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Recollections

Sighthill

 

 Recollections

1.

Malcolm Robertson
Sighthill, Edinburgh

-   Found under floorboards

-   Where is George now?

2.

Margaret Chorney
(
née Oliver)
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

-   Parkhead Avenue

-   Recollections

2.

Reply

Dorothy Archbold
(
née Brown)
Chester le Street, County Durham, England

-   Parkhead Avenue

3.

Lilian Young
Hamilton Square, New Jersey, USA

-  Prefabs

-  Shops

-  Murrayburn School

-  Where is George now?

-  Families

-  Nissan Huts

-  Church

-  Play

-  Union Canal

-  Tomatoes

4.

Craig A Benner
Ephrata, Pennsylvania, USA

-  POW Camps

-  America and Europe

-  Edinburgh Camp 123

-  Dalmahoy and Mortonhall

-  Kirknewton

-  Sighthill

5.

James Preston

-  Sighthill POW Camp

6.

James Preston

-  Sighthill POW Camp

-  Our Home

-  Inside

-  Communal Spirit

-  My Father

-  Leaving Sighthill

7.

James Preston
Billingham, Cleveland, England

-  Sighthill POW Camp

8.

Elizabeth McArdle
Baberton Mains. Edinburgh

-  Sighthill POW Camp

9.

Ian Murdoch
Longview, Texas, USA

-  Betty Souness

-  School

-  Emigration

10.

Ian Thomson
New South Wales, Australia

Betty Souness and Gus Lamb

-  Football on board the Ship

11.

Ian Murdoch
Longview, Texas, USA

PoW Camp

-  Indians then Germans

-  After the Germans

12.

George Shipley
Edinburgh

-  Former PoW Camp

-  School

-  Friends

-  Gogarburn Farm

-  Gogar Burn

-  Potatos

-  Christmas

-  Memories

13.

Norma Allen
Edinburgh

-  Poetry

-  'Recollections from my Childhood'

 

 Recollections

1.

Malcolm Robertson

Thank you to Malcolm Robetson who wrote:

Found under the Floor Boards

"I have been doing a bit of DIY in my house in Sighthill and under my floor boards I have found a wallet with lots paperwork in it dating from 1964.

The wallet belonged to a man called George Laird from the Gracemount area.  Within the wallet -there were:

-  A membership card for the PLACE JAZZ CLUB.

Some love letters from a woman called Sandra

-   Photos and negatives of different people and of  1960s cars.  My dad thinks the photos were taken down at Portobello."

Where is George Now?

"I would just like to know if anyone knows of or remembers this George Laird.  I don't really know very much about the 1960s, as I was born in 1979, but it has been great finding out about that era.

I'd just like to give these memories back to George, whoever or wherever he may be.  He was an aerial rigger for Maitland Radio, Gayfield Place and his address was 50/11 Gracemount Drive.  He should only be in his 60s now, as on the paperwork it says he was 19 in 1964.

Maybe we'll find George, and maybe even Sandra."

Malcolm Robertson, Sighthill, Edinburgh:  November 13, 2011

Reply to Malcolm

If you have known George Laird, or have any idea where he might be now, please email me, then I'll pass on your message to Malcolm Robertson.

Thank you .

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  November 13, 2011

 

 Recollections

2.

Margaret Chorney (née Oliver)

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Thank you to Margaret for posting a message in the EdinPhoto guestbook.

Margaret wrote

Parkhead Avenue

"I was a former resident of Parkhead Avenue, Sighthill.   Families that I recall are:

Fraser

Mason

-  Hadley

Sinclair

Groat

Cameron

Tertaglia

Souness

Kempsel

and not forgetting the Major and his beautiful flower garden."

Recollections

"My recollections are:

-  attending Murrayburn school and Leith Academy.

the air raid shelter and the black blinds.

- Gogarburn tomatoes.

mothers exchanging rations.

-  gypsies that arrived in Sighthill in the summer.

-  playing conkers.

-  the Silver Wing, a pub in Calder Road.

-  the fish and chip shop up at the store.

-  the Prisoner of War jail.

-  Portobello wave pool.

-  the baths in the high street.

-  a tour of the docked German submarine.

-  Stonefield hill

Penicuik

- Old Howgate inn and sweet shop.  My Granddad took me there on his motor bike) and I would purchase black striped balls.

-  the Mickey Mouse club. I still have my membership card

- the Waverly Laundry owned by Mr Shannon where family members were employed.

Reids buildings, home of my grandparents,

-  the tannery,

-  the burn and canal where I caught beardies and tadpoles.

All are precious memories."

