informed of his father's fate in a letter from his uncle,
Joseph Woodroffe Paton. The letter was dated June 19th 1916, and reads:
By the time you get this letter, I suspect you will
have learned the sorrowful news, that your poor Father, has been unable to stand the strain any longer of what he has been
passing through since war began, and we have indirectly got word of his passing away. I would rather keep such news from you
but perhaps you would rather that I should tell you. I went to your Colonels wife (Mrs Thomson) and she very willingly offered
to write to her husband, asking him to break the news to you, and I would follow with a letter giving you what details we
have which are very few.
Mr Van DEndon (Leige) was in Brussels on Business some
few weeks ago, and on returning send word to Mr Traill that Mr Paton had died of shock due to nervous breakdown. Mr Traill
of course wrote Greenhead, and Mr Hay told me the contents of the letter. What a pity they did not all clear out of Belgium
when they could have. Of course, you must understand I was almost going to write false news, but one hardly can discredit
the report of a man connected with the Firm, who was in Brussels so lately, and I think we must accept it as being too true.
As to your Mother and the rest we have no news. I thought on writing your Mother, and paid a visit to the Belgian Consul to
get his advice. At first he said Yes I could risk writing, but he had in his office a Belgian lady whom he called in he said
the only way was via Holland. If I knew any one in Holland, I was first to write a letter to your Mother, send it on to Mr
Traill (for I told the lady of him) he was to re-write the letter and send it on to Brussels. This, of course, could be done
Willie if Traill was willing, but how do we know that they are living at Rue de Mont Blanc now. The chances are very much
the other way, so I hardly know what to do. We will get the full and correct account of everything by and by, but the suspense
is very trying, worse than if we knew the very worst.
I am very sorry indeed to have to give you such sad
news, but sorrowful things are happening daily just now. First we thought of withholding the news from you for a time but
then we thought of this plan being the best. I have not told Inverness yet. Do you think I should. I will do so, if you wish
it. As to date of your Fathers death we gather it is on or about March 15th nothing definite. You will feel the
loss very keenly as we all do and we hope that God will spare you to come home and look after those (being the eldest Son)
whom he has left. No more at present will write to you again.
Hope you will bear up and stick to your duty. God bless
Your loving Uncle Joe
William was no doubt devastated to hear the news, and upon his own
death in 1978, this letter was discovered folded up inside his wallet.
After the war ended, the Scotsman carried an article on page 3
of the December 28th 1918 issue, summarising the AGM of R. & J. Dick, entitled "R. &
J. Dick, Limited - Features of a Successful Year". At the meeting, plans were announced to get the Belgian trade started up
Our trade in Belgium, was of course, suspended
during the war, and our employees underwent much hardship and appear to have endeavoured to fulfil their duties with great
zeal. Our representative is under orders to go round Belgium as soon as possible and re-open business.
died intestate in Belgium, as evident from the Scottish Calendar of Confirmations and Inventories for 1919:
PATON, David Hepburn, Shop manager to
R & J Dick Ltd, late of Rue St. Catherine, Brussels, Belgium, formerly of 100 Cumberland Street, Glasgow, died 12 March
1916 at Brussels, intestate. Confirmation granted at Glasgow, 25 February, to Jessie McFarlane or Paton, 18 Aitken Street,
Dennistoun, Glasgow, Executrix dative qua relict. Value of estate £204 17s 1d.
The full transcription of David's testament is as follows (NAS:SC/36/48/295):
Personal Estate of David Hepburn Paton DECEASED.
At Glasgow the fourth day of February 1919 the following inventory
of the Personal Estate of the late David Hepburn Paton was presented for registration in this register conform to law by Alexander
Robertson and Son, 243 West George Street, Glasgow.
Inventory of the Moveable or Personal Estate and Effects wheresoever
situated of the late David Hepburn Paton, Shop Manager, to R. and J. Dick Ltd, late of Rue St. Catherine, Brussels, Belgium,
formerly of 100 Cumbernauld Street, Glasgow East, who died at Brussels on the 12th day of March 1916.
1. 200 Preference Sares of £1 each fully paid in R. &
J. Dick Ltd. Greenhead, Glasgow at 19/- per share_____£190
Outstanding dividends since 1914 viz:-
Dividend due 11th Nov 1914 £5, 3s and 3d
Dividend due 15th May 1915 £4, 19s and 3d
Dividend due 11th Nov 1915 £4, 14s and 10d
£14, 17s and 1d
Dividend due 15th May 1916 £4,
13s and 6d
Dividend due 11th Nov 1916 £4, 4s and
Dividend due 15th May 1917 £4, 2s and 6d
Dividend due 11th Nov 1917 £4, 2s and 6d
Dividend due 15th May 1918 £4, 2s and
Dividend due 11th Nov 1918 £3, 18s and 1d
£204, 17s and 1d
Signed Jessie Paton
D. M. Mowat, JP
At Glasgow 22nd day of Jan 1919
in the presence of David Marr Mowat, iron merchant 174 West George Street....
Mrs Jessie McFarlane or Paton, widow, residing at 18 Aitken Street, Denistoun, Glasgow.
Compeared Andrew Logan, draper, 53 Cumberland Street, Glasgow East, and
Mrs Elizabeth Crosbie or Paton, wife of Joseph Paton, 100 Cumberland Street, Glasgow.
Moveable in UK___________________£204, 17s and 1d
Other moveables per acc no. 1_____£133, 6s and 8d
Total____________________________£338, 3s and 9d
thanks indeed has to go to Brussels based researcher Franics Housart for
all his help in researching David's story in Brussels. Francis has been a real help in locating adverts
for the shops in Belgian trade journals, a contemporary postcard of the shop at Rue de Flandre, and much
background information on the period David spent in Brussels,
including census reports and vital records. In March 2004, Calum's and Jamie's parents spent an enjoyable two days with
Francis and his wife Gaby in Brussels, visiting all the various sites that were connected with David's story - thanks Francis,
it's much appreciated! Thanks also to Belgian based genealogist Marie Cappart, who in March 2013 sourced further information
from the Surete Publique files kept on David as a foreigner in the city, adding more detail to that previously established.
Marie's service is available via http://histoires-de-familles.org
- highly recommended!
* A Case Study on David's experience in
Brussels, and that of his family, has been published in Your Family Tree magazine, issue 40, July 5th 2006.
* For the full documentary record of the Patons' wartime experience in Belgium,
visit the following link: The Patons in Belgium
CHILDREN of DAVID HEPBURN PATON and JESSIE MACFARLANE:
Annie MacGillivray Paton
Annie was Calum's, Jamie's and Pippa's great great aunt.
Annie was born at 3.30pm
on April 26th 1894 in Brussels, Belgium, and the registration of her birth on the 28th was witnessed by 37 year old Auguste
Moreau, negociant, and 23 year old magasinier Charles Depoorter from Schaerbeek (Reg no: 1632).
The birth certificate reads:
Annie MacGillivray Paton, nee le vingt six
dec mois a trois heures apres midi, rue de Marche Aux Herbes, no. 76, 4e Don; fille de David Hepburn Paton, gerant, ne a Blackford
(Ecosse) et de Jessie MacFarlane, nee a Inverness (Ecosse), conjoints, residant meme maison et domiciles a Glasgow.
Sur la declaration du pere,
age de vingt neuf ans.
En presence d' Auguste
Moreau, negociant, age de trente sept ans, domicile a Bruxelles, et de Charles Depoorter, magasiniere, age de vingt trois
ans, domicile a Schaerbreek.
At the time of her birth,
her parents were living at Marche Aux Herbes.
In 1907 the family relocated to Inverness in Scotland, and then to Glasgow in 1908.
Annie attended Inverness High School, and in her first year, in Class 1C, she came first in French and in Drawing, as noted
in the Inverness Courier of Tuesday 6 JUL 1909. The same edition also noted that Annie got a Lower Division
pass in Piano playing, as certified by the Associated Board of the Royal Academy of Music and Royal College of Music at 57
Church Street. She subsequently received a prize from Mrs Stewart Mackenzie of Seaforth at an evening concert hosted by the
Northern College of Music on Friday October 22nd 1909, as noted in the Courier on Tuesday 26th:
Miss Maggie Macleod gave an excellent rendering
of one of Greig's work for the pianoforte, and the other instrumentalists were Miss Annie Paton, and three promising young
violin players, viz : - Misses Deah Mackintosh, and Tibbie Asher, and Hugh Mackintosh.
The 1911 census, taken on April 2nd, shows that Annie was by then residing at
108 Cumberland Street in the Gorbals, Glasgow, with her mother and her father's brother Joseph and family
(SP 1911 644/03 056/00 026).
The family returned to
Belgium in mid-1911, and it is believed that Annie was there when the Germans invaded just three years later in August 1914.
After the death of her father in March 1916, Annie remained with her mother under a form of house arrest in Brussels, and
was there for the whole war. Here she had to endure not only the death of her father, but the imprisonment of her younger
brother John, and the uncertainty of her brother William's service with the army.
When the war was over,
it is believed that Annie returned to Glasgow with her mother and brother Charlie.
Calum's and Jamie's great
aunt Sheila Cobby (nee Paton) recalls how when she was laid up in hospital with her childhood illness of
polio, she received a collection of Beatrix Potter books from her Aunt Annie. Sheila never actually met her aunt, neither
did Calum's and Jamie's grandfather Colin.
From 1930 to 1939, Annie was recorded in the electoral registers as being resident
at 6 Sunnybank Street, a tenement in Shettleston, Glasgow, along with her mother Jessie (and brother Charles until 1934/35).
Their cousin Joan
West (nee Paton) however, recalls how Annie moved to Inverness with her mother Jessie Paton,
nee McFarlane (Calum's and Jamie's great great granny) during the Second World War. With the outbreak of war, William
Paton, Annie's brother, had insisted they go at once to the north, not wishing them to go through what they did during the
prior war, and that they would be safer there from German bombs than in Glasgow. Annie and Jessie shared a house
initially on South Street with a Mrs Murray, and were visited by Joan after the war when she was stationed at a Royal Naval
base in Lossiemouth. Annie never married, and took up work in Inverness at Menzies bookshop.
Annie's grand nephew, Alan Paton, also recalls how he
and his grandfather William visited her in Inverness in her latter days. Alan recalls that she had a very strong French
accent still, after all the years she had been back in Scotland, and that she constantly berated her brother William for having
no French at all, what she considered should have been his 'mother tongue'!! Alan also recalls seeing a portrait of Annie,
painted when she was about 19, and says that in her youth, she was an absolute stunner. The whereabouts of this portrait is
no longer known.
died on March 25th 1975 at her home in Inverness, with her death registered on the 28th by her cousin by marriage, Ann
H. Cooney, who at that time was residing at Ardlair, Saltburn Road, Invergordon, Rossshire. The cause of death was
bronchopneumonia, hypertension and carcinoma of the breast (GROS:1975/231/214).
The following notice was placed on page one of the Inverness Courier on March
PATON - Suddenly at Raigmore Hospital,
Inverness, on the 24th March 1975, Annie Paton, 91a Bruce Gardens, Inverness. Service on Thursday, at 1.45pm., at Messrs D.
Chisholm & Sons' Service Room, 10 George Street, Inverness; thereafter Funeral to Tomnahurich Cemetery. All friends respectfully
(2) William Paton
b: 11/10/1896 d: 18/10/1978
William was Calum's and Jamie's great great uncle.
William was born in Brussels, Belgium on October 11th 1896, as recorded
in the Brussels birth register:
William Paton, ne l'onze dece mois, a onze
heures du matin, rue de Marche Aux Herbes No. 76, 4 Don; fils de David Hepburn Paton, gerant, ne a Blackford (Perthshire,
Ecosse) et de Jessie MacFarlane, nee a Inverness (Ecosse), conjoints, residant meme maison, et domicilies a Glascow, Springfield
Road No. 40.
