University of Oxford
Browse
05324d18e4d724a8d855532e76687c785334d0b7.pdf (88.06 kB)

Major Hugh Robertson, life after the war

Download (88.06 kB)
online resource
posted on 2024-06-05, 18:58 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

One piece which has not seen the light of day is my account of when my father, Major Hugh Robertson, returned 40 years after D-Day to the beaches with me. He talked to me many times of his exploits in the war. But one event he refused to describe was the D-Day Landings. He arrived in 1944 on D-Day +1, and his main concentration and effort was to keep his men's spirits up, as he led them through the carnage of their fallen comrades. When I made to get out of the car with him at the beaches, he said, "Not here, dear. I must do this alone." He stood for the longest time... but then having to lead his men through what he found there, he was never able to express.

My visit there with him was truly moving... and it might help people to understand how, even after 40 years, this memory was still so very, very painful. He would not even allow me to stand with him there. These were HIS memories. Yet, the discipline taught by the Army enabled one man to forward this order.

My father was an extraordinary man indeed, widely respected. The stories of the war have been with me always. Mum would not listen, but it was fascinating to me. Subjects like how he did not know he was going to land on the beaches in France until his money was changed into French Francs! The object, that I no longer have, but which was very much loved, was his Luger, which he had taken from a dead German. He reckoned that, being dead, the German would have no further use for it. And he was angry. The concentration camps had been discovered. But, when the amnesty came, he could not hand that item to the Government. To keep it was to break the law, which was not an option either. So, one morning, he walked out into Nigg Bay and put it in a channel of water they call "The Pot". It is said to be virtually impossible to retrieve something from The Pot. The Luger held all his wartime memories.

But I also remember my father's lighter stories, funny anecdotes, pipers getting drunk and having half their beard shaved off.

History

Item list and details

Major Hugh Robertson's account of 'after the War' updated on 24 March 2024

Person the story/items relate to

Major Hugh Robertson

Person who shared the story/items

Linda McLean

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor

Major Hugh Robertson was my father

Type of submission

Shared online via the Their Finest Hour project website.

Record ID

122456