Scottish Veterans

Two Scottish Veterans in Buchanan Street, Glasgow

It is American Memorial Day on Monday 27th May to remember and honor those American servicemen who died while defending our country.  There are similar events all over the world.  In Britain we remember those fallen on the 11th day of the 11th month every year.

As an American I have so many ancestors who have fought and died for our country from the American Revolutionary War to the Civil War.  There may be others that I have yet to find.  As an American who was brought up in Scotland, I would like to pay tribute to four charming gentleman who I met on my sad trip to Scotland.

I mentioned the descriptive words disconnection, connection, familiarity and alienation in my last post.  So contradictory yet accurate.  As I walked towards my lunch date with school friends from yesteryear, I encountered various gentlemen in full military regalia.  I approached the first two and asked them if I could take their photograph.  They looked perplexed but pleased and I explained about my blog.

As I left the second group of servicemen, I thanked them for both their service and the photograph.  They looked at me as though I was a very friendly alien.  With my little blue passport and my transatlantic twang – that is exactly the right description.

Let us be thankful for all those who have given their lives in defense of their country.


Lest we forget

I received an email from one of the genealogical sites that I subscribe to, revealing that my paternal grandfather, Raymond Dellinger has been drafted for WWI.  This is his draft paper.

I am not 100% sure but I don’t think that he was actually sent to war.  Lucky for him as so many veterans of WWI died of battle wounds and disease.  I was intrigued that he was a bank clerk in Nebraska.  His older sister had married a doctor from Nebraska but the family had previously lived in Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico.  My grandfather was born on the Chickasaw nation in OK.

I never had the opportunity to meet this Grandpa and he died when I was a child.  He was so handsome with gray eyes that I would have loved to have seen him in person.  Now I know where the recessive gene for my blue gray eyes comes from.  My father had brown eyes and my mum had blue.

Kerry with dark, dark blue gray eyes

Grandpa Dellinger

As I am looking at the WWI drafts I see that 20 more relatives had been drafted into the war.  I do not know how many actually fought but my great uncle Earl (grandpa’s brother) was a Marine and fought in the Battle of Managua, 1927.  Then an incorrectly spelled name caught my attention, a distant cousin named Tony Ortiga (Ortega).  His draft fell into a strange category of Indians, Insane and Prisoners.  Well, in my family it could be all three….but what awful world categorizes those groups together? It was Folsom Prison in Tony’s case.  I wonder what he did?  Be careful when you open the genealogical closet because you never know what skeleton will fall out.

As I was reading this sad draft, I could hear Johnny Cash playing at Folsom prison.

‘When I hear that whistle blowing, I hang my head and cry’

Somehow that is the perfect segue from my last post on trains to this one on Memorial Day.

Lest we forget. Rest in Peace.

Patriot’s Point, Charleston, SC

USS Clagamore

USS Clagamore

Happy Memorial Day and thank you to our military for their service. This military and naval museum is home to three ships, the USS Yorktown, a naval aircraft carrier commissioned in 1943, USS Laffey, a destroyer known as ‘the ship that would not die’ and USS Clamagore, a submarine and is the only surviving GUPPY type submarine.

I was fascinated by the whole museum especially watching the helicopters take off from the Yorktown from the vantage point of the Water Taxi. There was dread in my heart as I gazed at the ancient submarine and wondered how anyone could cope with the claustrophobic conditions. I guess when you are fighting at war you just get on with it. When young, I considered joining the Navy (what fear of deep water?) but I think my strength would be in spy craft. My skills lie in noticing every detail (great at an airport), excellent communication skills and a little bit of fairy glamor.

USS Gaffney

USS Laffey

I used to be reasonably fluent in Arabic and a fellow volunteer suggested that I work for the CIA. Since my language skills stopped at ordering a kilo of bananas (mooz) or berating taxi drivers, I think I would be under-qualified. I was going to suggest that my mental illness might be an issue but look at Crazy Carrie in Homeland and Sir Winston Churchill whose black dog (depression) tortured him? I have no fear of dangerous countries so that’s a plus!

Recently, I tried to search military records for my ancestors. My UK ancestors were mostly farmers so would have been exempt from fighting. I found my paternal grandfather’s World War I draft card but no evidence that he served in that war. His brother, my great uncle Earl, fought with distinction in the battle of Managua. My father (or Pinocchio) told my mum that he had flown in WWII but there is no evidence of this, other than in his head. I inherited my fairy glamor from him but he used it for evil not good. 🙂

USS Yorktown

USS Yorktown

Every year I think about the young men and women who have fought in deplorable conditions for wars that seem meaningless. I have met them in a psychiatric hospital and often at the airport. Thank you for serving your country and trying to keep us safe.

Memorial Day

nessie and bob engagement 001
This is my lovely mum and dad in law on the night they became engaged, back in the 1940s. My dad in law was drafted into the World War II from Scotland, was captured almost immediately by the Germans and transported to a Prisoner of War camp in East Germany. As a prisoner he worked there for 5 years in a salt mine but was fortunate  return home alive. He had nightmares for many years and wouldn’t talk about his experience until later in life. Memorial Day allows us to remember all those brave men and women who fought for us. I recently found out that my great uncle Earl Dellinger was not a sad bachelor who lived with his parents but served as a Marine who fought in the Battle of Managua, Nicaragua in the early part of the 20th century. Then there was my great-great-grandfather who was a medic for the Confederate Army during the Civil War…. Can you imagine how awful that was?
Thank you, dear Ancestors.