Sur la declaration du pere age de trente
En presence de Roderick Fowler, marchand
tailleur, age de trente trois ans, et de Francois Van Espen, magasinier, age de trente trois ans, domiciles a Bruxelles.
Shortly after his birth, on December 1st, William was then baptised
at the Church of the Resurrection in the city, by the chaplain, the Reverend N. Hudson.
As a young boy William lived with his father at 76 Rue Marche Aux Herbes,
the site of one of the two shops owned by R. & J. Dick, the shoemakers. He returned to Scotland with his mother and
siblings in approximately 1907, settling initially in Inverness, and then to Glasgow in 1908. The 1911 census shows that William
and his two brothers were still in Glasgow by April 2nd, residing at 108 Cumberland Street in the Gorbals with a police constable
and his family, though his mother and sister Annie were in a separate part of the tenement, staying with his uncle Joseph
Paton. William was himself noted as fifteen years old, at school, and born in Belgium, though noted as a British
subject by parentage (SP 1911 644/03 056/00 026).
Upon the family's return to Belgium in the summer of 1911,
William, like his father, took up employment with R. & J. Dick Ltd, working for his father at one of the firm's shops.
At some stage prior to the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, William
returned to Scotland, to Greenhead works in Glasgow, the parent site of R & J Dick. On June 7th 1915, William signed up
in Glasgow to join the Royal Army Medical Corps in Glasgow, in front of A. M. Watson, Justice of the Peace, and with
his address noted as 100 Cumberland Street East. He joined the 3/1st LMBFA (L? Motor Brigade Field Ambulance) and on July
17th was granted 5th rate Corps pay, at the same time being transferred to the 1/1st.
On October 10th he entered his first theatre of war, being sent to the
Balkans, and when there he joined the massive Allied force that would
attempt to seize the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey. William's grandson
Alan Paton recalls a story that his own father told him about William, regarding his service at Gallipoli.
Amidst all the gunfire, William, working as a medical orderly, picked up a wounded Allied soldier and ran for almost a mile
with him on his back, towards a medical tent in the rear lines. As William lowered the wounded soldier to the ground, a doctor
looked at him and coldly said, "This one is dead - go and get another one". As Alan put it, the horrors of war.
The whole Gallipoli campaign had been torn to pieces by early 1916, and
in its aftermath it is not yet known where William was relocated. Shorly after June 19th 1916, however, he received a
letter from his uncle, Joseph Woodroffe Paton, in which he learned of the untimely death of his father in
Brussels. The letter urged him to maintain his duty in this difficult time, and to see himself safely home, for it would soon
be up to him to look after his mother and father as the head of the household. On July 20th he was granted six weeks furlough
to England, taking him up to early September, but on September 22nd 1916 he is again 'granted special leave on compassionate
grounds', as authorised by GHQ - clearly the impact of his father's death was major on the family back in Britain.
The leave expired on November 2nd 1916, after which William returned to service.
Postcard received by William in Palestine, July 1917 - who is the mystery lady from Perth?
From a postcard received by William in
1917, and kept by his daughter Anne McGillivray Cameron (nee Paton), we learn that by now William had
been posted to Palestine. The postcard is of a young woman photographed at Ideal Studios Ltd in Perth, but it is not yet known
who she may have been, although being Perth, it may have been a cousin on the Paton side of his family. Very little is written
on the back of the postcard, save for the words "Received in Palestine 25th July 1917".
William returned to Scotland, with two medals
for his work in the Medical Corps, and in 1918, he is found to have been living at 100 Cumberland Street in the
Gorbals, in the same tenement block where his aunt Margaret and grandmother Janet Paton lived.
William married 20 year old clerkess Mary
Woodrow Pollock on September 9th 1918, at 22 Brandon Street, Glasgow, in a ceremony according to the forms of the
Wesleyan Methodist Church. Mary was a very religious lady, visiting church three times every Sunday, and was the daughter
of bricklayer Jacob Pollock and Joan Elizabeth Johnstone. Like William, she worked
for R. & J. Dick Ltd. William was himself a private in the Royal Army Medical Corps. The witnesses to the wedding were
his aunt Margaret Robertson Paton and Jacob Pollock, and the service was carried out by
the Reverend Henry Buckley of St Thomas Wesleyan Church in Glasgow (GROS:1918/644/3/803).
On leaving the army, William worked initially as a
boot maker, obviously following his father into the footwear industry. He worked for R. & J. Dick, just like his wife,
his father and his uncle Joseph, in the factory at Greenhead, Glasgow. The couple lived at 172 Graeme Street from at least
1920, where they are found in the 1921 census. In this William is noted as aged 22 years and 8 months, born in Brussels, Belgium,
and asa British born citizen. His occupation was given as a foreman in the Boot and Shoe Trade, working for R & J Dick
Ltd. Mary was aged 23 years and 4 months, and born in Bo'ness. Two children were present - David H., aged
6 months, and Joan Elizabeth, aged 2 years, with both born in Glasgow. Completing the household was William's
mother, and Calum's Jamie's and Pippa's great great grandmother, Jessie Paton, aged 52 years and 6 months,
a widow, and born in Inverness. Her occupation was noted as 'H.D.', meaning 'household duties'.(SP/NRS 1921 RD 644/3 ED 8
p.8 Calton). William and Mary went on to have
William's and Mary's niece, Sheena
Shaw, nee Paton, told Calum's and Jamie's father in December 2004 that she used to love visiting
her uncle's and aunt's house, as it was "a happy house to go to", with all the kids running around and all the delicious
home baking that her Aunt Mary used to leave out on the table for them, when she and her parents visited.
William's daughter Ann also
recalls that her father used to play a piano in their house at Stonyhurst Street, and the whole family would have sing songs
around their father. William was never formally trained in the piano, but was able to pick up a tune and play it back
William Paton, left, with nurses and inmates at the TB hospital in the Ochils - 1924
In 1924, William fell ill, and it was suspected that he
had contrcated tuberculosis. As a precaution, he was sent to a sanitorium in the Ochil Hills, but after a period of recuperation,
regained his strength and was allowed to return home to Glasgow.
In the late 1920s, things at R. and J. Dick Ltd were beginning to go wrong. The
company began to find its markets increasingly difficult to maintain, and were unable to keep up the supply of the gums
needed for the manuafacture of their balata belts. By 1931, things had become so desperate that many of the company's staff
were laid off, and amongst them was William. He received a reference from the company's director which stated:
Wm. Paton was in our service for 20 years. The first
three years were spent in one of our shops in Brussels, Belgium, under his father, who was our Manager in that country.
Seventeen years ago he came to Greenhead Works, and
during that time he had experience of the Clicking, Lasting and Finishing Rooms. For the last ten of these 17 years he hads
been Foreman in our Repairs Department, in which capacity he was a very efficent man.
We are sorry to lose his services now, but this is
quite unavoidable, as we find it necessary to put our Repairs Department on a more economical basis.
R & J Dick Limited,
Wm. J. Clark, Director.
After a period of unemployment, William went on to work in a cobblers
shop in Possilpark, and eventually ran his own cobblers shop himself.
Tragedy was to hit William and his family on November 15th 1945, when his younger
brother John Paton died of tuberculosis in Glasgow. Tuberculosis would also hit again even more cruelly,
when on April 4th 1947, William's daughter Maisie finally passed away herself after suffering from the
William gives away his niece Morag at her wedding in Glasgow, 1947
Two months later, on June 16th 1947, William gave away his niece Morag
Paton at her wedding to 25 year old automobile association clerk Ernest Isaac Saywood, the wedding
taking place at St Luke's Church of Scotland in Glasgow, performed by the Reverend Alexander Mackenzie.
In 1956, at the age of 60, William retired, and in 1959, both he and Mary
moved to Drumchapel. No sooner had they moved than
they were once again predeceased by one of their children, this time David,
In September 1978, the couple celebrated sixty years of marriage,
and received a telegram from the Queen congratulating them. A surviving cutting from an unknown local newspaper from the time
tells the story:
Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. William Paton, 7 Drumchapel
Road, who celebrated their Diamond Wedding on September 24. Among the many cards received from family and friends, there was
a telegram from Buckingham Palace which read...
"The Queen sends you Warm Congratulations and Good
Wishes on your Diamond Wedding Day."
William, 82, and his wife, "over 21", say that these
60 years of marriage have been happy, being blessed with a good family - seven children, 13 grandchildren, and four great
grandchildren. They have lived in Drumchapel for 19 years, and in that time they have made many friends and are well thought
of in the district.
William tragically died at 10.00am
on October 18th 1978, at his home of 7 Drumchapel Road, Glasgow, just four days after he learned of the death of his son John
Paton, who was living in New Zealand. William's son William informed the register of the death entry. The cause was
acute myocardial ischaemia, congestive cardiac failure and diabetic vascular disease (GROS:1978/607/803).
The following death notice was recorded for William in the Glasgow Evening
Times of October 20th 1978, p.38:
PATON - Suddenly at his home, 7 Drumchapel
Road, Glasgow, G15 on 18th October 1978, WILLIAM PATON, beloved husband of Mary Pollock - Service at Clydebank Crematorium,
North Dalnotter tomorrow (Saturday)at 11.30am; no flowers please.
And the following thank you was
also placed in the Evening Times, on October 25th 1978, p.39:
PATON - The FAMILY of the late WILLIAM PATON
wish to thank all relatives, friends and neighbours for kind expressions of sympathy received in their recent sad bereavement;
also the Rev Mr Inglis for services rendered and police; and Clydebank Co-operative for funeral arrangements - 7 Drumchapel
Road, Glasgow, G15.
William's wife Mary passed away herself
on December 20th 1985 at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow. At the time of her death, her address was 60 Kennishead
Avenue. The cause of her death was bronchopneumonia and ischaemic heart disease. Mary's daughter Anne registered
her death in Glasgow on Christmas Eve 1985 (GROS:1985/609/920).
Mary's passing was also noted
in the Glasgow Evening Times, on December 24th 1985, p.43:
PATON - peacefully at the Southern
General Hospital, Glasgow, on 20th December 1985, MARY, beloved wife of the late William Paton, late of 7 Drumchapel Road,
Glasgow, a loving mother, grandmother and great grandmother. Funeral service at Linn Crematorium, Lainshaw Drive, on Friday
27th December at 10.30am to which friends are invited. No flowers please.
William and Mary Paton
CHILDREN of WILLIAM PATON and MARY POLLOCK:
(i) Joan Elizabeth Paton
Joan was born at 22 Hendon Street in Calton, Glasgow. At the time
of her birth her father was listed as a boot machinist.
One of Joan's early memories concerned her sixth birthday. Joan
was given a new dress by her mother and then told to pop round to her grandmother's house in Glasgow, to show off the dress.
She arrived at her granny's and remembers that as well as her granndmother being present, her uncle Charles and aunt
Annie were also in attendance. Her granny gave her a piece of shortbread, which Joan did not want, but in order not to let
her grandmother know that, she tried to hide it in her bag, only to have her uncle Charles stop her and say, "If you don't
want that, I'll have it", at which he then took it from her!
Joan was a chief petty officer in the Royal Navy, and
every couple of years her post would rotate. During the war she was based at Machrahanish, working in the "Nissan city",
the nickname for the base, made almost entirley from Nissan huts. Joan describes herself as "having a good war", and remembers
that amongst her duties she was on fire watch every night, waiting for German incendiary bombs to fall on her base, which
ultimately never happened.
Joan's wedding in Possilpark, Scotland, in 1948
Joan joined the Woman's Royal Naval Service (the WRENS) and married Royal
Naval Petty Officer Denis, son of retired Police sergeant William and Elsie. At
the time of the wedding, Denis was based at RN Air Station Arbroath, whilst Joan, a Chief WREN at the time, was at home
in 220 Stonyhurst Street in Glasgow. The witnesses were A. Paton, from her home, and J. Harnott,
from 26 Beresford Crescent in Newcastle. The minister was the Reverend W. Nethercote, and the service took place at Possilpark
Church of Scotland. The marriage was subsequently recorded in the Evening Times:
XXXX-PATON:- At Possilpark Parish Church,
XXXX XX XXXX, by the Rev. W. Nethercote, Denis XXX XXXX, R. N., son of Mr. and Mrs. W. XXXX, Haywards Heath, Sussex, to Joan
Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Paton, 220 Stonyhurst Street, Possilpark.