Margaret Chorney (née Oliver):  Message posted in EdinPhoto guestbook:  May 2, 2012

 

 Recollections

2.

Reply

1.

Dorothy Archbold (née Brown)

Thank you to Dorothy Archbold for replying to Margaret Chorney's message above.

Dorothy wrote:

Parkhead Avenue

"Margaret:

I loved reading your memories of Parkhead Ave.  Memories of The major's garden and the flowers still remain with me. He was very kind to our family after my father died.

I am sure you lived in the same block as my family.  We moved to England in 1957. I have a brother called Kenneth Brown."

Dorothy Archbold (née Brown):  November 26, 2014

Message for Margaret Chorney

Dorothy was hoping that I might be able to deliver her message above to you, but unfortunately, I don't know your email address. because your Recollections 2 above were left in the EdinPhoto GuestBook rather than sent to me by email.

I hope you read Margaret's message above.  If you do, can you please email me, then I'll know your email address and will be able to pass it on to Dorothy.

Thank you.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  December 19, 2014

 

 Recollections

3.

Lilian Young

Hamilton Square, New Jersey, USA

Thank you to Lilian Young, Hamilton Square, New Jersey, USA, who wrote:

Prefabs

"My Mom, brother and I were some of the first people to move into the prefabs on Calder Road, Sighthill.  At that time there were two models of house available:

-   prefabs, which were single story homes

2 story wooden houses which were dubbed the Swedish houses.

Shops

"When we move in, there were  no stores in the immediate area, so we had to walk or take a bus to the strip of shops in Sighthill by the Silver Wing Roadhouse.

Later, a man by the name of Grieve brought groceries to a parking area and everyone went there, waited outside, rain or shine, and went into the van to get groceries.

This continued until a small shopping center was built in the middle of the prefabs.  Mr. Grieve had his shop there, and I also recall a wonderful bakery."

Murrayburn School

"I attended Murrayburn School for a while.  My wonderful teacher was a Miss Grant. She and her friend, Miss Brown, were possibly in their 30s, but we felt they were old.

Our sewing teacher was an older lady by the name of McGonagall.  She eventually left to get married.  We felt she was a bit long in the tooth to be a bride.  Another teacher was Mr. Lawson who usually dressed in black and rode his bicycle to and from school, rain or shine."

Families

"Families around us were:

-  the McBurnies

-  the Mackinnons

-  the Gordons.

Nissan Huts

"Just outside of our area we had a German Prisoner of War camp with Nissan huts for their lodgings.

At some point, we were informed that if we wanted they could come and help with gardening.   At first, everyone was hesitant, but later their help was accepted.

Once the prisoners left, the Nissan huts were turned into houses for families waiting for corporation houses."

Church

"A group got together to gather money for a church to be built on Calder Road.  At first, it was just a Nissan hut, but later the money collected was used to build St. Nicholas' Church - the children's church.  But, when I came home on a visit in 2006, not only could I not find out where our prefab had been located, I could not find this church.

Play

"Across Calder Road, there were fields where we played.  Often,  a carnival came and we wondered at the rides and the caravans.

 I think some type of government office has replaced this field which was covered in poppies and daisies and Michaelmass daisies in season.

Union Canal

"Another favorite place for us to play was on the banks of the Union canal.  My brother used to fish for tadpoles and minnows there.

We were always warned not to go into the water as the weeds were so thick, it would be difficult to get out.  Then, when a child did drown there, we were forbidden to go there."

Tomatoes

"We also went to Gogarburn to get tomatoes.  We walked for what seemed to be miles to wait in line to get possibly one pound of tomatoes, then walked home to have a sandwich on wonderful bread that we got from either the Dumfriesshire Dairy store or St. Cuthberts store  -  yummy.

Lilian Young, Hamilton Square, New Jersey, USA:  May 22, 2012

 

 Recollections

4.

Craig A Benner

Ephrata, Pennsylvania, USA

Craig A Benner wrote:

POW Camps

America and Europe

"I've been transcribing, translating and researching the diary of a German POW (he was in the Luftwaffe but not a pilot) by the name of Gerhard Paul who was a POW in America for a while before going over to a POW camp in Vilvoorde, Belgium and then on to the UK, where he spend most of his time around Edinburgh.  Unfortunately his diary ends when he leaves the US on March 10, 1946.

However the listings I have are as follows:"

Edinburgh  -  Camp 123**

 ** or possibly 143 - The writing is hard to read

Dalmahoy and Mortonhall

"On August 20-21, 1946 the German POW was at:

-   Dalmahoy Camp 123**

-  Hostel (or was it Hotel?), Sighthill, THEN

-  Dalmahoy Camp 123** but this time in Mortonhall.

