Bert Armstrong

Bert Armstrong is a well known Hawick singer. He was Hawick’s official Common Riding Song-Singer. He was born on the 7th of October in 1924 at 11 Dickson Street in Hawick.  His father, George Armstrong, was a butcher, a fishmonger as well as a member of the Common Riding Committee. His grandfather, who was also called George was the landlord of the “Ewe an’ Lamb” and the owner of the Howegate fish shop. He went to Wilton Primary where at the age of ten he sung the first and last verse of “Up wi’ the Banner” for  Cornet Bill Brydon’s Cornet’s visit. He then attended Hawick High School leaving in 1937 at the age of 14 to work in the mill to help earn money for his family. During his time at school his favourite subject was Music and he was friends with John Oliver, Jim Clarke and Taylor Hope. He looked up to Bill McLaren who, at the time, was the Athletics Champion in Hawick High School. In 1943 he joined the Navy and worked as a cook onboard the HMS Goshawk. He himself states that he wasn’t a very good cook, even going as far to say that his cooking was more likely to kill the soldiers than the Germans were. He got an MBE from the Queen in 2004.

by Haru Nagato-Apthorp