After the war, Joan remembers visiting her grandmother
Jessie in her house at South Street, Inverness, in 1948, shortly before her death. She did not have a favorable
impression of her grandmother or her aunt!
Joan Elizabeth Paton and her grandsons
Joan's husband was also in the Navy, in the Fleet Air Arm, and retired
in 1965. He tragically died in September 1998 as the result of an accident, falling off a ladder whilst decorating in his
house. The incident was more tragic in that the couple had just two months before celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
Joan also remembers meeting Calum's and Jamie's great grandfather Charles
Paton during the Second World War, when he visited his brother in Glasgow. He arrived dressed in his RAF uniform,
and Joan describes him as being a very kind man.
Through Joan, it has finally been possible to find out what happened
to Calum's and Jamie's great great grandfather David Hepburn Paton in Belgium in 1916, and for this, and
other information on the family that she has supplied, we are eternally grateful.
(ii) David Hepburn Paton
b: 13/12/1920 d: 2/4/1960
David Paton and his brother John
Named after his grandfather, David was born at 2.15am on December 13th
1920, at 172 Graeme Street in Calton, Glasgow. His father, listed as a bootmaker (foreman) registered the birth on the 14th
David became an iron and steel turner, and at the age of 23, on April
7th 1944, he married 21 year old electric welder Isabella, daughter of steel work foreman Edward
and Isabella. At the time of the wedding David was living at 220 Stonyhurst Street in Glasgow, whilst Isabella
lived at 61 Carbeth Street in the city. The witnesses were his brother William Hay Paton, from Stoneyhurst
Street, and S. H. Lone, from 61 Carbeth Street. The wedding was registered on the 12th (GROS:1944/644/11/113),
and was additionally recorded in the Evening Times on April 10th 1944:
PATON-XXXX:- At Possilpark Parish
Church, on 7th April, 1944, by Rev. J. Melrose, David Hepburn, eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Paton, 220 Stonyhurst Street,
N., to Isabella XXXXXX XXXX, second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. E. XXXX, 61 Carbeth Street, N.
David died at 12.00 noon on April 2nd 1960 at 15 Leadburn Road in Glasgow,
the cause being a coronary thrombosis, as certified by Dr. D. H. Urquhart. His father informed the registrar on the 4th (GROS:1960/644/1/319).
He was survived by a daughter and a grandson.
(iii) Mary Woodrow Paton
b: 1/5/1922 d: 4/4/1947
Mary, named after her mother, was born at 9.30am on May 1st 1922 at 172
Graeme Street in Calton, Glasgow. Her father, listed as a shoemaker (foreman), registered the birth on the 19th (GROS:1922/644/3/824).
As a young girl aged seven, Maisie, as she was more
colloquially known, suffered from pluracy and pneumonia, and was admitted to hospital for a radical operation. A small piece
of her liver was extracted from through her back, and the doctor who performed the surgery was apparently praised highly,
as a similar operation was being perfomed on King George V at the time, so the new procedure was headline news!
Throughout her life, Maisie was the girl who her mother treated with
kid gloves the most, as she was so fragile medically. When asked to describe her sister, her sister Joan West
(nee Paton) fondly remembers her "jolly, devil may care attitude". Her cousin Sheena Shaw
(nee Paton) also remembers Maisie as being a "beautiful girl with fair hair and blue eyes".
During the Second World War, Maisie worked as a fire warden in
Glasgow, and also took up work in the bakery industry, managing a baker's shop by 1945.
Maisie married 28 year old engineer John Reid, son of
motor mechanic William Reid and Annie Smith McMurray, on March 14th 1945 at the United Free
Church in Milngavie. At the time of the wedding, John had been living at 26 Clober Road, whilst Mary had been staying at 220
Stonyhurst Street in Mosneypark. The witnesses were P. Deighton from 7 Gray Drive in Bearsden, and an A. Paton, also living
at 220 Stonyhurst Road - this may have been her mother Anne. The wedding was registered on the 16th (GROS:1945/500/2/8),
and was recorded in Glasgow's Evening Times on March 15th 1945 (NB: microfilmed copy of paper held at Mitchell Library
is not 100% legible):
REID-PATON:- At Milngavie U. F.
Church, on March 14th, 1945, by the Rev. J. ?, Sub Lieutenant John Reid (R. N.), younger son of Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Reid, 26
Clober Road, Milngavie, to Mary Woodrow Paton, 2nd daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Paton, 220 Stonyhurst Street, Glasgow, N.,
Tragedy was to strike shortly after, however, when Maisie was diagnosed
as having a spot on her lung, which was soon discovered to be tuberculosis. Maisie was to spend many months in a sanitorium
in Lanark, where she would often be made to sleep outside, where it was believed that the clean air would be good for
Tragically, the treatment was to fail. Maisie died at 1.00am on April
10th 1947 at her home of "Drumoyne" on the Clober Road, Milngavie. The cause had been pulmonary tuberculosis, as certified
by Dr. J. Park, and her distraught husband John registered her death on the 10th (GROS:1947/500/2/22). Maisie's death
was also noted in the Evening Times on April 11th 1947, page 11:
REID - At Drumoyne, Clober
Road, Milngavie, on 10th April 1947, Mary Woodrow (Maisie), beloved wife of John Reid and dearly loved daughter of Mr. and
Mrs. William Paton, 220 Stonyhurst Street, Possilpark - Funeral to Lambhill Cemetery to-morrow (Saturday) at 10.30am; friends
omitted and desirous to attend please meet cortege at Jeanfield gate at 1.5pm.
After the funeral, the following thank you
was recorded in the acknowledgements section of the Evening Times on Thursday, April 17th 1947, page 7:
REID - Mr. John Reid, Mr. and
Mrs. Wm. Reid, and Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Paton and Family desire to thank the many friends for kind expressions of sympathy and
beautiful floral tributes and acknowledge with gratitude letters received in their sad bereavement, also the Rev. Cameron
Grant, family doctor, and district nurse.
(iv) Jessie McFarlane Paton
b: 25/2/1924 d: 1985 approx
Jessie Paton in RAF uniform
Jessie was born at 1.00pm on February 25th 1924, at her home of
16 Buddon Street, Bridgeton, Glasgow. Her father, a bootmaker (foreman), informed the registrar on the 14th (GROS:1924/644/1/314).
On July 1st 1943, Jessie married 43 year old theatrical producer
David, son of accountant Robert and Mary. At the time of the marriage, David was
a Flight Lieutenant in the Royal Air Force, and was resident at Westcliffe-on-Sea, Essex, whilst Jessie was a baker's saleswoman,
who was also doing her war service as a leading aircraftwoman in the Woman's Auxiliary Air Force, and who was herself resident
in Glasgow. The minister at Possilpark Church was the Reverend John Melrose, whilst the witnesses were Jessie's brother
David Hepburn Paton and her sister Joan Elizabeth Paton. The marriage was subsequently
recorded in the Evening Times on July 2nd 1943, page 7:
HUGHES-PATON:- At Possilpark Parish
Church, on 1st July, 1943, by Rev. J. Melrose, Flight Lieutenant David G. Hughes, Royal Air Force, of London, to Jessie McFarlane
(W.A.A.F.), third daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Paton, 220 Stonyhurst Street, Possilpark.
The couple settled down after the war in Glasgow, where David continued
his career in the RAF, and where they raised two sons.
However, at some point after this, Jessie was widowed, and
was to later remarry to Dave.
Jessie died in approximately 1985, in Southampton. She was survived
by two sons.
(v) Anne McGillivray Paton
Ann Cameron (nee Paton) with husband Allan at home in Glasgow, Jan 2005
Anne was born in 1926 at 11 Malcolm Street in Camlachie, Glasgow.
Her father, this time listed as a boot repairer, registered the birth.
Anne worked as a clerkess, and married cinema chief projectionist Allan,
son of insurance agent James and Catherine. Allan was living at 82 Cumming Drive in Glasgow,
whilst Anne was at 6 Everard Quadrant in the city. The marriage was performed according to the rites of the Roman Catholic
Church, at St Aloysius Church, by Father A. Gits. The witnesses were William Tuin of 25 Alderman Place and Rebecca
Walker of 1 Everard Place in the city.
Anne passed away in 2013. We will forever be gratful to her for allowing
us access to her family photos and stories in 2003, bringing us much clarity to the story of Calum's, Jamie's and Pippa's
great grandfather Charles Paton and his father David Hepburn Paton, as well as pictures of both. Anne was survived by two
daughters and a son.
(vi) William Hay Paton
b: 29/4/1927 d: 26/6/1994
William was born at 10pm on April 29th 1927, at his home of 11 Malcolm
Street in Glasgow. His father, a boot repairer at the time, informed the registrar on May 20th (SP/NRS B 1927/644/2/667).
William served a brief time in the army doing his national service, including
a stint in Bermuda. In August 1951, he decided to emigrate to New Zealand, making the journey from Southampton on
board the 'Atlantis', a vessel of the New Zealand Shipping Company Limited. The passenger manifest, held in the Board of Trade
records at the National Archives under BT26, describes his occupation as a telephone lineman.
William married Liverpudlian Margaret in Wellington.
The New Zealand electoral roll for 1954 then shows William resident at 18 Newman Terrace in the district of Onslow in Wellington,
with his career confirmed as a lineman (Source: Ancestry.co.uk). However, within a short period of time, the couple elected
to move back to Scotland.
Back in Scotland, the couple started their family, with their daughter
Denise arriving first. William initially took up work as a boat office engineer (1955), then a telephone engineer (1959),
and ultimately worked as a sales representative.
In 1978, William was the informant for his father's death. He died himself
after suffering a heart attack on June 26th 1994, a particularly tragic incident in that he had just celebrated his diamond
wedding anniversary at Loch Lomond. Despite the best efforts of Erskine Hospital in Bishopton, they were unable to save
him. The official listed cause of death was acute myocardial infarction, ischaemic heart disease and generalised arteriosclerosis.
His son, Alan, informed the Renfrew registrar on the 27th. At the time, Alan was living at 16 Kilbarchan
Road in Johnstone (SP/NRS D 1994/643/173). The Evening Times also recorded William's death on Tuesday, June 28th
1994, page 50:
PATON - Suddenly at Erskine Hospital,
on 26th June 1994, WILLIAM (Bill) PATON, husband of Margaret, and dear father of Denise and Alan. Funeral service at Woodside
Crematorium, Paisley, on Wednesday 29th June, at 1.30pm, to which all friends are invited. No flowers please. Donations to
William was survived by a son and a daughter.
(vii) John Brownlie Paton
b: 29/10/1929 d: 14/10/1978
John was born at 0.30am on October 29th 1929, at 232 Wilkerran Street
(?), Possilpark, Glasgow. His father, a boot repairer (foreman), informed the registrar on November 11th (SP/NRS B 1929/644/7/604).
In Renfield Street Church, Glasgow, on June 26th 1951, John married Janet,
a 22 year old grocery saleswoman, and daughter of enginefiller Thomas and Mary. At the time,
John was a 21 year old joiner and a leading aircraftman in the Royal Air Force, living at 6 Everard Quadrant in Blythswood,
Glasgow, whilst Janet lived at 305 Edgeguard Road in the city.
