What they found in Bob Hill’s Time Capsule from 1945

Family Fortunes: Bob famously flew the Hammer and Sickle over the Station House on VE Day

‘He penned, in beautiful copperplate, a four-page account summarising the state of the war and his hopes for returning servicemen’

‘He penned, in beautiful copperplate, a four-page account summarising the state of the war and his hopes for returning servicemen’

 

In February 1945, Bob Hill, a mild mannered Ballymena Presbyterian and stationmaster at Dungiven, was eying up the new bus station next door and thought it fitting that a Time Capsule should be placed in the structure.

He penned, in beautiful copperplate, a four-page account summarising the building activity, the state of the war, fuel rationing and his hopes for returning servicemen. The document was witnessed by Bob’s wife Sarah and eight prominent local citizens from across the community including my father, the recently arrived young GP.

In 1958, during the IRA Border Campaign, the now UTA Station was targeted and as a small child, I watched it burn from our landing window.

When the remains of the building were finally demolished in 2001, the rediscovered capsule and its contents made local headlines.

My father, as the only locally surviving signatory, re-read Bob’s closing remarks and expressed serious doubts that any of them had really read his account in full all those years ago:

“The 21 years which have elapsed between the two world wars have provided sufficient and lasting proof of the hardship which Democracy endeavours to impose on its working-class people, so that an idle, lazy, life of wealth and plenty may be indulged in by a miserable minority, who claim for themselves the right to dictate and enforce terms of their own manufacture on the majority. It is the earnest hope of the writer, that the end of Hitlerite Germany will be accompanied by the final destruction of the plague of Democracy, and that while its corpse continues to stink that there may arise a new and socialist state after the pattern set by Marshall Stalin in the Great Soviet Union, which in 20 years has become not only the wonder but the envy of the rest of the World.”

Bob famously flew the Hammer and Sickle over the Station House on VE Day and the RUC, ever on the lookout for foreign flags, asked that it be removed, to which Bob replied that he was simply flying the flag of an ally.

A few short months later, Churchill was ousted by a Labour government. My father went on to serve as chairman of Limavady Rural District Council for the following 25 years. In 1952, the railway station closed and Bob retired back to Ballymena. Neither my father nor any of those other signatories, to my knowledge, ever displayed any communistic tendencies in the intervening years.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.