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Sunday 1 November 2015

Thomas Hogg's Family Story

From Thomas Hogg:

William Hogg and Mary Harrington Aitchison at their wedding in 1929
I was born on the Highfields Estate, Berwick-upon-Tweed in 1940.

My father was William Hogg (1896 – 1966) from Portobello, Scotland. He enlisted in the Cameron Highlanders in 1915 and fought in France till the end of World War I. After the war he returned to Portobello and worked as a journeyman butcher in West Linton, Ayton and Eyemouth and eventually Tweedmouth.

My mother - Mary Harrington Aitchison (1906 – 1995) - was born in Burnmouth, and had four brothers, namely William Spears Martin, James Martin, Thomas Martin (who went to New Zealand) and John.  My mother’s family tree (all connected with the North Sea fishing from Burnmouth and Eyemouth) can be found in the book ‘Children of the Sea’ by Peter Aitchison about the Eyemouth fishing disaster 1881.

My parents married on 25 September 1929 at the United Free Church, Burnmouth.
I was the 7th child in the family and had siblings - William (1930 – 2000), Elizabeth, Moira, Flora May (1934 -2011), Henry Bolam (1937 -2011) and James Aitchison (1939 – 2011), all of whom were born in Tweedmouth and Berwick.  A later sibling is Linda, born in Newcastle on Tyne where the family lived from 1944.

I returned to Berwick many times, in the late 40s and early 50s, with family members and stayed with relatives in Burnmouth or with the Mason family in St. Cuthberts Road, Berwick.

As a young child I enjoyed walking across the fields to bathe in the two sea-pools but was always afraid of the jelly fish that came in on the tide.   I remember going with my older siblings to the Berwick barracks and we went to one or two socials there.  In the town we loved to buy our favourite sweets, Ross’s Berwick Cockles, at a corner shop near the bridge - they were a real treat for us at that time.  

In the 50s, I recall going with my dad to Shielfield Park to see Berwick Rangers play Hibernian reserves before our team played in the new Scottish Divisions.
I still look now on Saturdays for the Berwick Rangers score.

At Burnmouth it is still easy to visualise the creels and fishing nets strung out for repair near the sea front at Cowdrait  and the many happy days we spent clambering over the rocks to collect whelks.    My grandmother (née Elizabeth Martin) lived in Cowdrait until her death in December 1947.  My uncle, Jimmy, also in Cowdrait was always telling us about the fishing off Burnmouth and about the family trawler, ‘True Vine’.

It was always fascinating later to visit the small harbour at the bottom of the brae, however the memorial stones in Ayton tell a story of tragedies in the family in the old trawling days.

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