KOSB Edinburgh Waverley to Berlin – Spandau Prison & Rudolf Hess

The KOSB “ Kings Own Scottish Borderer’s” as we were known travelled from the Waverley Station Edinburgh to Berlin. It was in the early sixties most of us were a bit unhappy about the trip and most of us didn’t want to go to the German capital, but we had to do as we were told a posting is a posting. I travelled to the Waverley from Delta Crescent by myself, it is what families did in those days. Mum couldn’t take me, Edwin & John were unable to through work commitments and of course my little sister would be oblivious about what was going on.

The Battalion boarded the Train at the Waverley, once a head count had been done we left for Berlin, it was a funny old kind of trip there were lots of booze, most of which had been brought on the train personally. It wasn’t long after leaving Edinburgh that we slipped past the Wimpies Delta Crescent Musselburgh our council house. I knew where we were because there was a concrete wall that I couldn’t mistake or see but it was very familiar to me, that  was approximately six miles from Edinburgh.

The train made it’s way down south eventually crossing the English Channel, once across the channel we boarded another train in France and headed towards Berlin. We were meandering through the countryside. We saw a lot of the Russians once we were on the other train, they looked a pretty daunting crowd every time we stopped the Russians were there, in our face it was as though they didn’t trust who was on this train. The officers from our battalion had ordered us to keep the curtain closed in our carriages, but typically we used to open them just to sneak a look at the Russians. Every time we would peep out they were there, they were checking the train out at every stop checking out that we were, who we had said we were, like it was a military manoeuvre, rifles were always at the ready.

It was a long journey and it had taken about three days in total, a mesmerising experience indeed. If we were naive at the time then this train journey and the intimidating Russians soon made us very aware of what was to lie ahead.

23807558 Private White and my new National Service mates were involved in what was the remains of the Second World War better known as the (cold war). Several months into our stay in Berlin, we were to stand guard at the infamous Spandau Prison.

Rudolf Hess of all people was the sole prisoner, we would swap doing guard with the Russians, one month on and one month off. There were a number of British regiments stationed in Berlin each one taking their turn to stand guard, the KOSBs did there stint. We used to stand guard on the top of this turret parading, two hours on and two hours off.

We saw Rudolf Hess, he was an old man then, quite frail. He was walking about on his own in this little garden type compound we were above him, our thoughts were all about being demobbed and our footballing career… God knows what he was thinking about.


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