He stayed there until 1948."

Kirknewton

"I also found that there was a Dalmahoy 123 POW camp at Kirknewton, near Edinburgh."

Sighthill

Several people on the EdinPhoto website reminisce about the Nissan huts at Calder Road, near the pre-fab development.  I find it hard to tell exactly where this was.

Does anyone have any further information about this camp in Sighthill?   I am mostly just curious to know more about it.."

Craig A Benner, Ephrata, Pennsylvania, USA:  July 8, 2013

Reply to Craig

If you know anything about the POW camp at Sighthill,  and would like to send a message to Craig about it, please email me, then I'll pass on his email address to you.

Thank you.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  July 14, 2013

 

 Recollections

5.

James Preston

Billingham, Cleveland, England

Thank you to James Preston for responding to the question from Craig A Benner in Recollections 4 above about the POW Camp at Sighthill.

James lived for 3 and a half years at Sighthill Camp, before moving to Broomhouse, then moving down to England.

Sighthill POW Camp

"I've just been browsing this page and thought I would look for any info on Sighthill camp.

Our family lived there for about 3 and a half years, from when I was aged 7 until 11 years old, as is was a interim camp for the homeless.

The camp was opposite the prefab housing scheme.   As far as I know, it was a POW camp for Italian prisoners, we lived there for about three and a half years.

The camp was a mix of Nissan huts and wooden huts.

There does not seem to be very much in the way of photos to be found.  The only one I have seen was, I think, on the Edinburgh Evening News web site.

James Preston, Billingham, Cleveland, England:  July 15, 2013

 

 Recollections

6.

James Preston

Billingham, Cleveland, England

Thank you to James Preston for responding to the question from Craig A Benner in Recollections 4 above about the POW Camp at Sighthill.

James lived for 3 and a half years at Sighthill Camp, before moving to Broomhouse, then moving down to England.

Sighthill POW Camp

Our Home

"I remember the first day of going to Sighthill POW Camp with my Mother and my sister Joyce. 

Accompanied by my Grandmother we walked down a wide path.  On the left was a large Nissan hut which was converted into a general dealer's shop.

We walked-   by the side of the shop, turned right between two lines of huts, and went down to the end hut on the right which was to be our home.

Inside

"We went inside.

- There was a cast iron fire on a brick base.  There was a steel chimney which came out the top of the fire through the roof.  It was completely exposed - no protection around it.

-  The living area, as far as I remember, was about 20ftx15ft with a partition which acted as a bedroom. 

-  There was no bathroom or toilet in the huts.  Everyone was issued with a key for their own toilet in a communal block.

-  Directly in front of our hut was the communal laundry .

-  The cooking facility in the hut was basic, on a 2 ring gas stove.  There was no oven or hot water.

-  There was no insulation in the hut and in the cold winter months could be quite cold. 

-  The windows were frosted glass with wire mesh inset.

-  The walls of the hut were only about 12mm thick and the fire was the only heat source."

Communal Spirit

"It may come over as a rather bleak place, but it really was not as everyone was in the same boat.

Although there was not a lot of money, they still had a good communal spirit with parties at Christmas in one of the Nissan huts which was used as a Community Centre.

As I remember, I think the number of huts on the site would have been about eighty.  The warden was Busty Bowden."

My Father

"My father was diagnosed with TB in both lungs and was very ill.  He was going to be sent to Switzerland but he didn't want to go. 

My mother said she would take care of him, which she did, and after about three years he was given the 'all clear'.

That was the turning point for our family.  My little brother, Stewart, was born in the camp and my dad went back to his trade as a joiner."

Leaving Sighthill

"We then moved to Broomhouse Court and Joyce and I went to Wester Hailes school. then went on to Carrick Vale.

Then, we eventually moved to England, to Billingham, and in later years my mother, father sister and brother emigrated to South Africa.

 I married my wife Margaret and we still live in Billingham."

James Preston, Billingham, Cleveland, England:  July 22, 2013

 

 Recollections

7.

James Preston

Billingham, Cleveland, England

Christmas Party

Thank you to James Preston who wrote Recollections 6 above, for also sending me a this photo of photograph of the 1950 Christmas Party held at the former POW Camp at Sighthill:

Christmas Party, 1950 at the former Prisoner of War Camp, Sighthill ©

 Please click on the photo to enlarge it.

Acknowledgement:  James Preston, Billingham, Cleveland, England:  July 22 + August 15, 2013

 

 Recollections

8.

Elizabeth McArdle

Baberton Mains. Edinburgh

Thank you to Elizabeth for sending a response to Craig A Benner's Recollections 4 above.  (I've now sent an email to Craig to let him know about Elizabeth's comments below.)

