I know how interested in Hibs history the St Pat’s branch have been since foundation (which I think is brilliant as you know) so thought you and your members might be interested in seeing the attached 2 photographs that belonged to my great uncle Sammy Whitelaw who died aged 89 in 2011.
The first is of the first ever Executive Committee of the Hibs Supporters Association taken in 1948. Sammy is far right in back row, I’ve since learned that another lad in the photo Pat Tyrell is a great uncle of Gary Fegan who I’m sure you’ll know from games. Sammy and a couple of pals started organising travel to home & away games for Hibs fans in Musselburgh by hiring converted army lorries from a firm called Mealyou’s Taxis, after they came out of the Armed Forces after WW2, Sammy having served in the Royal Navy including Arctic Convoys.
There were lads in various parts of Edinburgh doing the same thing in the immediate post-war years. In response to an advert in the Evening Dispatch Sammy and his mate Jimmy Higgins went to a meeting in Leith near Central Station that had been called by the Leith Branch with a view to forming a Supporters’ Association. He recalled that was during 1947 and was fully up and running by end of the 1947/48 season. The 6 founding Branches were Leith, Musselburgh, Portobello, St Giles, Central & Tynecastle (no comment!). All snappy dressers – nae trackie bottoms and trainers in those days !
The other is for the all-conquering Musselburgh Hibs Supporters Branch bowling team in 1953. They played all their home matches at the bowling club up near where the Grammar School used to be – off the lane that led up to Inveresk graveyard. Another of my 2 great uncles, Chris and Jim Whitelaw, were members (Sammy’s older brothers – his other older brother Wullie was a Jambo!). Another member was wee Wullie Ormond. He joined the Branch after moving to Musselburgh and while he was still playing for Hibs with the Famous Five. Apparently he was a braw bowls and dominos player! Sammy was instrumental in Wullie moving to Musselburgh. The branch used to hold their annual dance in the Catholic Halls up Newbigging and virtually the whole team came every year. A local fisher lass, Margaret Fairnie, asked Sammy to introduce her to Wullie Ormond which he did and thought nothing of. A few weeks later Sammy bumped into Wullie on a Sunday morning in Fisherrow. Wullie had been at the dancing with Margaret the night before and had missed his last train home to Falkirk. In the interests of diplomacy I’m saying no more.
I have another grainy image newspaper photo of a post-war Cup match at Airdrie’s old Broomfield which appeared in Monday’s Evening paper. Late 40’s or very early 50’s. Hibs had come back to get a draw from being behind thanks to an inspirational performance from Lawrie Reilly. Hibs fans invaded at the final whistle to carry Lawrie off on their shoulders. Sammy could be clearly identified and he told me he was terrified to go home after work to face his dad (my great grandfather). Afraid? This was a man that had lied about his age to join the Royal Navy at just 17 years old , had survived a number of battles and served on Arctic convoys but still feart o his faither…..changed days !