Shortly after, on September 22nd 1953, John and Janet emigrated
to New Zealand, with their daughter Janis, on a "ten pound pommy ticket". They sailed on the 'Captain Cook', a vessel of the
New Zealand Shipping Company Ltd, with John listed as a joiner. His address in Scotland prior to sailing was recorded as 29
Oakbank Terrace, Glasgow. Upon reaching New Zealand, John most likely stayed with his brother William
initially, who had arrived in the country two years earlier, and took up work as a carpenter and ended up building many
homes in Wellington. Ironically, John's brother William, having spearheaded the Patons' migration to New Zealand, in fact
returned to Scotland permanently in May 1955.
John died in New Zealand four days prior to his own father's death in
October 1978. According to his sister Joan, he had been playing 36 holes of golf earlier in the day and had seemed in fine
form. But in the middle of the night, he suddenly died in his home. The Evening Times in Glasgow recorded the event
immediately after John's father's own death notice in the same edition, on Friday October 20th 1978, page
PATON - Suddenly
at his home Plimmerton, New Zealand, on 14th October 1978, JOHN PATON, beloved son of the late William and Mary Paton, 7 Drumchapel
Road, Glasgow, G15.
John had two children, who still live in New Zealand.
(3) John Brownlie Paton
b: 29/10/1898 d: 15/11/1945
John was Calum's, Jamie's and Pippa's great great uncle.
The existence of John first came to light in April 2003, after a conversation
with Calum's and Jamie's second cousin twice removed, Margaret Jane Stewart, nee Paton.
According to Margaret, her father used to talk about a cousin nicknamed "Brussels Johnny".
John was born in Brussels, Belgium, on October 29th 1898, with
his birth registered in the city on November 7th. The following is the wording of his birth registration:
John Brownlee Paton, ne le vingt neuf de ce mois a dix heures et
demie du matin, rue de marche aux herbes, 76, 4e Don, fils de David Hepburn Paton, gerant de commerce, ne a Blackford (Perth-Ecosse),
et de Jessie MacFarlane, nee a Inverness (Ecosse), conjoints, residant meme maison domiciles a Glasgow (Ecosse) Springfield
Sur la declaration du pere, age de trente quatre ans.
En presence d' Roderick Fowler, marchant tailleur, age de
trente-vingt ans, domicile a Bruxelles, et de Francoise Van Espen, magasinier, age de trente-six ans, domiciles a Bruxelles.
Newspaper intimations in the Perthshire Advertiser of 31 OCT
1898 and 2 NOV 1898 announced John's birth to his relatives back in Scotland:
PATON - October 29, at 76 Marche-aux-Herbes, Bruxelles, the wife of David
H. Paton (Messrs R. & J. Dick), of a son.
In Brussels, John was initially raised at several addresses
in the city, from Rue Marche Aux Herbes to Rue de Laeken. It is known that his elder sister Annie was fluent in French and
that she regarded this as a first language, but it is not known how much French John had, though his brother William only
According to his niece Joan West (nee Paton), John,
along with his brothers and sister, was educated partly in the Highland town of Inverness. This has been confirmed to a degree
in that the admissions register for Inverness High School shows that John joined class Std I on May 21st
1907, transferring to Std II on August 12th 1908. When John joined the school in May 1907, his parent or guardian was
noted as being David H. Paton, resident at 8 View Place. John was noted as having had previous schooling in
Brussels, although the school itself where this may have happened is not listed. On August 23rd 1908 the register also shows,
through the entry for John's brother Charlie, that the family then moved south to Glasgow. Joan also
recalls that her uncle John had quite a bad lung condition which afflicted him in his youth. And according to John's grandson, Calum Scott, John was also a member of the boy
scouts, but it is not yet known whether this was in Scotland or in Belgium.
The 1911 census shows that John and his two brothers were still in Glasgow
by April 2nd, residing at 108 Cumberland Street in the Gorbals with a police constable and his family, though his mother and
sister Annie were in a separate part of the tenement, staying with his uncle Joseph Paton. John was himself noted as twelve
years old, at school, and born in Belgium, though noted as a British subject by parentage (SP 1911 644/03 056/00 026). By
October 1911, the family had once more relocated to Brussels, where John presumably continued his education whilst perhaps
also spending time helping his father out in the shoe shops.
When the First World War broke out in 1914, John stayed in Brussels with
his mother, father, brother Charles and sister Annie. His father remained in hiding
for two years, and it is assumed that his family were in hiding also. But in 1916 disaster hit the family, when John's
father David died whilst in hiding.
The Stadtvogtei Prison in Berlin
Things soon worsened for John himself. His elder brother William had
already escaped Belgium to fight with the British Army, but unlike his wee brother Charles, who was only 12, John was at this
point old enough to potentially be of military service to the allies. He was therefore arrested and taken in
November to Berlin's Stadtvogtei prison, and on December 1st was then transferred to Ruhleben civilian prisoner of war
camp, a converted race course near Spandau, just outside of the city.
Having arrived in Ruhleben camp so late in the war, John's first experience
of the camp may not have been one of being welcomed with open arms. The inmates were deeply suspicious of anyone with even
the slightest possible sympathy with the Germans, and having survived in German controlled Brussels for two years into the
war, many inmates may have wondered why he was interned so late. In J. Davidson Ketchum's book "Ruhleben - A Prison Camp Society",
the following anonymous recollection by a prisoner years after the war may have in fact been written about John, as he certainly
fits the profile (p.121):
The segregated pro-Germans could be ignored,
but it was a different matter for anyone in the British barracks who spoke with an accent, had been long in Germany, or otherwise
lacked a clean bill of health. A young man brought up in Belgium and not interned until 1916 - in itself cause for suspicion
- writes: "My first impression was one of aggressiveness towards me. I was perhaps rather un-English, but I did not find it
easy to speak to anyone" (L116). This was not Ruhleben's typical attitude to newcomers.
Cross-section drawing of one of the barracks at Ruhleben, which were former stables
With John inside the camp at Ruhleben, it fell to his family to
try and support him from the outside world. With his mother in financial difficulties in Brussels due to the rapidly increasing
exchange rate between the Belgian franc and the English pound, it fell to John's relatives in Britain to try and support him.
Whilst he may have received aid from his family in Glasgow, Perth and Inverness, it is known for a fact that he received
parcels from his uncle James Paton (see Paton - Part Two) in London, manager of the Singer sewing machine factory there. The following letter on August 25th 1917,
from James to the secretary for the Prisoners of War Department in the Foreign Office at 10 Downing Street, was written as
an addendum to a letter asking the British government to send a message to John's mother in Brussels on James' behalf:
While writing may I trouble you concerning another matter. My nephew, Mr David Paton's son Johnnie
is a prisoner at Ruhleben, Germany. When
of age he was taken away and is there now. I send him occasional parcels through the Dept at Thurlo Place, So. Kensington.
Could they, or would you be able to send him a little money as well. I feel from a letter he has sent , that he is straitened
in this way somewhat. I shall take it as a favour if you will be good enough to let me hear from you on this point. With thanks,
John would remain a prisoner of war until the Germans were defeated in
1918, after which he was released and returned to Scotland.
Joan's recollection is that her uncle John took it badly that
his father had died in Brussels and that his mother, Jessie, had allowed him to be taken away to Ruhleben (in truth,
she most likely had no option). When he returned to Scotland, he barely
spoke with her, and had very little to do with her at all, despite the fact that he appears to have lived with her up until
the point where he got married. (The Glasgow electoral registers in the Mitchell Library clearly show that in 1924 and 1925,
John was resident at 31 Garvald Street in Shettleston [2nd ward], Glasgow, along with his mother.) Whenever Jessie wrote to
John, he apparently would return her letters unopened.
John Paton in approximately 1916 or 1917, taken when he was a POW in Germany.
As a civilian prisoner of war, life was relatively easy for John, according
to Joan, being only a young lad who had barely turned into a man. When the Germans discovered his serious lung condition,
they placed him in a hospital and gave him such excellent medical attention that his condition was apparently cured. According
to Cambridge University academic Matthew Stibbe, John would either have been treated in the camp's rudimentary sick bay, the
Lanzaret, but more likely would have visited the Sanitorium of Dr. Weiler in Charlottenburg, Berlin. He may have
even been treated in Brussels prior to his transfer to Berlin.
Being interred in Ruhleben, John would fortunately have had some access
to the outside world via the office of the American Ambassador, charged with the upkeep of British citizens in the absence
of a British diplomatic presence in Germany, and would have been able to send and receive packages to his family though
the American embassy, as the USA was a neutral party in the First World War until 1918.
Calum Scott, John's grandson, supplied a postcard in January
2005 depicting John, which he believed to have been taken between 1914 and 1918 on the Continent. Not two weeks later, the
same postcard was also discovered to be held by another of John's grandchildren, Sheila Trotter, nee Sayward.
On the back of both of the postcards, which John sent to Jeannie McGregor in Glasgow, and to Mrs
MacFarlane in Inverness (presumed to be his grandmother Ann MacFarlane, nee MacGillivray) John has signed it as "J. B. Paton, Bar 4", i.e. "Barracke 4", the barrack he was in at Ruhleben. But crucially,
on Sheila's card, there is also a card stamped with a postmark with the words "Ruhleben Freigegeben". The postcard is therefore
confirmed as depicting John as a prisoner of war. What is interesting is that the card addressed to Jeannie McGregor, shows
that he already knew Jeannie, who was to become his wife a few years later. At this point, Jeannie was living at 45 William
Street, in Greenhead, Glasgow, just beside the factory of the shoe firm for which John's brother and father worked, R. &
J. Dicks. The other card, to Mrs MacFarlane, was addressed to 8 View Place in Inverness, the same address to which the postcard
of Charles Paton was posted in 1907. What is noticeable on both cards is the complete lack of any message to the relatives
John was writing to, perhaps indicating that the main purpose of these cards was to show his loved ones that he was alive,
safe and well, despite his imprisonment in Germany.
John Paton's picture on a travel document to Germany, 1921
After John returned to Scotland, he took up work as a travelling salesman,
which ironically would see him returning back to the Continent. Another picture held by Calum Scott appears to be
a passport photograph of John, with "Foreign Office" stamped across the front. What is so interesting about the picture
is that on the back are words printed in German, which appears to be a point of entry stamp for an entry into Germany
on November 15th 1921. So it would seem that John counted a few Germans amongst his clientelle! According to Joan, John drove
around Europe in an Alvis car, selling his wares as he moved around. It is not known what John was selling on his travels
overseas, but he certainly had stopped this as a career by 1924.
Back in Scotland, on July 4th 1924, John married
25 year old Jeannie Grant McGregor, daughter of a sheet metal worker called McGregor, and Robina
Milne, whom he had known for several years.The wedding took place at St. Luke's Parish Church
in Calton, Glasgow, after banns according to the established Church of Scotland. At the time of the wedding, both
John and Jeanie were listed as living at 45 William Street, Jeanie's family home. 25 year old John was now listed as being
a tramcar conductor, whilst Jeanie was a tobacco warehouse worker. The witnesses to the wedding were Williamina Forbes
McGregor of 45 William Street, and Calum's and Jamie's great grandfather, Charles Paton, resident
at 31 Garvald Street (GROS:1924/644/03/310).
From the Glasgow Electoral Registers for Bridgeton, it is known that
John and his new wife Jeanie continued to live at the tenement at 45 William Street, although the street was in fact renamed
as Templeton Street in 1926. The couple are to be found here from 1925 until 1933. (In 1925 John was in fact listed both at
45 William Street and at 31 Garvald Street).
John, his wife Jeannie, and daughter Irene - approx 1939, Glasgow.
John and Jeannie went on to have four daughters, Morag,
Sheila, Irene and Sheena. Tragically, their second daughter, Sheila,
died when only seven months old. John's grand daughter Sheila Trotter (nee Saywood) believes
that she was named her deceased aunt. This also almost certainly explains the reason for the naming of John's brother
Charles' daughter, Sheila Paton (now Cobby), the name not having been known
in the family prior to this generation.