Elizabeth wrote

POW Camp

"I lived as a small child in the Prisoner of  War camp at Sighthill after my father left the army, while we waited for housing.   Our address was 24 Sighthill Camp.  I have lots of memories of our time there.

The buildings at Sighthill Cap were not Nissan huts, which were a semi- circular buildings with corrugated roofs. (I lived in one at Granton.)

 They were, in fact, wooden huts. The first one we were in had two bedrooms and one living area, but no doors. They were quite cosy. The laundry and toilet facilities were further down the camp and cooking was on gas rings which sat on top of a cupboard.

We had no water in the hut. I went to Wester Hailes school which was near the now Calder Glen Nursery.

The Penny Church

"I also went to Sunday School in a wooden hut, taking a penny for the collection and a penny for the new church, which became St Nicolas church.  It was known, when it was built, as the penny church."

Elizabeth McArdle, Baberton Mains, Edinburgh:  February 12, 2014

 

 Recollections

9.

Ian Murdoch

Longview, Texas USA

Thank you to Ian Murdoch who wrote

Betty Souness

"I've been looking for Betty Souness whom I grew up with in Sighthill"

-  I too went to Murrayburn but a year or so behind Betty

-  Gus Lamb lived on the same street as me and was a friend.

-  His brother Billy was my Brother Duncan’s best friend.

-  We lived in Sighthill Street."

School

"Carrickvale School had been originally Saughton School  Because of Saughton Prison being nearby, Carrickvale School became known as Carrickjail."

Emigration

"After leaving school, I emigrated to Canada, then on to the US in 1960 where I have been since.  I now live in Longville, Texas, where I was General Manager having had this fantastic Scottish technical education."

Ian Murdoch, Longville, Texas USA:  7 February, 2014

Reply to Ian

If you'd like to send a reply to Ian, please email me to let me know, then I'll pass on  his email address to you.

Ian Murdoch, Longview, Texas USA:  7 February, 2014

 

 Recollections

10.

Ian Thomson

Lake Maquarie, New South Wales, Australia

Thank you to Ian Thomson who read Ian Murdoch's 'Recollections 9' above, then replied:

Betty Souness and Gus Lamb

"Betty and Gus (mentioned by Ian Murdoch above) were both in my class at Murrayburn School.  They can be spotted in the class picture below that I sent to the EdinPhoto site a few years ago:

There there were a lot of Carrick Knowe classmates travelling by bus during the war years"

Murrayburn Primary School, Sighthill  -  Around 1944

Pupils in the Photo

 Please click here to see a key to the pupils in this photo.

Betty Souness is 6th from left on the front row.
Gus Lamb is 7th from left on the back row.

Murrayburn Primary School, Sighthill  -  School Class,  around 1944

© Reproduced with acknowledgement Ian Thomson, Lake Maquarie , New South Wales, Australia

Ian added:

Football on board the Ship

"On a trip by ship back to the old country, I met George Scott ex-Murrayburn.  I wonder what's  happened to him now.  He played football in Aussie,

We ran out of balls in the Indian Ocean,  all going over the side.  We had to stock up in Durban."

Ian Thomson, Lake Maquarie, New South Wales, Australia:  February xx, 2015

 

Recollections

Sighthill

 

 Recollections

1.

Malcolm Robertson
Sighthill, Edinburgh

-   Found under floorboards

-   Where is George now?

2.

Margaret Chorney
(
née Oliver)
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

-   Parkhead Avenue

-   Recollections

2.

Reply

Dorothy Archbold
(née Brown)
Chester le Street, County Durham, England

-   Parkhead Avenue

3.

Lilian Young
Hamilton Square, New Jersey, USA

-  Prefabs

-  Shops

-  Murrayburn School

-  Where is George now?

-  Families

-  Nissan Huts

-  Church

-  Play

-  Union Canal

-  Tomatoes

4.

Craig A Benner
Ephrata, Pennsylvania, USA

-  POW Camps

-  America and Europe

-  Edinburgh Camp 123

-  Dalmahoy and Mortonhall

-  Kirknewton

-  Sighthill

5.

James Preston

-  Sighthill POW Camp

6.

James Preston

-  Sighthill POW Camp

-  Our Home

-  Inside

-  Communal Spirit

-  My Father

-  Leaving Sighthill

7.

James Preston
Billingham, Cleveland, England

-  Sighthill POW Camp

8.

Elizabeth McArdle
Baberton Mains. Edinburgh

-  Sighthill POW Camp

9.

