WILMINGTON -- Richard Hamilton, a long-time resident of Marlboro and the former owner of the Skyline Restaurant, spoke to an audience of 60 people on Nov. 28 at a meeting of the Scottish Rite Valley of Brattleboro. The organization hopes to continue this program of having people who have made contributions to their communities in southern Vermont tell their story. The group feels it is important to offer the public a touch of their community history from those who have lived it.
Hamilton’s talk centered around his days growing up on the family farm and following his graduation from high school in 1941 being drafted into the Army during World War II. He became a part of the U.S. Army Air Corps serving on a B-17 Flying Fortress flying out of England. After nine missions his plane was heavily attacked by German fighter planes over Germany resulting in the pilot, navigator and a third member of the crew being killed. As the plane was severely damaged he and the rest of the crew parachuted. They were captured by the local citizenry and sent to a prisoner of war camp for 11 months until liberated.
After returning home, Hamilton married the former Joyce White and they started the Skyline Restaurant retiring in 1992 after having raised four daughters. He is a 65-year member of Brattleboro Lodge of Freemasons.
Three years ago, Hamilton participated with other WW II veterans in a "Liberty Fly In" to visit the WW II Memorial in Washington, D.C., and was greeted by Sen. Robert Dole. He has made several presentations regarding his life and war experiences including an interview on BCTV. A video tape of one of his talks has been place in the Library of Congress.
Following his talk, Robert Fagge, past Thrice Potent Master of the Valley of Brattleboro, presented Hamilton with a flag that was presented over the Capital Building in Washington, D.C.
Steve Farrington, head of the Council Princes of Jerusalem in the Valley of Brattleboro, then presented Hamilton with a certificate of appreciation recognizing him for his service to the community and his courageous service to his nation during World War II.