John's grand niece, Margaret Jane Stewart (nee Paton),
remembers that John (known to her as Johnny), used to take his family to the seaside at Broughty Ferry. These
holidays were shared by John's first cousin, James Paton (see the Paton - Part Two page), and his family (which included Margaret as James' second eldest daughter). James Paton, who
lived in Perth, also regularly took his family to see John and Jeannie in Glasgow, and Margaret accompanied him on these
visits, and remembers John well.
John initially worked in Glasgow as a tram car conductor, and later
took up work as a chauffeur, although it is not yet known for who it was that he worked. On Friday, 29th September 1939, just
three weeks into the Second World War, John was recorded in the census for the National Register (drawn up to create a list
for ID cards and a possible draft). He was noted as John B. Paton, residing at 167 Greenhead Street, Glasgow, born on October
29th 1898, married and working as a motor driver of lorries (GROS: 1939 National Register).
During the Second World War, according to his grandson Calum, John was told
that he was too old to join the regular army, and ended up working in the Home Guard. Calum's mother Irene Scott
(nee Paton), who apparently idolised her father, told her son that she credited John's
membership of the Home Guard as a contributing factor to his early untimely death, with the hours that he did outside at night,
in all kinds of weather. John's youngest daughter Sheena is not so sure about this, as for most of her childhood, she remembers
that her father was in hospital at Bridge of Earn in Perthshire, where he was being treated for tuberculosis.
John Paton, in the 1940s, Glasgow.
Because of John's tuberculosis, Sheena recalls how her mother and maternal
grandmother would never eat the eggs that they received as part of their food rations, and would instead save them for their
visits to John at Bridge of Earn Hospital, believing that the eggs would do him more good than them.
Sadly, John eventually died on November 15th 1945 at 12.30pm, at
Ruchill Hospital in Glasgow. The cause was pulmonary tuberculosis, as certified by Dr. R. A. McCluskie. At the time of John's
death, his home address was listed as 167 Greenhead Street in Glasgow. His brother William, living at 220
Stonyhurst Street, informed the Glasgow registrar of John's death on November 16th (GROS:1945/644/11/660).
John's death was also recorded in Glasgow's Evening Times on Friday, November 16th, on page 7:
PATON - At a hospital in Glasgow,
on 15th November 1945, John B. Paton, beloved husband of Jean McGregor, 167 Greenhead Street, S. E. - No flowers or letters,
please (by request).
Although John was registered as dying of tuberculosis, his daughter Sheena
was raised to believe a different story. It would seem that just prior to his death, John was transferred from his hospital
in Bridge of Earn to Ruchill Hospital, Glasgow, in an ambulance. On the way down, he appears to have caught pneumonia, and
it is this that his family believe was the real cause of his death.
In the aftermath of John's death, his brother Charles,
Calum's and Jamie's great grandfather, continued to visit Jeannie and her family in Scotland each time that they went over
for their annual holiday from Northern Ireland. John's widow, Jeannie, eventually passed away herself at 8.50am on August
4th 1959 in the Royal Infirmary in Aberdeen. Her usual residence at that time was 167 Greenhead Street in Glasgow. John's
niece, Joan West, recalls that Jeannie may have been to Aberdeen to visit her daughter Sheena at the time. The cause of Jeannie's
death was cerebral thrombosis and aspiration pneumonia, as certified by Dr. Scott Henderson. The informant to the Aberdeen
registrar was her daughter Irene, who was normally resident at 5 Greenlodge Terrace (GROS:1959/168/1/1220).
John Paton with his wife Jeannie and eldest daughter Morag, 1933
CHILDREN of JOHN PATON and JEANIE McGREGOR:
(i) Morag Robina Milne Paton
b: 4/6/1925 d: 18/4/2000
Morag Paton with her mum, Jeanie Paton (nee McGregor), Broughty Ferry, 1929
Morag was born at 11.05am on June 4th 1925 at 45 William Street, Greenhead,
Calton, Glasgow. Her father, a tramcar conductor at the time, registered her birth in Calton, Glasgow, on the 25th (GROS:1925/644/3/931).
As a child, Morag went on holidays with her parents and her sister Sheena
to Broughty Ferry, and on at least one occasion, in 1929, she holidayed with her second cousins Margaret Paton
and Elizabeth Paton, and their parents, James Paton and Helen Patterson Paton
On June 16th 1947, Morag, at this stage a 24 year old post office clerk, married
25 year old automobile association clerk Ernest, son of automobile association clerk Charles and
Jessie. At the time of the wedding, which took place at St Luke's Church of Scotland in Glasgow, Morag was
resident at 167 Greenhead Street, whilst Ernie was living at 20 Kingsheath Avenue in the city. The minister was the Reverend
Alexander Mackenzie, and the witnesses were James Whyte, resident at 22 Darnley Head in Glasgow, and Morag's
sister, Irene Williamina Paton, resident at 167 Greenhead Street. The wedding was registered in Bridgeton
on the 17th.
Morag Paton 1944
After her wedding, Morag went on to have a daughter, Sheila,
and worked for a living at some stage after that as a bank teller.
Morag eventually passed away on April 18th 2000 at 2.50am at Mearnskirk
House, Newton Mearns, G77 5RZ. Her usual residence at this stage was 35 East Kilbride Road in Rutherglen, Glasgow, where she
lived as a widow. The cause of her death was general debility, cerebrovascular disease and non insulin diabetes, as certified
by Dr. Khoda Buksh. Morag's daughter registered her mother's death on the 18th (SP/NRS D 2000 650/00 179 Eastwood and
(ii) Sheila MacFarlane Paton
b: June 1931 d: 12/12/1931
Sheila was born in June 1931, and spent her short life at the family
home of 45 Templeton Street. At the age of 5 months she developed gastro-entiritis which seven weeks later led to a "bilateral
acute suppurative otitis", which was to tragically lead to her death on December 12th, at 3.15am in the Children's Hospital. Her
father informed the registrar on the same day in the Anderston district of Glasgow (GROS:1931/644/11/882).
In Sheila's memory, her uncle Charles named his daughter Sheila, and
her sister Morag named her daughter Sheila as well.
(iii) Irene Williamina McGregor Paton
Irene with her father John - approx 1939, Glasgow
Irene was born at 7.30am on May 14th 1933, at the Maternity Hopital in
Glasgow. Her father, a chauffeur at this point resident at 45 Templeton Street in Glasgow, registered her birth on the 26th
for some bizarre reason with both the Calton and St. Rollox registrars in the city (GROS:1933/644/3/473-Calton;
At the age of twelve, Irene and her famaily wouldundoubtedly have
been shocked at the sudden death of her father, John, of tuberculosis. According to Irene's son Calum, Irene
idolised her father, and no doubt his passing away at such a young age hit her hard.
On July 12th 1956, Irene married 26 year old journeyman electrician James,
son of coachbuilder Matthew and Catherine. The wedding took place at St. Luke's Church of
Scotland in Glasgow. It is known that as well as being a typist, Irene was also a secretary
of Moncrieff Parish Church in Glasgow, which she did for several years. Her marriage to James was registered on
In 1963, Irene and James were living in Glasgow.
On August 9th 1982, Irene's husband James passed away at the age of 52,
the cause being myocardial infarction. At that time, Irene was living at 30 Alison Lea in East Kilbride (SP/NRS D 1982 575/00
372 East Kilbride).
Irene Paton's husband James
Irene finally passed away herself at 9.27am on September 9th 1992,
at the early age of 59. The cause was bronchopneumonia and widespread oesophageal carcinoma, as certified by Dr. J. McKeown. Just prior
to her death, Irene had been living at 30 Alison Lea in East Kilbride. Her son Calum, also resident
at 30 Alison Lea, registered her death in East Kilbride on the 29th. (SP/NRS D 1992 575/00 497 East Kilbride).
Irene was survived by a son and three grandchildren.
(iv) Sheena McGregor Paton
Sheena on a Mediteranean cruise in 2004
Sheena was born at 167 Greenhead Street, Glasgow. Her father, working
as a chauffeur at the time, registered her birth in Bridgeton.
Sheena married engineer Douglas, and the couple went on to have two children, a son and a daughter,
in the early sixties.
At one point after this, Sheena and Douglas moved to Houston in Texas,
USA, in order that Douglas could take up a short term contract as an engineer. They ended up there for five years, but
ultimately returned in order that they could be close to their family again.
Douglas tragically died at a young age in approximately 1987, with Sheena
later living in Peterborough with her daughter.
Charles Paton b: 24/5/1904 d: 30/9/1987
Calum's, Jamie's and Pippa's great grandfather
- see below.
Charles Paton 24/5/1905 - 30/9/1987
Charles was Calum's, Jamie's and Pippa's great
Charles Paton in Brussels, Belgium, from a postcard dated May 10th 1907
According to his death certificate, Charles' birth date
was noted as May 24th 1904, when he was in fact born on May 24th 1905 in Koekelberg, Belgium. His death entry
also incorrectly notes that he had been born in Inverness, Scotland, although there was a connection to this city,
it being his mother's birthplace, and where he attended school for a few years in his childhood.
In March 2010, Charles' birth certificate was finally
located, thanks to the help of Jochem Heicke, based in Germany, and Michel Vanwelkenhuyzen, based in Brussels, to whom
grateful thanks is given.
Charles' birth certificate shows that whilst his
elder brothers and sister were born in Brussels, he was born in Koekelberg, on the modern city's outskirts. The full
certificate states that Charles was resident at 57 Rue de Neck, and that he was born on May 24th 1905 at 11.00pm. His mother
was , his father David, both were married in Inverness. At the time of Charles' birth, David was in fact
'en voyage', and was therefore not present. The informant to the registrar was 51 year midwife Elise Jacquet, resident in
Keokelberg, who assisted at the birth, and the witnesses to the registration were 54 year old tailor Jacques Sterck and 24
year old grave digger Alexandre Bosmans.
Charles was therefore born during the reign of the British
king Edward VII, and in Belgium, where his father was working as the manager of three shoe shops for the Glasgow
based company R. and J. Dick Ltd. Charles would undoubtedly have visited the shops frequently with his mother, brother
and sister in his early youth.
Until 1907, Charles, more colloquially known as
Charlie, appears to have stayed in Brussels with his entire family. But in 1907, his mother moved with
the family back to her father's house of 8 View Place, Inverness, where they stayed for a few years, whilst his father
remained to manage the shops in Belgium. It seems that Charles briefly stayed with his father before also returning to Scotland.
Evidence backing this up comes from a postcard
written by Charles' father David on May 10th 1907, to his daughter Annie, at that time staying at 8 View Place,
Inverness. On the postcard, he wrote:
Cher Annie -
I only got the photos of Charlie today. I am longing
to get a long letter from you. Love to all,
PS: I am sending C to mother.
The former Inverness High School - now Crown Primary School
Soon after sending this postcard, David seems to have also made
his way to Scotland, with Charlie in tow. The admissions register for Inverness High School shows that David's
son John joined class Std I on May 21st 1907, transferring to Std II on August 12th 1908. When
John joined the school in May 1907, his parent or guardian was noted as being David H. Paton, resident at 8 View Place. Shortly
after this, we know that David certainly did return to Brussels, as on July 31st 1907, he was again listed as living
alone in the Brussels census, having moved from Koekelberg to new premises on the Rue d' Artois.
Charlie spent a couple of years living at home in his grandfather's large house at 8 View Place before he himself started
at Inverness High School on April 21st 1909. It appears that although his brother John was also in attendance at this school,
his other brother William and sister Annie were not.
8 View Place, Inverness, home to Charlie between 1907 and 1910
On August 23rd 1910 the register tells us that Charlie had left Inverness High School, having "gone to Glasgow". The
1911 census in fact shows that Charles and his two brothers were still there by April 2nd, residing at 108 Cumberland Street
in the Gorbals with a police constable and his family, though his mother and sister Annie were in a separate part of the tenement,
staying with his uncle Joseph Paton. Charles was himself noted as five years old, at school, and born in Belgium, though noted
as a British subject by parentage (SP 1911 644/03 056/00 026).