Ian Murdoch
Longview, Texas, USA

-  Betty Souness

-  School

-  Emigration

10.

Ian Thomson
New South Wales, Australia

Betty Souness and Gus Lamb

-  Football on board the Ship

11.

Ian Murdoch
Longview, Texas, USA

-  POW Camps

-  America and Europe

-  Edinburgh Camp 123

-  Dalmahoy and Mortonhall

-  Kirknewton

-  Sighthill

 

 Recollections

1.

Malcolm Robertson

Thank you to Malcolm Robetson who wrote:

Found under the Floor Boards

"I have been doing a bit of DIY in my house in Sighthill and under my floor boards I have found a wallet with lots paperwork in it dating from 1964.

The wallet belonged to a man called George Laird from the Gracemount area.  Within the wallet -there were:

-  A membership card for the PLACE JAZZ CLUB.

Some love letters from a woman called Sandra

-   Photos and negatives of different people and of  1960s cars.  My dad thinks the photos were taken down at Portobello."

Where is George Now?

"I would just like to know if anyone knows of or remembers this George Laird.  I don't really know very much about the 1960s, as I was born in 1979, but it has been great finding out about that era.

I'd just like to give these memories back to George, whoever or wherever he may be.  He was an aerial rigger for Maitland Radio, Gayfield Place and his address was 50/11 Gracemount Drive.  He should only be in his 60s now, as on the paperwork it says he was 19 in 1964.

Maybe we'll find George, and maybe even Sandra."

Malcolm Robertson, Sighthill, Edinburgh:  November 13, 2011

Reply to Malcolm

If you have known George Laird, or have any idea where he might be now, please email me, then I'll pass on your message to Malcolm Robertson.

Thank you .

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  November 13, 2011

 

 Recollections

2.

Margaret Chorney (née Oliver)

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Thank you to Margaret for posting a message in the EdinPhoto guestbook.

Margaret wrote

Parkhead Avenue

"I was a former resident of Parkhead Avenue, Sighthill.   Families that I recall are:

Fraser

Mason

-  Hadley

Sinclair

Groat

Cameron

Tertaglia

Souness

Kempsel

and not forgetting the Major and his beautiful flower garden."

Recollections

"My recollections are:

-  attending Murrayburn school and Leith Academy.

the air raid shelter and the black blinds.

- Gogarburn tomatoes.

mothers exchanging rations.

-  gypsies that arrived in Sighthill in the summer.

-  playing conkers.

-  the Silver Wing, a pub in Calder Road.

-  the fish and chip shop up at the store.

-  the Prisoner of War jail.

-  Portobello wave pool.

-  the baths in the high street.

-  a tour of the docked German submarine.

-  Stonefield hill

Penicuik

- Old Howgate inn and sweet shop.  My Granddad took me there on his motor bike) and I would purchase black striped balls.

-  the Mickey Mouse club. I still have my membership card

- the Waverly Laundry owned by Mr Shannon where family members were employed.

Reids buildings, home of my grandparents,

-  the tannery,

-  the burn and canal where I caught beardies and tadpoles.

All are precious memories."

Margaret Chorney (née Oliver):  Message posted in EdinPhoto guestbook:  May 2, 2012

 

 Recollections

2.

Reply

1.

Dorothy Archbold (née Brown)

Thank you to Dorothy Archbold for replying to Margaret Chorney's message above.

Dorothy wrote:

Parkhead Avenue

"Margaret:

I loved reading your memories of Parkhead Ave.  Memories of The major's garden and the flowers still remain with me. He was very kind to our family after my father died.

I am sure you lived in the same block as my family.  We moved to England in 1957. I have a brother called Kenneth Brown."

Dorothy Archbold (née Brown):  November 26, 2014

Message for Margaret Chorney

Dorothy was hoping that I might be able to deliver her message above to you, but unfortunately, I don't know your email address. because your Recollections 2 above were left in the EdinPhoto GuestBook rather than sent to me by email.

I hope you read Margaret's message above.  If you do, can you please email me, then I'll know your email address and will be able to pass it on to Dorothy.

Thank you.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  December 19, 2014

 

 Recollections

3.

Lilian Young

Hamilton Square, New Jersey, USA

Thank you to Lilian Young, Hamilton Square, New Jersey, USA, who wrote:

Prefabs

"My Mom, brother and I were some of the first people to move into the prefabs on Calder Road, Sighthill.  At that time there were two models of house available:

-   prefabs, which were single story homes

2 story wooden houses which were dubbed the Swedish houses.

Shops

"When we move in, there were  no stores in the immediate area, so we had to walk or take a bus to the strip of shops in Sighthill by the Silver Wing Roadhouse.

