The History of Leith

November 23, 2004

The Garden Shed and War

My Late father John Thomson was an L.N.E.R.Goods Inspector in charge of Freight movements at Albert and Commercial Docks Leith (in fairness assisted by one Geordie Grosset)he was in charge of ship to shore military freight during the entire period of WW2. He had many adventures including escaping from a German bomb at Portland Place the day Leith Library was hit in 1941(?)

One of his most interesting and enduring memories was from 1943 onwards when the Yankee liberty ships docked with Military Equipment.Weapons and vehicles were unloaded almost daily for Transhipment by rail and road to depot across Scotland.Then in came the U.S. troops ,mainly colored-they were a Materiel Division their task was to assemble Jeeps Half tracks and uncrate Packard and Pratt & Whitney aero engines for tanks being assembled in the Waverley Market and Marine Gardens.As time went by my father got on well with the troops and was kept in cigars coffee and sugar from the P.X.

Then in the Spring of 1944 the Yanks began to move out in prparation for D. day.Typically they began to smash and burn unwanted stores (Customs Regulations!!) that they were not taking away.This included the shipping crates stacked on the Dockside. My father asked if he might have some of the timber to build a garden shed.Certainly he was toid and the very next day Fraser Grove was wakened by the arrival of a huge Army truck a Seargeant and three soldiers.All to deliver two(!)huge engine crates.The crates were carried in by the men to the back garden.Then out they came with candies for myself and the kids who had turned up to see the spectacle.The Sergeant was giving out his autograph as if he was a film star-He was Grant L Morrow from Tulsa I hope he survived the War.

The garden shed was duly built also a greenhouse for a neighbour (MR Rae) and a rabbit hutch.We no longer live in Edinburgh but one of our older neighbours told me it is still in one piece after 60 years and the Ford stencil is still legible.There was an additional bonus for me a complete toolkit was still in one of the crates,most useful as I was about to start an Engineering apprenticeship with the S.M.T.at Roseburn and I made great use of the A.F spanners of which I still have some for my car and Domestic equipment.

(I hope this is of interest to you I enjoy reading your Articles monthly
Rgards
Ed Thomson

I would like to thank Mr Thomson for sending me this story. I thought it was interesting)

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