1911, the family had once more relocated to Belgium. The Belgian authorities recorded on October 10th that Jessie and
the children had moved to the St Gilles commune. It can only be assumed that Charlie continued his early education
in Brussels, either at a school or with a private tutor.
However, upon the advent of the First World War,
everything was to change dramatically. On the first day of the war, the Germans invaded Belgium. Instead of retreating back
to Scotland to safety, Charlie's father David opted to remain in the Belgian capital to keep an eye on his company's
property. After initially trying to maintain an everyday lifestyle in the occupied country, David was forced into hiding.
Family members calim this to be because he refused to hand over the company books to the occupying power, but it is much more
likely he went into hiding to avoid the German internment order for British male civilians on German occupied territory.
In March 1916, Charlie's life was turned further upside
down after the sudden and tragic death of his father in the city (see above). Things worsened soon after, when the Germans
arrested his brother Johnnie as a civilian POW and sent him to Germany, his only crime being that he was
now of fighting age.
With John arrested, Charlie, his mother Jessie, and his sister Annie
were unable to leave Belgium, and were forced to live in Brussels at 100 Rue d' Espagne for the remainder of the war. Times
were hard for the family, with Charles' mum having to constantly beg for money to be sent over from R. & J. Dick, Ltd.,
to support her and her two remaining children. We know that despite the difficulty, they were in good form throughout, as
evident from a letter Charlie's mother sent to his Uncle James on July 9th 1917 (NA:FO383/259/222768):
Legation (British Section) at Brussels
present their compliments to His Britannic Majesty’s Minister at the Hague
and on behalf of Mrs J. Paton, a British subject residing 100 rue d’Espagne, Brussels, have the honor to beg Sir Walter
Townley, if possible, to communicate the following message to her brother Mr. James Paton, Singer Works 42 St. Paul’s
Churchyard, London E.C.:-
Jim, As things here would have become impossible for us, I should like to know what you would advise me to do. Matters concerning
the Firm here have been decided & an indemnity of three months given. Viz until the
15th Sept. 1917 when the 75 francs I have been receiving since the
16th March 1915 will cease. Then of course I shall be entirely without means. Myself & the two children
who are still with me. The small sum left after the exceptionally heavy expense of poor David’s illness & death
is gone & had I means I should be allowed only to touch a very small sum monthly. The cost of living here at the present
moment is 10 times (and in some cases 20 times) more than in 1914 so you can well imagine my extreme anxiety in case we will
be as we have been. Over the winter in such case I shall be in a bad way. Kindly write to the firms and explain as I could
not explain myself properly from here. I shall leave it to your good judgement as to what you will say & arrange for me
as I know you will do everything in my interest. Kind regards to every one. We three are pretty well, hoping this will find
you all the same. Your loving sister J. Paton”
July 9th 1917.
wishing to leave the widow of a trusted colleague high and dry in Brussels with no means to live on, the company agreed to
give Charlie's mother a weekly allowance of three pounds, paid to her through the British Relief Fund. But by May 1918, another
letter from Jessie to the Netherlands Legation in Brussels implored them to ask R. and J. Dick Ltd for an increase in her
allowance, as inflation had decreased the value of the weekly three pounds by two thirds. This letter also indicates the decline
in Charlie's health due to the harsh conditons in Brussels at that time:
hope that you will forgive the liberty I take in writing to you, but the expense of living here at the present moment is impossible.
The £3 which the firm of R. and J. Dick allow me is really not enough for food without speaking of other expenses.
am entirely depending on what the firm sends me, having no other means whatever. My boy of thirteen is ill through nothing
but privation and I can see things getting worse every day. I have no idea what arrangements will be made with the firm after
the war, but in the meantime we must live and at the rate things are, £3 is just equal to £1, therefore what I receive is
should certainly not trouble you if there were any other way of doing, and believe me I appreciate and am very much obliged
for the kindnesses you have already done for me.
to hear from you as soon as possible, I remain
D. H. Paton
Charles Paton (right) outside wireless shop in Belfast, 1950s
Charlie finally left Brussels with his mother and sister,
and possibly his brother John, in October 1918, reaching Scotland on the 26th. Back in Glasgow, it is believed that
the family settled in the same tenement block as Charlie's aunt, Margaret Robertson Paton, at 100 Cumberland
Street, in the south side district of the Gorbals.
By 1919, when Charlie's father's will was confirmed, his mother
Jessie was listed as living at 18 Aitken Street in Dennistoun, and Charlie was undoubtedly living with her still at this point. Just
two years later the 1921 census listed him as a visitor to the house of a William Millar, a 37 year old machineman,
and his wife Sarah, aged
34, who resided at 275 Broad Street, with their children Helen, aged 11, and William aged
7. Charles was stated to be aged 16 years and a month, born in Brussels, Belgium, was a British citizen, and was working as
a clerk for R & J Dicks Ltd, Boot Manufacturers. This suggests that his father's former firm had taken him under its
wing following his return to Scotland. Charles was single, and also had national health insurance (SP/NRS 1921 RD
644/2 ED 20 p.13 Camlachie).
But in 1924, Charlie was listed in the Glasgow marriage register
as living at 31 Garvard Street, Glasgow, just off the Dalmarnock Road in Bridgeton. He was recorded as one of the witnesses
at his brother John's wedding in Calton, Glasgow, on July 4th 1924 (GROS:1924/644/03/310).
On June 21st 1925, Charlie's niece, Joan Paton
(see above), arrived at his mother's house to see her grandmother, Jessie Paton, to show off a new dress
that her own mother had given her for her birthday. She arrived at the house, and remembers that as well as her grandmother
being present, her uncle Charlie and aunt Annie were also in attendance. Jessie gave her a piece of shortbread,
which Joan did not want, but in order not to let her grandmother know that, she tried to hide it in her bag, only to have
Charlie stop her and say, "If you don't want that, I'll have it", after which he removed it from her! It was a trait that
Charlie would pass on to his future son Colin, and future grandson Chris!
The electoral registers for Glasgow show that Charles was resident at 6 Sunnybank Street, Shettleston, from
1930 until 1934, along with his mother and sister Annie (Source: electoral registers, Mitchell Library, Glasgow).
Charles married Jane
Currie, more familiarly known as 'Jean', on the
28th September 1934 in Chalmers Parish Church of Scotland, on Charlotte Street, in Rutherglen district. The church no longer
exists, it was closed in the 1970s. Jane' sister Vicky, and a friend, James Glen Mason,
were the witnesses (GROS:1934/654/215). In his wedding certificate,
Charlie was listed as working as a wireless salesman, and according to his daughter Sheila, he in fact
worked for Clydesdale Electrical.
In 1936, just three years prior to the outbreak of the Second World War, Charlie and Jean moved over to Belfast, Northern
Ireland, settling at 40 Whitewell Crescent in the far north of the city. The reason for the move, in family lore, was that
neither Charlie nor Jean wanted their kids to grow up in an area where they could be conscripted into the armed forces - in
Northern Ireland at that point the volunteer rate was so high that conscription was never formally introduced. This may
be plausible, if somewhat irrational - it would have been at least ten years before their first child would have been
eligible for conscription, but considering the experience that Charlie went through in Brussels it is possible. However, it
is more likely that Charlie was sent over by Clydesdale Electrical from Scotland to run their Belfast shop, or may even have
asked for a transfer to the Belfast store, with the advent of war approaching.
In the 1939 National Identity Register, recorded on
September 28th 1939, Charlie was recorded with Jean and son Robert at 40 Whitewell Crescent. He is noted as a 'branch
manager', and his date of birth is confirmed as 24 MAY 1905. His national register number was UAFH/849/1 (Incidentally, this
information came from a Freedom of Information request made in January 2010, the first to successfully gain information from
the register in Northern Ireland, which is held at PRONI).
On the night of April 15th 1941, Easter Tuesday, the war finally hit home in Belfast, by
means of a Luftwaffe blitzkrieg attack. The following is taken from Brian Barton's book The Blitz:
Belfast in the War Years (p.109):
At Greencastle the raid erupted with dramatic suddenness and ferocity.
After the siren had sounded, local air raid precautions wardens had been warning residents to take cover during the delay.
Then suddenly they caught site of a parachute mine coming down nearby. They had just time to fling themselves to the ground
when it fell in the middle of Veryan Gardens with a vibrating crash that seemed to shatter the neighbourhood. Almost immediately
afterwards, it was followed by another, coming from the direction of the Whitewell Road. In a matter of seconds the whole
area had been devastated. Almost 130 homes in Vandyck Gardens and Veryan Gardens were demolished or severely damaged. A woman
who was taking a bath was blown thirty feet into the Serpentine Road and died from her injuries. At number 45 Veryan Gardens
eight members of the Danby family were killed instantly by the first blast; twenty-five residents in the street died. James
Makemson, a member of the Local Defence Volunteers, remembers bricks from houses 250 yards away being hurled through the roof
of his home in Whitewell Park.
Scarcely had the wardens recovered their faculties when they witnessed
an 'appalling sight'. Several hundreds of terrified, screaming people came rushing from their wrecked houses, and began running
down the Whitewell Road. Some of them were seriously injured. Police Constable James Hawthorne later recalled: 'All had one
objective - to get away from it.' Unfortunately there was nowhere safe to go: no shelter had been built in an area so remote
from any identifiable target. There were 170 casualties, 46 of them fatal. they were tended wherever cover could be found
- houses with rooms still intact, fields and ditches; many, a warden recorded, 'were too dazed or distracted to understand
Veryan Gardens was in fact a continuation of Whitewell Crescent;
Vandyck Gardens and Serpentine Road the next streets along from them. What the book does not record is the fact that
Charlie's house, at 40 Whitewell Crescent, was also hit. His son Robert was just two and a half years old at that time, but
still recalls the night vividly. When the house was blitzed, Robert recalls his father grabbing him and getting himself,
his wife and his baby brother out through the back door, and running up the road to an air raid shelter - possibly
with the very crowds described in Barton's book. Robert particularly recalls this, because en route to the shelter, his father
dropped him accidentally, and he landed on his head! For the next few days, the family slept in a barn, until they were
eventually given the house next door to live in, at 42 Whitewell Crescent, a fact which is confirmed in the Belfast directories for that period. They were now to remain here until 1951.
When the war ended, Greencastle was in fact the first estate in Belfast to be rebuilt.
On December 6th 1943, Charles joined the Royal Air Force
Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR) as an Aircrafthand/Wireless Operator (AC2), enlisting at "Edin/8 R & DC", presumably at base
in Edinburgh in Scotland. His nieces
Anne and Joan, daughters of his brother William, contacted in June 2003, both remember their
uncle turning up at their father's house in Glasgow during the war, and it may well have been prior to his attestation. Anne
described how stunned she was that he looked so like her father, whilst Joan remembers him as being a kind man.
Charlie's record shows that his service number was 1828704, and that his previous occupation in civilian life, surprisingly, was
a utility man (labourer) in the rubber tyre making industry. The employer was noted as based in "Ind. KA. L279" (presumably
an India rubber company?). Absolutely nothing else of this is known about, but it may be that this was some form of war work,
as both prior to the war, and after leaving the RAF, he was noted as a shop manager in various records. His home address upon
attestation was listed as 187 1/2 Dalmarnock Road, Glasgow, c/o Currie, therefore the home of his in-laws, though his next
of kin was noted as his wife, Mrs J. Paton, resident at 42 Whitewell Crescent, Belfast. Did Charlie come to Scotland to enlist,
or was he already here when deciding to join up? Charlie's physical description was given as 6 foot and a half inch tall,
a chest size of 33 1/2 inches, with brown hair, blue eyes and a fresh complexion. Under marks, scars etc it states "Vac.
1 L.A.", presumably a note of a vaccination. His date of birth is confirmed as May 24th 1905 and in Brussels, Belgium, though
his nationality was given as British, whilst his National Registration number was again noted as UAFH 849/1. A previous
medical on November 9th showed his medical category as "Grade II (A) ft".