Later, a man by the name of Grieve brought groceries to a parking area and everyone went there, waited outside, rain or shine, and went into the van to get groceries.

This continued until a small shopping center was built in the middle of the prefabs.  Mr. Grieve had his shop there, and I also recall a wonderful bakery."

Murrayburn School

"I attended Murrayburn School for a while.  My wonderful teacher was a Miss Grant. She and her friend, Miss Brown, were possibly in their 30s, but we felt they were old.

Our sewing teacher was an older lady by the name of McGonagall.  She eventually left to get married.  We felt she was a bit long in the tooth to be a bride.  Another teacher was Mr. Lawson who usually dressed in black and rode his bicycle to and from school, rain or shine."

Families

"Families around us were:

-  the McBurnies

-  the Mackinnons

-  the Gordons.

Nissan Huts

"Just outside of our area we had a German Prisoner of War camp with Nissan huts for their lodgings.

At some point, we were informed that if we wanted they could come and help with gardening.   At first, everyone was hesitant, but later their help was accepted.

Once the prisoners left, the Nissan huts were turned into houses for families waiting for corporation houses."

Church

"A group got together to gather money for a church to be built on Calder Road.  At first, it was just a Nissan hut, but later the money collected was used to build St. Nicholas' Church - the children's church.  But, when I came home on a visit in 2006, not only could I not find out where our prefab had been located, I could not find this church.

Play

"Across Calder Road, there were fields where we played.  Often,  a carnival came and we wondered at the rides and the caravans.

 I think some type of government office has replaced this field which was covered in poppies and daisies and Michaelmass daisies in season.

Union Canal

"Another favorite place for us to play was on the banks of the Union canal.  My brother used to fish for tadpoles and minnows there.

We were always warned not to go into the water as the weeds were so thick, it would be difficult to get out.  Then, when a child did drown there, we were forbidden to go there."

Tomatoes

"We also went to Gogarburn to get tomatoes.  We walked for what seemed to be miles to wait in line to get possibly one pound of tomatoes, then walked home to have a sandwich on wonderful bread that we got from either the Dumfriesshire Dairy store or St. Cuthberts store  -  yummy.

Lilian Young, Hamilton Square, New Jersey, USA:  May 22, 2012

 

 Recollections

4.

Craig A Benner

Ephrata, Pennsylvania, USA

Craig A Benner wrote:

POW Camps

America and Europe

"I've been transcribing, translating and researching the diary of a German POW (he was in the Luftwaffe but not a pilot) by the name of Gerhard Paul who was a POW in America for a while before going over to a POW camp in Vilvoorde, Belgium and then on to the UK, where he spend most of his time around Edinburgh.  Unfortunately his diary ends when he leaves the US on March 10, 1946.

However the listings I have are as follows:"

Edinburgh  -  Camp 123**

 ** or possibly 143 - The writing is hard to read

Dalmahoy and Mortonhall

"On August 20-21, 1946 the German POW was at:

-   Dalmahoy Camp 123**

-  Hostel (or was it Hotel?), Sighthill, THEN

-  Dalmahoy Camp 123** but this time in Mortonhall.

He stayed there until 1948."

Kirknewton

"I also found that there was a Dalmahoy 123 POW camp at Kirknewton, near Edinburgh."

Sighthill

Several people on the EdinPhoto website reminisce about the Nissan huts at Calder Road, near the pre-fab development.  I find it hard to tell exactly where this was.

Does anyone have any further information about this camp in Sighthill?   I am mostly just curious to know more about it.."

Craig A Benner, Ephrata, Pennsylvania, USA:  July 8, 2013

Reply to Craig

If you know anything about the POW camp at Sighthill,  and would like to send a message to Craig about it, please email me, then I'll pass on his email address to you.

Thank you.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  July 14, 2013

 

 Recollections

5.

James Preston

Billingham, Cleveland, England

Thank you to James Preston for responding to the question from Craig A Benner in Recollections 4 above about the POW Camp at Sighthill.

James lived for 3 and a half years at Sighthill Camp, before moving to Broomhouse, then moving down to England.

Sighthill POW Camp

"I've just been browsing this page and thought I would look for any info on Sighthill camp.

Our family lived there for about 3 and a half years, from when I was aged 7 until 11 years old, as is was a interim camp for the homeless.

The camp was opposite the prefab housing scheme.   As far as I know, it was a POW camp for Italian prisoners, we lived there for about three and a half years.

The camp was a mix of Nissan huts and wooden huts.

There does not seem to be very much in the way of photos to be found.  The only one I have seen was, I think, on the Edinburgh Evening News web site.

