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Farm Servant at Lower Mains, Findrassie by Alexander Milne
Initally the story is about farming life but then Alexander talks about his National Service in Germany.
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. (see below)
Here is some more information about the house and its history. .
Margaret’s life in the Inverbervie Newsagent shop
Margaret grew up in the village of Inverbervie in 1930s and 40s. Her first job was in 1946 in the village newsagents. There were lots of items to sell and papers to sort out. She was paid 7 /- 6d. War had affected the village. There were four bombs dropped over the hill probably on their way home from the cities. In 1947 the owners of the shop were really annoyed when the Ministry of Board and Trade decided that all shop assistants should be paid £1 10 /- (30 /-). This was an attempt to level off pay so that young people had an idea of what they would be paid. Over a period of 18 months her pay rose to the required level. The shop had no till, just a drawer at the front corner. There were two long mahogany tables covered in paper. There was no self-service and the drawer was not secure. Stock control took the form of looking around at the shelves and seeing what was needed. A lot was based on trust. There was rationing of a range of items including sugar, biscuits and tea. Sugar and tea were weighed out into firm white bags. There was a special way of folding the top of the tea bag and then securing it with string. The shop sold biscuits such as McVities and Abernethy biscuits. At that time there were several pubs (4), 3 butchers, 2 bakers, a co-op store, 3 drapers selling fabric and clothing, 3 churches and a library. There was also 2 fish and chip shops, a blacksmith and a “flea pit”. The latter was usually a cinema. The drapers’ shops included one shop which sold off the peg (ready-made) clothes, another was a tailor making suits and a draper which was also a grocer’s shop. There was also an infant/Junior school and secondary school. If you passed the exam there was another school in Stonehaven.
Under the counter were some tins for the more well-to-do customer. They contained such wonders as Chocolate Viennese biscuits.
-Information about the town of Inverbervie
–Memorial to Hercules Linton designer and builder of the clipper Cutty Sark now preserved at Greenwich, London. Located at Inverbervie, Aberdeenshire
-Is a McVities’ Jaffa Cake a cake or a biscuit? Find out here
Scotland on Screen films
Ministry of Food Flashes (clip 2)
The importance of food during war Courtesy of the Imperial War Museum
Ministry of Food Flashes (clip 3)
Public information films about how to feed the nation and help the war effort.
Courtesy of the Imperial War Museum