On Feb 3rd 1944, Charlie was posted to "13 RS", location
unknown, and from May 3rd was working at Central Depot, Colnbrook, Buckinghamshire, not far from Windsor. On June 23rd
he was transferred to 5358 Wing. This group was one of the Aircraft Construction Service wings equipped
with mechanical plant and specialist quarrying and construction units, which was employed in expanding
and improving airfields all over the country. 5358 Wing was comprised of 5024, 5025, 5026 and 5207 Squadrons. When Charlie
joined, it was in the immediate aftermath of D-Day (June 6th). Most ACS Wings took part in the Normandy landings, but there
is some confusion about Charlie's wing. An article in an online magazine called Line of Communications (issue 2 September
2007) states that 5358 Wing was "formed in 1945... to construct airfields for the RAF on Okinawa and was en route there when
the war ended". Charlie's record clearly states him to have been with the wing from June 23rd - was he therefore in Normandy?
On October 31st 1944 Charlie was posted to HQ No. 33 Base (a), RAF Waterbeach, and then rejoined 5358
Wing on December 9th. On April 1st 1945 he was promoted to AC1, and on April 28th was specifically assigned to 5025 Squadron
within the wing. On July 3rd he was then posted to 5011 Squadron, within 5351 Wing. It is believed this was based in Britain.
Just over two weeks later, on July 20th Charlie was posted to "11 EU", where he spent the next fifteen months. During this
period, on November 1st 1945, Charlie was promoted to be a Leading Aircrafthand. From April 24th 1946 to May 13th 1946 Charlie
qualified to become a French Instructor (Class C), having attended an EVT Instructors Course No. 25 at RAF Barton Hall.
Just a few months later, on October 14th 1946, he was formally discharged from the RAF Volunteer Reserve.
The crest for 82 Squadron
That wasn't quite the end of it though - on the following day, Charlie re-engaged with the RAF,
at his last RAFVR post at 11 EU on October 15th, and continued to serve there. From December 6th-19th 1947 he was granted
re-engagement leave. After the war (and perhaps during as well),
Charlie apparently used to bring his children and his wife over to Scotland on holiday once a year. Another of his nieces,
Sheena, daughter of his brother John, has memories of him coming to visit them at their
home in 1947, in the aftermath of her father's death, and remembers him making frequent visits right up until she was
about ten years old, which may imply that he based himself in Scotland during periods of leave. Sheena describes him as having
been a really handsome man, and always a good laugh when he visited her house.
On January 15th 1947 Charlie was again promoted to the rank of Corporal (T/Cpl), and from February
18th to March 3rd he was again granted 14 days End of War leave. On August 18th 1947 he was transferred to "HQ RAF,
NI Unit". Following four more days End of War leave from October 25th, he joined 82 Squadron at RAF Benson in South Oxfordshire,
and on January 28th 1948 was further transferred to RAF Stattion Eastleigh, near Nairobi in Kenya, for the next eight
months. According to his daughter Sheila, Charlie had once stated to her that he had been somewhat sad that he had not been
able to bring his house boy with him to his next post, having grown fond of him during his stay there.
From September 28th Charlie was then posted in West Africa, and on October 1st he was further
promoted to the rank of Sergeant [A/Sgt (PO)]. On December 6th he was awarded a Good Conduct Badge, displayed as an an inverted
chevron on the cuff of his left jacket sleeve, which was awarded after receiving three years consistent Very Good appraisals,
and which entitled him to an extra 3d a day "good conduct pay" (3s 6d a week).
On December 18th 1948, Charlie was admitted to the "Eur. Hosp." (European Hospital?) in Takoradi,
and discharged three days later on the 21st. No reason is given. On February 18th 1949 he was prepared for Home Embarkation
at 5 Personnel Dispatch Centre.
Four days later, on February 22nd 1949, Charlie took up his next post at the Air Sea Warfare
Development Unit at RAF Ballykelly, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland. The base had actually closed at the end
of the war but had been re-opened in 1947 as the home of the RAF Joint Anti-Submarine
School, a training flight flying Avro
Shackleton aircraft. Charlie spent the next 20 months
here, with only one major two weeks period of End of War leave from July 3rd 1949. He was finally discharged from RAF
Whole Time Service on October 14th 1950. Although placed on a class G reserve list, Charlie's career in the RAF was now over.
In recognition of his service in the Second World War, he received both the Defence Medal and the War Medal.
In approximately 1950, Charlie and Jean went through
a traumatic time when their daughter Sheila was diagnosed as having contracted polio. She was treated
at Purdysburn Hospital in Belfast, and Sheila remembers that at one point, when it was feared that the virus had spread its
way to her brain, one of the nurses suggested that it was time to fetch her father, as it was not believed that she had a
strong chance of surviving. However, Sheila pulled through, and for a few years after would wear calipers to help her when
Charles Paton outside his Belfast wireless shop - date unknown
In 1950 and 1951, Charlie was still listed in the
Belfast directories as a member of the RAF. In 1952,
Charlie is again described as an assistant manager in the Belfast directories.
At some stage after 1950, Charlie's wife Jean walked out on him, secretly arranging to take her daughter Sheila with her
one night to Scotland. Whilst Charlie was left to look after their three sons, Jean took their daughter Sheila with
her to Auchterarder in Perthshire, where she took up work at Gleneagles Hotel as a servant. Shortly after, back in Belfast,
Charlie swapped their house on Whitewell Crescent for that of a woman called Mrs Lorimer, who lived at 111 Britannic
Avenue, just off the Sandy Row. His son Colin believes this may have been to prevent Jean from laying any
claim on the house, but it is not known for definite why this happened. Sheila remembers that her mother told her that what
had caused the split was Jean's suspicion that Charlie had been having an affair with an Inverness woman whilst
in Scotland. Whatever the reason, it would be a couple of years before Charlie saw his daughter again.
Colin's abiding memory of this period is of his father making him eat bread
with lard on it, but his brother Charlie had a slightly more favourable impression of their period with their dad.
When Jean returned about two years later later, she moved into a
flat with Sheila at Gainsborough Drive in Belfast, just off the York Road, and shortly after once more took custody of all
the children and moved to Carrickfergus, in County Antrim. Although they did not divorce, for a time, both Charlie and Jean
were constantly at each other's throats in the courts over the issue of alimony towards Jean, and both Sheila and Colin have
memories of him or his sister turning up to their house on a weekly basis in Carrickfergus and putting a shilling
onto a shovel and then pushing it through the letterbox! Not long after, Charlie left Northern Ireland and
took up work in Liverpool in England, living on Egberth Road.
Charles Paton at his daughter's wedding, 1970. Also pictured are sons Colin (left) & Charles (right)
Calum's and Jamie's grandfather, Colin Paton, next saw his father in
Liverpool in 1963. It was after his passing out parade for the Royal Navy, and he stayed with his father for a night in the
city whilst waiting for the ferry to Belfast the next morning. The two did not get on at all. At this stage, Charlie
was managing an electrical shop in the city.
Charlie's daughter Sheila traced her father in Liverpool
in approximately late 1969 or early 1970 and went over to visit him, convincing him to attend her wedding to Allen
Cobby in February in Hull. He did so, and gave her away at the wedding. Sheila also convinced him to return to Northern
Ireland with her. Charlie agreed and according to his son Charlie was put up in a flat in Donaghadee, where he got
a job collecting glasses at a pub called the Imperial, with Sheila remaining in touch with him. He was apparently fondly
thought of by many of the locals in the pub.
Charlie eventually died on September 30th 1987, at Northfield House care home
for the elderly in Donaghadee, County Down, where he had been a resident (it is not known how long he had been living
there). The cause of his death was Carcinomatosis and Carcinoma Prostate - i.e. prostate cancer. On his death certificate,
Charlie was listed as a Retired Manager (Hardware and Electrical Goods). The death was registered in the Ards district of
County Down on October 2nd by his daughter Sheila Cobby (nee Paton), who incorrectly informed the registrar that
he had been born in Inverness rather than Brussels, and in 1904 rather than 1905 (GRONI:D87/A1/0485).
Charlie was buried in an unmarked grave at a cemetery
in Bangor, County Down, Northern Ireland.
Robert was Calum's, Jamie's and Pippa's great
Robert David Paton, 1965
Robert was born at 40 Whitewell Crescent in Belfast
on 7 OCT 1938, and his earliest memories came from that address. He particularly remembers the night of the 1941 Easter
Tuesday German blitz attack in Belfast, when the house was damaged in the raid. He recalled his father grabbing him and getting himself,
his wife and his baby brother out through the back door, and running up the road to an air raid shelter. As
they ran, his father dropped him accidentally, and Robert landed on his head! For the next few days, the family
slept in a barn, where he remembered sleeping on the hay whilst chickens ran around him, and a short time later the family
had moved next door to 42 Whitewell Crescent, where
they then remained until 1951.
Robert also remembered the turbulent period when
his parents split up, with his mother and sister Sheila setting off for Scotland. Living with his two brothers and
his father, he further recalled the woman with whom his father had a relationship, "a big fat woman from Inverness", who used
to tear strips off his dad.
When his mother and sister returned from Scotland,
the family moved to Carrickfergus, nine miles north east of Belfast on the lough. He had particularly fond memories of their
house in Eden, known as "The Drift", and of its garden with its small stream flowing through. As a young lad, to earn money,
Robert worked for the milkman who lived across the road from them, and also caddied at Carrickfergus Golf Club, where he made
further money by scouring the surrounding lanes for abandoned golf balls. He recalls how his mother used to lock the doors
at their house in Eden for fear of their father coming to claim custody of the children, in what was a bitter separation.
He also remembered his mother getting him to walk in front of the family when they were out, in case they bumped into his
In 1954 Robert joined the Royal Naval
Fleet Air Arm, at the age of 16, having found out about life in the services from an information point in Belfast. To
sign up, he had to travel to England, and so boarded a Kelly's coal boat for Liverpool, arriving in the city in the evening.
With nowhere to stay, he spent the night sleeping rough in a park, with a house brick for a pillow, so terrified was he of
the rumours he had been told about English men being thugs - he was ready to take the head off anyone who attacked him!
On the following day, he joined up.
Robert spent the first two years of his service
life in training in Oxfordshire, at RNAS Bramcote, better known as HMS Gamecock, the technical training centre for Naval Airmen Aircraft Mechanics, where about one thousand men were under
training at any one time. After completing new entry and airmanship courses, Robert then joined HMS Bulwark, an aircraft carrier
loaded with 57 fixed wing aircraft, where he did one year's sea experience.
As a youngster, Robert had lived with a stutter, and on entering the navy, he started the real love
of his life, naval boxing and football. He remembered a big Scottish instructor constantly training with him in the ring,
taunting him with "Come on Paddy, get in the ring and knock hell out of me". Growing in confidence, Robert soon lost his stutter
and became a champion welterweight naval boxer in the Far East.
In June 1956, Robert was sent to Suez aboard HMS Theseus, another aircraft carrier, under orders from
Prime Minister Anthony Eden to escort British shipping through the canal, which the Arabs had decided to impose a fee of £1
million per entry. This was unacceptable to the British, and so Robert's ship was ordered to attack hostile forces intent
on blockading the canal. On setting off for the Mediterranean, Robert's mother contacted the Carrickfergus Advertiser,
and a large front page story entitled "Young Carrick Boy Sees Action in Plenty" soon followed. As part of the fighting at
Suez, Robert recalls on many encounters that the shipmates had to bring the bodies on board
of the enemy that had been found floating in the water after a hostile encounter. For his service at Suez, Robert was
later awarded a medal.
One of Robert's minor claims to fame was the fact that he guided the very first landing of a sea harrier
onto a naval aircraft carrier. As a souvenir, he retained the ten inch long engine starting cartridge.
