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German POW decided to stay

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behrendt

behrendtA SHANDON prisoner of war during and after World War Two liked the area so much that he decided to stay.

Indeed Ulrich Behrendt — who will soon be 89 and is now in a care home in Cathcart, Glasgow — is probably still remembered by some Garelochside residents.

His daughter, Mrs Karin Grant told his story and allowed the Heritage Trust to copy some of her father’s photos.

Ulrich, born in 1924 in Wittstock in the former East Germany, was captured when he was serving in the German Navy aged about 18 or 19.

He and other prisoners were marched across France and then taken to Nebraska in America, but some months later were brought to England and then Scotland, arriving at the Blairvadach Camp for non-commissioned prisoners, about 1946.

Behrendt-8-wBlairvadach, where the Outdoor Centre now stands, had about 40 Nissen huts. Nearby was the Stuckenduff Camp for officers with over 60 huts, and there was another camp at Whistlefield where the viewpoint now is.

Ulrich may not have known what to expect when he arrived, but Shandon was to play a huge part in his life.

He was at the camp for several years and decided to stay in the area, as he liked it and his parents advised him not to return to East Germany where conditions were not good after the war.

As a prisoner he worked on the Loch Sloy Hydro Electric Scheme construction, on road building in the Rest and Be Thankful area, but principally on Stuckenduff Farm, at that time owned by Bertie Campbell.

Behrendt-4-wA cabinetmaker to trade, he built a hut on the farm, and when he was freed in 1949 he decided to live there. He later built an extension and created a rockery — and the hut is still there today.

He met the Glasgow girl who was to become his wife, Flora Buchanan from Tradeston, when she and her sister paid a visit to Helensburgh, and they were married in 1951.

They made their home in the hut, and Flora commuted to Glasgow where she worked in the Post Office.

Later they moved to Govan, but Ulrich could not find a job as he did not speak good enough English. Behrendt-6-wTo rectify this, he spent days going to the cinemas to learn the language from the movies.

Eventually he got a job with a firm of cabinet-makers in Pollokshields, where he worked for many years.

The couple next moved to a rented flat in Clydebank, where son Erich was born in 1960 and daughter Karin Elsa followed two years later.

As they grew older the family spent every weekend in the Shandon hut where the children loved playing — with the farm then, and now, owned by the Black family. They made use of the hut until 20 years ago.

Karin-Grant-wUlrich and Flora moved to Crookston in 1987, where the couple bought their first home, to be nearer to Karin and her family who live in Paisley.

Flora died at the age of 80 in 2005, and her father is a resident in a care home in Cathcart and will soon be 89.

The Commandant of the camp when Ulrich was there was a Major Cox, and he and his wife had a good relationship with him as they feature in a number of his photos from the period.

Ulrich said: “They were really good to me and very friendly. I remember that they had a young daughter.”

Karin is trying to research her father’s family history and would welcome any help. She and her husband visited Wittstock a couple years ago, and a fellow POW friend of Ulrich is assisting her.

More pictures of the Shandon camps would be welcome, and should be emailed to the This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it of this website.

 

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 30 July 2013 10:15 )  

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David-Bruce-wThe final 2017 Open Meeting will be held at Helensburgh Civic Centre at 7.30pm on November 29. David Bruce will talk about the forger and photographer Greatrex. All most welcome.

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