James Preston, Billingham, Cleveland, England:  July 15, 2013

 

 Recollections

6.

James Preston

Billingham, Cleveland, England

Thank you to James Preston for responding to the question from Craig A Benner in Recollections 4 above about the POW Camp at Sighthill.

James lived for 3 and a half years at Sighthill Camp, before moving to Broomhouse, then moving down to England.

Sighthill POW Camp

Our Home

"I remember the first day of going to Sighthill POW Camp with my Mother and my sister Joyce. 

Accompanied by my Grandmother we walked down a wide path.  On the left was a large Nissan hut which was converted into a general dealer's shop.

We walked-   by the side of the shop, turned right between two lines of huts, and went down to the end hut on the right which was to be our home.

Inside

"We went inside.

- There was a cast iron fire on a brick base.  There was a steel chimney which came out the top of the fire through the roof.  It was completely exposed - no protection around it.

-  The living area, as far as I remember, was about 20ftx15ft with a partition which acted as a bedroom. 

-  There was no bathroom or toilet in the huts.  Everyone was issued with a key for their own toilet in a communal block.

-  Directly in front of our hut was the communal laundry .

-  The cooking facility in the hut was basic, on a 2 ring gas stove.  There was no oven or hot water.

-  There was no insulation in the hut and in the cold winter months could be quite cold. 

-  The windows were frosted glass with wire mesh inset.

-  The walls of the hut were only about 12mm thick and the fire was the only heat source."

Communal Spirit

"It may come over as a rather bleak place, but it really was not as everyone was in the same boat.

Although there was not a lot of money, they still had a good communal spirit with parties at Christmas in one of the Nissan huts which was used as a Community Centre.

As I remember, I think the number of huts on the site would have been about eighty.  The warden was Busty Bowden."

My Father

"My father was diagnosed with TB in both lungs and was very ill.  He was going to be sent to Switzerland but he didn't want to go. 

My mother said she would take care of him, which she did, and after about three years he was given the 'all clear'.

That was the turning point for our family.  My little brother, Stewart, was born in the camp and my dad went back to his trade as a joiner."

Leaving Sighthill

"We then moved to Broomhouse Court and Joyce and I went to Wester Hailes school. then went on to Carrick Vale.

Then, we eventually moved to England, to Billingham, and in later years my mother, father sister and brother emigrated to South Africa.

 I married my wife Margaret and we still live in Billingham."

James Preston, Billingham, Cleveland, England:  July 22, 2013

 

 Recollections

7.

James Preston

Billingham, Cleveland, England

Christmas Party

Thank you to James Preston who wrote Recollections 6 above, for also sending me a this photo of photograph of the 1950 Christmas Party held at the former POW Camp at Sighthill:

Christmas Party, 1950 at the former Prisoner of War Camp, Sighthill ©

 Please click on the photo to enlarge it.

Acknowledgement:  James Preston, Billingham, Cleveland, England:  July 22 + August 15, 2013

 

 Recollections

8.

Elizabeth McArdle

Baberton Mains. Edinburgh

Thank you to Elizabeth for sending a response to Craig A Benner's Recollections 4 above.  (I've now sent an email to Craig to let him know about Elizabeth's comments below.)

Elizabeth wrote

POW Camp

"I lived as a small child in the Prisoner of  War camp at Sighthill after my father left the army, while we waited for housing.   Our address was 24 Sighthill Camp.  I have lots of memories of our time there.

The buildings at Sighthill Cap were not Nissan huts, which were a semi- circular buildings with corrugated roofs. (I lived in one at Granton.)

 They were, in fact, wooden huts. The first one we were in had two bedrooms and one living area, but no doors. They were quite cosy. The laundry and toilet facilities were further down the camp and cooking was on gas rings which sat on top of a cupboard.

We had no water in the hut. I went to Wester Hailes school which was near the now Calder Glen Nursery.

The Penny Church

"I also went to Sunday School in a wooden hut, taking a penny for the collection and a penny for the new church, which became St Nicolas church.  It was known, when it was built, as the penny church."

Elizabeth McArdle, Baberton Mains, Edinburgh:  February 12, 2014

 

 Recollections

11.

Ian Murdoch

Longview, Texas USA

Thank you to Ian Murdoch for writing again, this time with his memories of the PoW Camp at Sighthill, mentioned by Craig A Benner in his Recollections 4 above.

Ian wrote:

PoW Camp

Italians then Germans

"The first prisoners at the Sighthill PoW Camp were Italians, many of whom stayed at the end of the war, some of whom worked the farms.

