Monday, June 25, 2018

James S Hamilton

Fraser Hamilton, the son of one of our life members dropped in to Scotstoun recently to view our display cabinet and he subsequently asked if we would be interested in his father’s medals from his athletics career.  His father was James Steven Hamilton.

James S Hamilton was born in Partick in 1928 and attended Victoria Drive Secondary School where he developed his interest in athletics.  In 1944 he was their senior sports champion.  His medal from the period is shown right:

He showed great promise as a junior athlete and cut his teeth competing at the likes of Shawfield, Westerlands, Firhill and Ibrox.

His first national junior medal was won on the 8th of June 1946 at the Scottish AAA Championships at Meadowbank.  He won the 880 yards or half mile event in a time of 2:02.2.

On the 21st of June that same year he won his first senior medal at the Scottish AAA Championships at Hampden Park where he finished 2nd in the 880 yards in a time of 1:59.3.  He followed that by running the first leg (440yds) of the medley relay ahead of A S Warren (220yds), George MacDonald (220yds) and J B Panton (440yds) who finished in 1st place in a combined time of 2:40.2.

In July 1946 he travelled to the Junior AAA's at Birmingham where he finished 2nd in the 880 yds with a time of 2:02.0.

In 1947, he finished 2nd in the 880 yards at the Scottish AAA Championships at Hampden Park.

After that date, he served three years national service in the Army.  He was based at Aldershot and served in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME).  His athletic career did continue during that period and as you can see right, he was part of the winning Army team that won the Inter Services Athletic Championships in 1948.

When he returned to Glasgow after his national service, he found employment as a bank clerk and very quickly resumed his athletic career.

He was 1st in the 440 yards at the Scottish AAA Championships at Hampden Park in 1950 which allowed Victoria Park to award him life membership and gained him selection to the Scottish team that competed against England and Ireland at the Triangular Athletic Match at White City, London in 1950.  Also representing the Club that day were Alan Paterson, George MacDonald and the Olympian Willie Jack.

In 1951, he was 2nd in the 440 yards at the Scottish AAA Championships at Hampden Park in a time of 50.5s.

He was selected once again to represent Scotland at the Triangular Athletic Match at Recreation Park, Dunoon in 1951 against teams from England and Ireland.  He was joined on that occasion by Vicky Park teammates Andy Forbes, Alan Paterson, K Cunningham, P Milligan and Willie Jack.

In 1953 he again ran the first leg of the medley relay for the winning Victoria Park team at Meadowbank.  The team that day was James Hamilton (880yds), Ronnie Whitelock (220yds), Harry Quinn (220yds) and his brother Bobby Quinn (440yds).

Hi emigrated in 1953 to Vancouver in Canada where he again worked as a bank clerk and joined the Vancouver Olympic Club. 

He chose to represent Scotland at the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games at Vancouver, Canada where he finished 6th in the 880 yards in a time of 1:52.7.  Victoria Park were also represented at the games by Ian Binnie who was 7th in the 3 mile race with a time of 13:59.6 and 6th in the 6 mile race with a time of 30:15.2.  Only 5 male athletes represented Scotland at these games.

In the picture right, Ian Binnie is on the left and James is 5th from the left.

James eventually returned to Scotland with his wife in 1960 where they started a family.

He eventually passed away in September 2011 having said very little over the years about his exploits on the track.  His son Fraser vividly remembers incidents from his childhood where he played with and swapped many of the shiny medals, not knowing their importance or relevance.

His family have kindly donated his medal (pictured right) that was awarded to all of the competing athletes at the games.  It will be displayed in the Club display cabinet at Scotstoun.

 

Gordon Innes