Alan worked first of all in a supermarket and then in ground maintenance including being an assistant grave digger in Elgin. He was paid £6 a week. He regularly fell in the graves. It was hard to get out once you fell in as it could be approximately 9 ft deep if it was a new one. Once a new grave was dug the graves around it can sink as water drains into the new grave.
Every year the nearby graves had to be filled in and re-turfed if this happens. If people were put in the wrong grave then there had to be a sheriff’s warrant to exhume the grave. In his experience the coffins always had the right label on them identifying the body inside.
Memory Contributed by Alan Patterson from Elgin
More information on the art of the gravedigger.