Then came the Germans.  I am sure they were all repatriated to Germany at the end of the war. "

After the Germans

"I used to deliver newspapers, morning and night, and the pink and green sports pages on Saturdays, to the people who moved into the huts after the Germans left.

The van where I and others worked our paper routes from, was on a corner just along the Calder Road.  The name of the lady owner was Margaret.

Ian Murdoch, Longville, Texas USA:  7 February, 2014

 

 Recollections

12.

George Shipley

Edinburgh

Thank you to George Shipley for writing again, this time with his memories of the PoW Camp at Sighthill, mentioned by Craig A Benner in his Recollections 4 above.

George wrote:

Former PoW Camp

"We came from the 'Poor House' at the Edinburgh hospital in Glenlockhart, but that's another story.

I lived at the camp with:

-   my stepfather, Kenneth Drinkwater, a carpenter who worked for the Orlit company just down the fields

-   my mum Selena Drinkwater

-   my two sisters and a brother

for possibly 4 years, 1947 to 1951.

Sighthill camp was where the Burton's Biscuit Factory now stands."

Edinburgh at Work  -  Flour from Chancelot Mill being delivered to Burton's Biscuits ©

School

"I went to Wester Hailes Primary school, then on to Carrickvale Secondary, and then we all emigrated to Australia.  (However, I returned to Edinburgh twenty-five years ago.)"

Friends

Times were hard then, but as everybody can remember, we had good times as kids.  I remember

-  the Crawford family.  They lived in the wooden huts at the bottom of the park. I think they has 6 children, all girls.

-  Peter Crane.  He was the 'boss' of our 'gang'.

-   Ian Harris, also in the gang.

-  Another boy.  He was 'well to do', but I don't know his name.  He got the new comics when they came out.  But I  was good at marbles then, and managed to 'win' most of his comics from him. I wish I'd saved all the 'new' comics now."

Gogarburn Farm

"I also remember going to Gogarburn for tomatoes.  I was given the job, each Saturday, of walking to the farm for a collection of maybe eight orders of one pound bags for other residents.

However, I was under instructions to take the smallest tomato from each bag, and we would have our own bag of tomatoes.  If you remember me from then ........ Sorry !!!"

Gogar Burn

"Gogar Burn, itself, was the adventure place to go to.  We would be there from daylight to dusk, swimming, playing, and climbing walls to 'scrump' apples.

Two miles away, 9 years old, 10 hours away from home, and having a ball. Sadly, that doesn't happen nowadays."

Potatos

"The potato farmers around us only dug to a certain depth when harvesting, and we were given permission to dig lower than that to harvest the potatoes that they missed.   It was also 'accepted' that turnips in adjoining fields would go missing. Staple diets then!

Christmas

    Christmas Party, 1950 at the former Prisoner of War Camp, Sighthill ©

"I reflected with interest on the Christmas photo 1950. I am probably in that one, but couldn't pick out myself or my family."

Memories

"I really don't think it was 'good times' for my parents, but for us kids, every day was an adventure."

George Shipley, Edinburgh:  6 September 2015 (3 emails)

 

 Recollections

13.

Norma Allan

Edinburgh

Thank you to Norma Allan who wrote

My Poetry Book

Recollections from My Childhood

 The Post-war Years by Norma Allan.

"I recently published a book of poems, based on my childhood memories of post-war Edinburgh, growing up at Sighthill, and attending Murrayburn Primary School  then Gillespie's school. 

My book launch at the National Library of Scotland in June 2016 was a great success.  Blackwell's book shop has a few copies of the book (£10) and I'm waiting to hear from a few other book shops.

Below is a copy of the note on the back page of the book."

Recollections from My Childhood

 The Post-war Years by Norma Allan.

Ration books      11-plus      street games      sweetie jars

coal fires      larders      Tommy Steele     two balls      black ranges

milk rounds      conkers      handstands      gym slips      French cricket

Raleigh bikes      humbugs      Pat Boone      Saturday flicks

Girls Crystal      SMTs      roller-skating      girl guides      the belt

Within these pages, you will be taken down memory lane in post-war Edinburgh, a world very different from today.

It was a time of food shortages, rationing, 11-plus exams, qualy parties, Band of Hope, Beano and Dandy, teddy boys, paddle steamers, penny chews, sherbet, school milk and the belt

The poems are sure to trigger memories for the older generations and perhaps provide a glimpse into the past for the youth of today.

Teddy boys      headstands      Bill Haley      funfairs

leap frog      beetle-crushers      Brylcream      Pontefract cakes

Norma Allan, Edinburgh:  23 Feb + 8 Sep + 9 Sep, 2016

 

Recollections  -  More Pages

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