Henderson, Hamish

(1919-2002)
   Born in Blairgowrie, Perthshire, he was introduced to folksong by his mother, who also taught him to speak Gaelic. He was educated locally, then at Dulwich College, London, and Downing College, Cambridge, where he studied modern languages. As a student in Germany he acted as a courier for a Quaker network which helped refugees to escape the Nazi regime; he left just before the outbreak of World War II. During the war he served as an intelligence officer in Europe and North Africa and was present at El Alamein. Out of his experiences he wrote the poem sequence Elegies for the Dead in Cyrenaica, for which he received the Somerset Maugham Award in 1947. He held several honorary degrees. In 1983 he refused an Order of the British Empire in protest of the nuclear arms policy of the Thatcher government. He was a staff member, and after his retirement an honorary fellow, of the School of Scottish Studies in Edinburgh. He died in Edinburgh. Some of his poems: "Ding Dong Dollar," "End of a Campaign," "Opening of an Offensive," "Seven Good Germans," "The Flyting o' Life and Daith," "We Show You That Death as a Dancer."
   Sources: An Album of Songs and Poems: A' The Bairns O Adam by Hamish Henderson (http://www.footstompin.com/artists/hamish_henderson. Folksinger's Wordbook. Irwin Silber, and Fred Silber, ed. Oak Publications, 1973. Poetry of the World Wars. Michael Foss, ed. Peter Bedrick Books, 1990. The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org). The Living Tradition (http://www.folkmusic.net/htmfiles/inart486.htm). The Oxford Book of Scottish Verse, John MacQueen and Tom Scott, ed. Oxford University Press, 1966.

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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