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John's parents photo
Archibald & Ethel Hislop on their wedding day

Ethel Hislop with Peggy and John
Ethel Hislop with John left and Peggy right

Family background

John Hislop was an officer in the 2nd Battalion IXJat Regiment. What does that conjure up: wealthy, upper middle class, military family? On one count you would be right as both John’s father and grandfather were soldiers, but they were certainly not wealthy. John’s grandfather (also named John Hislop) was a waiter before enlisting in the 16th Regiment of Foot at the age of 24; he rose to the rank of Sergeant Major. His son, John's father and my grandfather, Joseph Archibald Martin (known as Archie) enlisted in the ranks of the same regiment now called the Bedfordshire Regiment as a boy soldier in 1891.

In 1910 my grandfather married Ethel Lines from Norfolk who was a teacher of English. My grandfather's military service record shows that he was commissioned from the ranks in 1914 having been granted a commission as Quarter Master Honorary Lieutenant Bedfordshire Regiment; he retired as Captain in 1928.

John’s older sister, Anne Mary Margaret or, as she was commonly known, Peggy, was born in 1911 and John Archibald Hislop was born in 1913. From 1915 to 1919 the two children and their mother lived in Rutherglen. He describes the house as:

“frankly a back to back slum with sketchy lavatory arrangements and no bathroom. Peggy and I were washed in the kitchen sink and had a bath in a tin tub once a week before the kitchen fire. We had porridge for breakfast every day and I have hated the wretched stuff every since.”

A letter from my grandfather to my grandmother dated 22.6.15 has survived; it tells her of his love for her “and the kiddies."
My grandfather carried the photo (below on the left) in a wallet throughout the war; in the wallet behind the photo are two golden locks of hair, one slightly darker than the other.

But John writes that his first memory of his father was when he was four years old seeing his mother throwing herself into the arms of a stranger in khaki; Philip Henry born in 1918 was born after that leave. After the war a further three children were born; Archibald William (Bill) in 1920, Marion Ethel in 1922 and Richard Duncan (Dick) in 1924. In the photograph below you can see, from the left, Philip, Marion, Dick, Ethel and Bill.


Hislop family

Philip, Marion,Dick, Ethel and Bill