Grumpy old fart!!!

"If you talk to God you're religious. If God talks to you, you're psychotic."

The Gift of Year – V. J. Day 1945

Bill Hunter

One of the troops who returned to his native Glasgow was Bill Hunter who had joined the Gordons with his two friends, Mick Griffin and Jack Casserly.

As prisoners, the trio were being forced marched in northern Thailand in June 1943 when Mick and Jack found their comrade close to death through exhaustion, disease and malnutrition, lying at the side of the track.

Although in fragile shape themselves, they helped him to the next camp where Bill was able to recover. But tragically, as if to emphasise the water-thin margin between survival and death, both Mick and Jack died soon afterwards after contracting cholera.

Mr Hunter survived the war, but weighed less than six stones when liberated and yet went on to have 13 children, all of whom had their own families.

The singer’s interpretation of that act of kindness was that Bill’s survival had resulted in a total of 750 years of new life for Bill and his offspring

Many years after his death, Bill’s son, Kevin, was attending a concert in Toronto where the star of the show was the popular Scottish-Canadian singer John McDermott, who was also originally from Glasgow.

He introduced one of his songs, entitled The Gift of Years by telling the story of his uncle, Mick Griffin. Since his father rarely spoke about the war, Kevin was totally unaware of the part which Mr McDermott’s uncle had played in his father’s survival.

The singer’s interpretation of that act of kindness was that Bill’s survival had resulted in a total of 750 years of new life for Bill and his offspring, hence the song title.

Kevin Hunter was dumbstruck upon realising that the singer was talking about his father and how strange the coincidence that here he was, more than 3,000 miles from home, listening to the story.

During the intermission, he went backstage and introduced himself to Mr McDermott. At the start of the second half of the show, the singer asked for the lights to be brought up in the auditorium and introduced Kevin to the audience where he received a rousing reception. These families never lost contact after their shared memories of war.

V. J. Day

August 14, 2020 - Posted by | Social History, Uncategorized | , , ,

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