The Quilietti Family

The story of a Scots Italian family

BRUNTON ROBERT Cameron 1934-2015

ROBERT CAMERON BRUNTON was the son of Amelio Quilietti and Charlottee Miller

These memoirs are from Robert Brunton, son of Robert Cameron Brunton, grandson of Amelio Quilietti who has kindly let us know a bit more about his parents and their lives.

MY dad Bob Brunton known as ‘Bobby’ to his family at the time was a very well read little boy, devouring books at every opportunity.   This academic side to him was recognised by his mum and dad at an early age and they encouraged him at every opportunity.  He earned a Bursary, which was what happened in those days when families of gifted children could have help in sending their children to fee paying schools, which in Scotland was a great honour and which education would earn them a new path in life, and ensure that their careers would be different from that of their parents.  So Bobby earned his bursary/scholarship to a Private Boys School called Allen Glen’s inGlasgow where he stayed until he passed his Scottish Higher Exams in 1951.  

But after he left School his family circumstances could not financially support his longing for University life.    His love of books prevailed however and he would study  them at every opportunity and gain knowledge by self-education.

 Financially however a job would have to be found and he started work in J. & P. Coats. Ltd., as an Office Boy.    This company had grown with the British Empire and much of their goods would trade through the Port of Glasgow.    Like all young men of the time Bobby had a stint doing National Service, which was compulsory at the time.  During this time the Army also recognised his Acadamic side and his skill for languages.  They sent him off to Cambridge University to learn Russian.  This was the place to be during the Cold War with Russia and many men were trained in the skills of Espionage.  The University wanted to keep him on after his National Service in an Intelligence role, but this was not the path that he chose.

So he returned back to Coats Patons where he became a Sales Executive.   This job took him to all parts of the U.K selling the Company and their fantastic product  to shops and businesses.    He stayed at various ‘digs’ around the U.K. but unlike today there were no company car to go with the job!  As he took on more responsibility the Company then sent him on International assignments to exotic places like India and Hong Kong in 1958.   The following year saw him arrive in Sydney Australia.   It was here that he met Honor Clifford (or Vicky or Victoria as she was known).   Their romance only lasted a few months and they married on 7th January 1960 and shortly afterwards arrived back in London on the ‘Arcadia’ cruiseship.

The newlyweds return to England

The Arcadia was launched on May 14, 1953. The largest P. & O. liner ever to be built in Scotland. Services: (a) Great Britain-India-Ceylon-Australia, (b) Great Britain-Australia-California.


The couple had a quick romance but the decision was a now or never one as my dad had been told to return to the UK before being posted to Mexico City.  So their honeymoon was onboard the Arcadia where they spent a wonderful few weeks sailing half way around the world back to Southampton.  

Robert Cameron Brunton

My mum is not an Australian by birth, she is an Irish Catholic.  Her parents had moved from Ireland to England in the early 1930s.    Mum was  born in Hexam in Northumberland and her family were middle-class.    Her father was a School Headmaster in the 1930s and this left the family reasonably well off.   They even had their own car in the early 1950’s!!  He had left the teaching profession and was now a Managing Director for David Brown Tractors, a company who were based in Australia.

This was the guy who bought Aston Martin Cars in 1947 and where the famous ‘DB’ is known on some of the cars, including the famous DB5 that Sean Connery drove in Goldfinger.  I don’t know if this was a chance meeting or a concious change of direction that took him from teaching into business.   But sadly for my mum her dad liked to have a wee tipple and also he was a womaniser.  Her mother, my grandmother, committed suicide by swimming out to sea off Bondi Beach in Australia.    This, as you can imagine, had a devastating effect on all the family.   Then her father died with liver disease caused by the years of drinking.  Mum then went to live with a spinster aunt who lived in Sydney.   Her name was Shelagh O’Hanlon and she had moved to Australia in the early 1960s at the time Australia was having a boom in her economy and an open doors emigration policy welcoming all and sundry from all corners of the globe for a £10 entrance fee.


Meanwhile back in the U.K. my father Bobby Brunton was posted to Sweden and to Mexico  where his responsibilities were to increase his employer’s  market share in these countries.    Then on 1st April 1962 my sister Susan Brunton was born.   Whilst her birth would appear to have been straightforward with no complications, when she was only a few months old she did have some severe spasms.   Medical service in Mexico at the time was not great, so a trip to Texas was made.    Whether Susan had been brain-damaged at birth and undiagnosed at the time, or whether it was caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain during one of her spasms, our Susan was unfortunately now ‘mentally handicapped.’    My sister can still  function very well and take part in many activities, and her understanding of everyday chores is good, cooking is one of her favourites.  She shares in our jokes and conversations.    She still lives at home with our parents.

