In 1943 you could leave school if you had a job to go to. Alexander was able to leave school at the age of 13. He had been at Orton (Inchberry). Findrassie Estate is a private estate. the war was still on. Working on the farm were two men, the farmer and his son. He earned 15 /- a week working a six day week Monday to Saturday. His mother was bedridden (she had housemaid’s knee) and Alexander and he wanted to get out to work to help the family. The doctor needed to be paid when he visited. Often people used their own remedies. She did get better eventually. Alexander left home to go and live at the farm, St. Mary’s farm, Orton.
National Service at Spandau Prison
His next job was to work in forestry which kept him busy until it was time to do his National Service. He was called up in 1948. He spent his time in Germany on guard duties at Spandau Prison. He spent three days on guard duty, 3 days at a barracks in Berlin where he worked at the GOC offices and then three days off. During guard duty he was paired with someone else. At any one time there were three people on duty and three people off duty. The shifts went as follows for three days:-
Each shift lasted 2 hours.
2 hours on duty
2 hours off duty either eating sleeping or talking
then 2 hours on duty again for three days………………………………..
When not duty there were chairs to sit or sleep in within a barrack room. No beds.
Most of the guard duty was spent at the main gate and not with the prisoner. Rudolf Hess was a most-well-known prisoner and he spent his time in prison by himself.
There was a kitchen staff of 2 and 1 person in charge and that was it for the whole prison. . From 1966 until his death in the prison in 1987 he was the only prisoner.
Forestry work after National Service
After he had been in the army Sandy went back to Forestry working at Teineland nr Orton for the Forestry Commission. He married Constance in 1951. He was a Gamekeeper/Trapper. The estate used snares to trap rabbits and vermin (squirrels were in this category). Capercaille ate the young trees so they were also trapped. They are a protected species now. Deer were also stalked as they ate the trees too.
In 1970 he moved to work at Newton Nursery, a Forestry Commission site nr. Elgin, until the end of his working life.
Memory contributed by Alexander Milne from Elgin
Rudolf Hess’s stay in Spandau prison-
New York Times Archive article- Spandau Prison: Hess’s Lonely Dungeon
More information on the regime at the prison after seven prisoners arrived after the Nurenberg Trials in 1947. Here it suggests that the guard duty changed monthly with a different country taking over. It rotated between the UK, US, France and the Soviet Union. Sandy mentoned he worked on a 3 day cycle. Guarding 3 days, 3 days in Berlin and then 3 days off.
Information on the Forestry Commission Nursery at Newton.
Building at risk register lists Newton house (see page 10). There is a photograph of the house as it is now.
It was extensively damaged by fire. Here is some more information about the house and its history. .