Robert at home in Portsmouth, England, December 2002
During his fourteen years in the Fleet Air Arm, Bob also served on board the Albion
and the Centaur (a commando carrier). The Centaur served in the Royal Navy until 1965, after which it was
an accommodation ship for five years, before being sold and broken up in 1972. Another memory Bob had from his time in
the Navy was his home visits to Britain, and in particular to Glasgow. He often met up with his cousin Vicki Gray
at Blairdardie Road, and visited his mother's family at 1089 1/2 London Road. He also visited the Barrowlands dance room
Robert married to Jean EvelynInwood, who had been born in Portsmouth on
24 DEC 1934 (GROEW 1935 Q1 Vol.2b p.689 Portsmouth), in Portsmouth at some point between October and December 1962 (GROEW
1962 Q4 Vol.6b p.994 Portsmouth). And on another stage, in the late 1960s, Robert was briefly the guest of his brother
Colin on board nuclear submarine HMS Warspite.
Upon leaving the Royal Navy in 1968, Robert settled in Portsmouth in England and ran his own pub.
From 1985 he worked as a warehouse manager in the city, but stopped work there after an industrial accident.
On June 10th 1988, Robert's wife Jean tragically died of a brain tumour and breast cancer
(GROE:1988/Portsmouth/20/859). Prior to her passing Jean had worked as the manageress of a dry cleaner's firm.
Robert's subsequent partner Helen sadly passed away after 2008.
Robert eventually passed away in Portsmouth on 15 JAN 2022.
Calum's and Jamie's grandfather Colin lost touch with his
eldest brother for some twenty years. Their father Chris traced him to an address in Portsmouth in the early 2000s,
and took his father down from Bristol for an emotional reunion shortly after. The two remained in close contact for the
rest of their lives, with Colin predeceasing his big brother by just a year. In Bob's latter years, his nephew Colin, also
based in Portsmouth, put in a herculean effort to make him comfortable in his final days. RIP Bob, and thanks for sharing
so many of your stories with us.
Chris, Claire, Calum and Jamie xxx
(2) Charles Currie Paton
b: 9/7/1940 d: 15/1/2008
Charlie was Calum's, Jamie's and Pippa's great
uncle, and was known as "Chuck" to his brothers and sister.
As a young boy, Charlie remembered living at Whitewell Crescent, Belfast, Northern
Ireland. He described his dad as having being 100% sound, and of his mother as being 100% sound - but put them together, and
things were not so sound. He did remember fondly the family holidays every year to Glasgow in Scotland, and recalled how at
one point, whilst climbing a tree with his brother Robert, he fell, and broke his arm quite badly.
Back in Belfast, his parents' relationship deteriorated, and when he was about
ten years old, his mum left the house with his sister Sheila and set off for Scotland, leaving Charlie and his two brothers
with his father, who Charlie seems to have had quite a lot of time for. In Belfast, the family moved to Britannic Avenue off
the Sandy Row, and Charlie believed that his father may have had a relationship with the lady with whom he swapped houses.
How long his mother was away in Scotland is something that Charlie and his brother
Colin had different impressions of. Colin believed it was for about six months, but Charlie maintained it
was closer to two years, and being older, his account is more likely to have been correct. Charlie's first recollection of
seeing his mother back in Belfast was when he popped in to see her at Sawyer's Fish Market on North Street, and being told
off by her for not being dressed appropriately!
Having returned to Ireland, Charlie's mum took custody of all the children again
and moved them to Carrickfergus, whilst his father left Belfast for Liverpool. It was to be many years before he would see
his father again. Charlie recalled initially living in some pretty awful accomodation in Eden, staying at 115 Loughview
Drive, basically a wooden hut, before moving to the Drift, a house which his brother Colin remembers fondly. Charlie would
often walk along the beach at Kilroot and pick up bits of coal and driftwood to use as fuel. His brother Colin also recalls
how Charlie would go to Loughard's Shop in Eden and buy onion boxes for a penny, take them home, chop them into firewood,
and then return to the shop and sell them back to Mr Loughard for sixpence! Colin thought this was brilliant, because Charlie
would use the money he made to take his wee brother into Carrickfergus to the cinema on a Saturday. According to his
brother Bob, Charlie also used to keep 'bantams' (baby chickens).
Charlie attended Eden Primary School and then Carrickfergus Technical College,
which he left at the age of 14. Having finished with his education, and not enjoying a particularly great relationship
with his mum, Charlie decided to leave Ireland and head for London, England. "What was there in Carrick for me? If you wanted
to do something with yourself, you had to leave".
Charlie moved to London in approximately 1960, and according to his brother
Colin, his first job was working at the bar in The Alibi Club on Berwick Street. Soon after he had found further work
at a nightclub called Annabel's on Berkeley Square in Mayfair, London, where he met his future wife. He subsequently
joined the merchant navy in 1961 (service number R742746), going "deep sea", in other words on particularly long voyages,
and not long after the couple married. Charlie recalled that on the day of his wedding, his prospective sister-in-law
had kittens at the fact that his suit did not fit him, and made a huge search to find
one that would! The wedding took place at the Church of England in Stanmore, Middlesex, with his brother Colin as one of the
On a photograph of Charlie taken in 1965, his mother Jean noted the
following amusing rant - "He never was known as the 'Mad Irish', but the English are the master race. London needs brimstone
and fire" (!). On another picture of him that year, his mother simply wrote "Charlie 1965. God Bless".
Charlie and his wife lived for a time in Maidenhead in Kent, England, before
spending some time in Spain, where they set up a pub. However, the business failed to take off and they were
eventually both forced to return to England after a year or so.
Charlie attended his sister Sheila's wedding in Hull to merchant seaman Allen. His
wife was Sheila's bridesmaid, and both his brother Colin and his father were also in attendance.
The couple later divorced, and Charles moved to Peterborough in about 1981, where
he set up a couple of pubs, which he ran until about 1996. He then moved to nearby Crowland, where he was known to the
locals as Chas, and continued to live in the area until his sudden death on January 15th 2008, after having
suffered from throat cancer for some time.
Charlie is survived by his two sons, four granddaughters and grandson.
Whilst we never met Charlie, Calum's and Jamie's father did manage to speak to
him on several occasions by phone in the last couple of years prior to his passing, and will be forever grateful for the memories
he shared concerning his earlier life in Carrickfergus. Thanks for getting Dad to the cinema Chuck, and thanks for lending
him the suits - he needed them! Rest in peace mate.
Chris, Claire, Calum and Jamie xxx
(3) Sheila Elisabeth
Paton b: 14/2/1943 d: 11/1/2013
Sheila was Calum's and Jamie's great aunt,
and their father's aunt and godmother.
Sheila Elizabeth Paton, 1960s
Sheila was born in Belfast during the Second World
War, and was named by her father Charles after his deceased niece Sheila MacFarlane Paton, daughter
of his brother John, after her early death in infancy in 1931 (Sheila's cousin Morag Paton
also named her own daughter Sheila, in memory of her deceased sister).
In approximately 1960, Sheila developed polio, and
it was believed that she would never walk again in her lifetime. She was treated at Purdysburn Hospital in Belfast, and
at one point, when it was believed that the virus had reached her brain, things did not look good for her, and she remembers
the nurses saying that they might have to call her father in to see her for a last time. Whilst she was in
hospital with polio she remembers occasionally getting a present of some Beatrix Potter books from her aunt, Annie
Paton, who lived in Inverness. Fortunately Sheila's condition improved and she was discharged from the hospital with
a pair of calipers to help her when walking.
Shortly after, Sheila was awoken one night by her mother whilst in bed, dressed and told to go outside
to the fence, where a bag had been packed and left under a hedge. Her mother was making an exit from the house and leaving
her husband Charlie without him knowing. They fetched the bag and secretly made their way to the Shore Road near Greencastle,
to the house of a woman that Sheila remembers as being called "Aunt Lilly", and from there they made their way to Larne where
they got a North Sea ferry across to Scotland. Arriving in Scotland, both Sheila and her mum made their way then
north to Auchterarder in Perthshire, where Sheila's mother had already obtained work as a domestic servant at the huge Gleneagles
Hotel, her job being to supervise the laundry in the hotel etc.
Whilst her mother stayed in the hotel, Sheila had to stay in the village with a lady called Mrs.
King and her son, Charles, who she remembers made her life hell!!! She was also enrolled into a
local school in the town, having to wear a uniform of maroon and grey. Sheila had to sneak into the back door of Gleneagles
Hotel, and up a small stone, spiral staircase to secretly meet up with her mother whenever she could. Years later, she
took much pride, when, having won a prestigious golf tournament in Belfast, for which the first prize was a weekend at the
Gleneagles Hotel, she could actually walk through the front door of the place as a guest, without any objection from the staff.
Two years after moving to Scotland with her mother,
both returned to Northern Ireland, with her mother obtaining digs for them at Gainsborough Drive just off the York Road area
of North Belfast. She remembers that both she and her mother went looking for the three boys, Robert, Charlie and Colin on
the Sandy Row, and when they got to the street, found them playing outside. Her mother did not want them to reveal their presence
at that point, and the two of them just spent several minutes watching them all play together on the street.
After her mother obtained custody of all the
children again, the five of them moved to Carrickfergus shortly after. From this point on, Sheila and her mother
did not get on too well, her blonde hair and looks marking her out as her father's daughter, and she remembers how she would
often get the blame if her father did not turn up with the shilling he was supposed to pay as alimony to her mother - she
describes how she believes that her mum thought of her as a jinx!
As a teenager, Sheila worked with her younger
brother Colin for Betty Wilson in Dobbins Inn Hotel in Carrickfergus. With the money she earned from
here, Sheila was apparently the first to buy a Mini car in the town in the 1960s. She later worked at Dunmore race
Sheila married Allen, a merchant seaman, in Hull. Prior
to the wedding she managed to trace her father, who by now was living in Liverpool, and he was able to give her away at the
ceremony. She then got her father to return to Northern Ireland, where he set himself up with a bar job at The Imperial pub
Sheila gave birth to a daughter whilst living
in a cottage in Carnmoney, County Antrim, a place she had bought prior to meeting Allen. About six years later, the family
moved to Waterloo Park North just off the Belfast Road in North Belfast's Fortwilliam area. Sheila worked as a saleswoman
all over Ireland, and eventually retired in April 2003.
Sheila had a lifelong interest - sorry, obsession! - with golf, and was one of Northern Ireland's top
amateur golfers. In the 1980s, she was lady captain of both Carrickfergus Golf Club (1981) and Fortwilliam Golf Club
in Belfast (1987). In politics, Sheila was not impressed with all the nonsense in Northern Ireland, and was instead a member
of the middle ground Alliance
In 2005 Sheila was diagnosed with breast cancer,
and ironically once again received treatment at Purdysburn, where she had been treated as a child for her polio. She came
through the treatment, and continued to live in Fortwilliam, Belfast, with occasional visits to Sydney, Australia to visit
her daughter and granddaughter.
Sadly, cancer returned, this time to Sheila's liver. She passed away in City Hospital at 2.30pm on
January 11th 2013, with her daughter in attendance, and also lifelong friend Margaret McQuillan. Sheila's funeral service
was held at 11.30am on Thursday 17th January at Rosemary Presbyterian Church, on Belfast's North Circular Road. Following
the service she was cremated at Roselawn Crematorium.
Sheila was Calum's and Jamie's father's favourite aunt and
godmother, and one who did a hell of a lot for him, for which he will always be grateful - she will be sorely missed
by all who knew her. And look out Big Yin - you may have created the earth in seven days, but if your golf isn't
up to par, you've a lesson coming to ye!
The Paton family history continues with
the story of Calum's, Jamie's and Pippa's grandfather, Colin Paton, who was involved in a major
Cold War incident in 1968 when his submarine collided with a Russian vessel in the depths of the Barents Sea. For this, and
the story of their father Chris Paton visit the The Paton Family - Part Five...