During 1964 my father was back working at the Coats H.Q. in Glasgow.

 The company continued trading as J & P Coats Ltd throughout the first half of the 20th century, expanding by acquiring controlling interests in several other textile companies. In 1960, following the takeover of Patons & Baldwins Ltd, the company became known as J & P Coats, Paton & Baldwin Ltd. In 1965, they acquired a controlling interest in the Pasolds group, which included ‘Ladybird’ children’s wear, ‘Donbros’ knitwear, and ‘Chilprufe’ garments. In 1967, they acquired both Dynacast Precision Engineering and Jaeger fashions. In June 1967, the company became known as Coats Patons Ltd. In 1967, Coats Patons Ltd amalgamated with Vantona Viyella to form Coats Viyella plc, a company registered in Uxbridge, Middlesex, England, which became Coats plc in 2001.

Dad bought a semi-detached house in Clarkston in Renfrewshire.   This was a first for anyone in this side of the family.  To get onto the property ladder was almost unheard of in those days and  always outside most folks’ aspirations.  Then my sister Christine Margaret Brunton was born on 25th January 1964.    Two years later my parents moved to an ever bigger house in Clarkston, No. 36 Queensberry Avenue.

 This is where I was born on 30th March 1966.

  Then in 1968  my mother suffered the miscarriage of a little girl.   On 16th January 1970 my brother Michael William Brunton was born

The family Brunton in 1970. This was taken just before Dad was posted to Santiago, Chile, where dad had been put in charge of the Business.

Unbeknown to me at the time this was quite a period of social unrest with the President Allende [who was eventually assassinated by the C.I.A.] .  For me as a young boy this time was idyllic.    I attended a Spanish speaking school, the Grange Preparatory School in the morning.    My sister Christine went in the afternoon.     We lived in a big Georgian style house and we enjoyed all the comforts of  a luxurious lifestyle.   We had a maid and a driver who used to pick me up from School and take me to the Prince of Wales Country Club where I would swim with my friends.  

Dad enjoyed a round of golf

My mum and dad would enjoy a round of golf here.   It was really a luxurious lifestyle for us all.

We returned to Clarkston in late 1972 as things  were getting very difficult in Chile, although dad stayed until the Spring of 1973 after Allende was assassinated and the factory ownership returned to Coats as it had been nationalised under Allende.  Dad however stayed until the Spring of 1973 after Allende was assassinated and the factory ownership returned to Coats, as it had been nationalised under the Allende Presidentship.

 Christine, myself and Mike attended Carolside Primary School in Clarkston, which was just a 2 minute walk from our house,

Carolside Primary School, the year of 1975. Caroline Brunton is 5th from the left front row
Caroline Brunton

We were only a minute away from the local Park where we would play football, we even played football in the streets in those days, it was allowed then!  Then there was carting on the base of an old pram.  In the early 70s cars were still not owned by every household.  Dad had his own car and mum decided she wanted a bit independence what with dad working all day she wanted to have a vehicle to get around in.    Very forward thinking back then.  Mum and Dad continued their love of golf and joined one or two Clubs.  In the summer our holidays would be to the Island of Arran

The Isle of Arran on te West Coast of Scotland

which became a favourite as we went there about three times from 1973 to 1976. 


Then there would be the odd weekend when dad would go to the beach at Troon and play pitch and put.   I remember trips to the local Fish and Chip Shop with my dad on a Saturday night.   I also went to an Art Class in Glasgow for a while.  We did occasionally travel through to Edinburgh to visit my grandad Amelio Quilietti or William Brunton as he was now known.   Sometimes we would bee my dad’s sister Jay and her two children, my cousins, Raymond and Julie.   My uncle Ronnie also lived there.   He had been briefly married but divorced soon thereafter.   We occasionally saw aunt Suzanne.  Her husband had died of a heart attach when he was only 42.   I do recall them all being over at our house in Clarkston sometimes at Christmas or sometimes on other special family occasions

The Brunton family

So by the year 1977 big changes were afoot.   Copenhagen was the next calling card for my Dad when he was sent to head up the whole of Scandinavia.    For me there was not really the option to go to Secondary School over there, language being the obvious barrier,  although it was find for primary level.   There was two other families who had kids boarding at the Edinburgh Academy so this was seen at the best option for me at the time.  

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