Nostalgia: Cold comfort offered during barracks stay

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Plans to close both the city’s army barracks, at Dreghorn and Redford, and the headquarters site at Craigiehall were announced by then Defence Secretary Liam Fox in July last year.

For Henry Niven, 83, a former marine engineer from Polwarth, the military facility at Redford brings back memories of always being cold.

“I was in the Cameron Highlanders in the Highland Infantry training battalion during 1946 and 1947,” he recalls. “I was in the Redford Cavalry barracks. It was cold because it was winter time.

“We were destined to go out to Palestine and we were sent on embarkation leave over the New Year. When we came back it was the very severe winter of 1947 and we spent a lot of time digging snow off the railways on the Bathgate line and the North Berwick line. It was a very cold winter, and miserable.”

However, Mr Niven said his time in the army had some perks.

“At Christmas, those who were in Barracks were waited on by the officers. They woke you up with a cup of tea in bed and waited on you during Christmas dinner. It was a jolly good dinner.”