Hillsborough stories: Roy Harry Hamilton

Roy Hamilton Image copyright Hillsborough Inquests

Roy Harry Hamilton was a married railway technician from Liverpool who travelled by coach with his 15-year-old stepson Stuart Hamilton and his brother-in-law Robert Alcock, both of whom survived.

This is the full statement to the inquests from his stepson, Stuart Hamilton:

My name is Stuart Hamilton. I am the stepson of Roy Harry Hamilton, who died in the Hillsborough disaster on 15 April, 1989. He was almost 34-years-old.

I make this statement at the request of the coroner with a view to providing some personal background about my father. This statement is made on behalf of my immediate family, including, in particular, my mum Wendy, and my sister Joanne.

Dad was born on 22 May, 1955. He was a loving husband to my mum and he was the best possible father to Joanne and I. He was the son of Victor Hamilton and Dorothy Hamilton, who are both deceased, and the brother of Barbara Hamilton and Norman Hamilton.

On top of this, he was an uncle to many. He sadly missed the birth of his first grandson, Kyle, by a couple of years and since his death he has also missed the birth of his additional grandchildren Aliyah, Liam and Emelia.

My mum went through a difficult divorce in 1974 and was left to bring up her two children alone. Joanne was almost three and I was just 11-months-old. My mum struggled, but she was happy, and she vowed she would never marry again.

'Fell in love'

But in January 1979, purely by chance, my mum was introduced to my dad at a party and they hit it off. They chatted, but no way did she think my dad was interested in her, as she was nearly six years older than him and already had two children.

My dad was an assistant technician at British Rail at this time and he later invited my mum to a railway function and that was it, they fell in love. In time my mum introduced Roy to Joanne and myself. My mum loved to see us all together.

My mum and dad married on 6 June, 1981 as they wanted us all to be a family. In 1984, my mum and dad had mine and Joanne's name changed to Hamilton.

Mum and dad bought their first home together and we had two family holidays going abroad by rail using the passes we got from my dad's employer, British Rail.

For mum and dad 1989 started well. In November of 1988, my dad was promoted to a senior technician at work. We booked a hall for my mum's 40th birthday and Joanne's 18th birthday for August of that year and mum and dad bought their first brand new car, a Ford Fiesta.

That year they also booked our first flying holiday to Rhodes - no more going overland! My mum got a full-time position at Girobank and so, in March 1989, they paid the balance of our holiday and bought Joanne's 18th birthday present.

'Doting father'

My mum said she sometimes had to pinch herself as she had a husband who adored both her and her children.

My mum and dad had just got our new home the way they wanted and they thought that things really couldn't get any better.

As a father, my dad was the best. Although he was my stepfather, he acted like any other doting father would. Both Joanne and I called him dad and many people assumed he was our natural father.

One of my inside jokes with dad was when people told me how much I looked like him, we would just give each other a little smile and say thanks and then walk away laughing to ourselves.

My relationship with dad was one of comfort and predictability. Until he came along, I never realised just how much I needed a father figure and now I realise that I had even better than a father figure, I had a real dad.

I particularly remember how he used to involve me in his life with his friends. He used to occasionally take me to work with him at Edge Hill signal station, take me out after work with his friends for a game of pool and of course take me to the match.

'Love and consideration'

As a youngster, my dad went to all of my football matches when work permitted and then we started to follow Liverpool Football Club. It was a great life for a 15-year-old who wanted nothing more than to be like his father.

As a recent father myself, a couple of things stick in my memory about dad. Firstly, he was the one you came to when you'd done something wrong in school or misbehaved. He would listen and advise on how to deal with the situation.

Secondly, dad used to regularly work the night shift. He worked 10pm to 6am and would then take the train home. He used to make us breakfast and see us off to school, after working a full night shift, before then going to bed.

Quite often I would come downstairs and wake him on the sofa before my sister got up. Looking back, I realise most of my friend's true fathers never gave their true children this level of love and consideration.

My dad had little in the way of formal education but he was taking evening classes to progress his career and had worked his way up to a senior technician at British Rail. He was a genuine 'blue collar' man.

He would work hard doing physical labour, then come home to his family for tea and an evening at home. He was one of the most well known and well liked people you could ever meet.

'Missed every day'

He would stop to chat with people he knew in Liverpool, the south of England and even when we went on holiday overseas. Working as a railway technician, he was part of a tight-knit group and I know his death hit the rest of his shift team very hard.

His funeral was attended by many from British Rail and beyond.

My dad worked hard, he made friends easily, he looked after his family and most of all he was there when you needed him. He is missed by many every day and always will be.

My sister Joanne was extremely close to dad. For her, remembering all the lovely funny things about dad wasn't difficult; the hardest thing for Joanne was recalling the tragic events of the day and how he was so cruelly taken away from us.

Joanne remembers dad as the happiest, go-with-the-flow type of person you could ever wish to meet. She doesn't have a single memory of him that doesn't involve him smiling or laughing.

When dad got a fit of the giggles, he couldn't stop and his laugh set us all off with him. Everybody loved dad.

One thing we didn't perhaps realise when we were younger was just how special he was. As adults, we can now see that it takes a very special person to smile and remain happy through whatever life throws at you, and that's something dad did.

'Happy memories'

One of Joanne's funniest memories of dad was the day at the fair. There was a ride that Joanne really wanted to go on, but nobody would go with her, so dad said he would.

Dad and his bad back were never quite the same after being pinned to the back of a cage and spun around so fast that you didn't even need to be strapped in. I'm pretty sure, if he'd been around for longer, he would never have gone back on that ride again. Joanne certainly hasn't!

I remember that Joanne once knitted dad a scarf. We were sure he wasn't all that fond of the 15-foot-long scarf she knitted him, but he left the house every night for as long as we can remember wearing the multicoloured monstrosity wrapped around his neck.

It was an awful scarf, but the fact that Joanne had knitted it to keep him warm when he worked nights was reason enough for him to risk being seen in it.

It made us laugh when my mum and Joanne talked about it years later. My mum told her that dad didn't actually ever wear the scarf any further than the end of the road - not that we blame him - Joanne only made it that long anyway because she didn't know how to finish it.

It would have been lovely to see dad as a granddad and to see him and mum grow old together. Given more time together, we would have been able to create so many more happy memories of him and we would have gotten to tell him just how special he was to us all.

As teenagers, Joanne and I never saw dad unhappy, in a bad mood or even down. Now, as parents, we realise just how special that made him.

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