Hess and the Eaglesham link

Hitler's deputy, Rudolph Hess, stepped from the wreckage of this plane in Ayrshire on his ill-peace mission.
Hitler's deputy, Rudolph Hess, stepped from the wreckage of this plane in Ayrshire on his ill-peace mission.

Next month sees the anniversary of a momentous event - the date the Deputy Reichsfuhrer of Nazi Germany crash landed near Eaglesham.

Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s deputy and right-hand man was flying over Scotland when the plane he was in came down near the village.

circa 1939:  Adolf Hitler  with his deputy and private secretary, Rudolf Hess  at a Nazi Party meeting.  (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

circa 1939: Adolf Hitler with his deputy and private secretary, Rudolf Hess at a Nazi Party meeting. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

On the night of May 10, 1941, a Scottish farmer named David McLean found a German Messerschmitt airplane ablaze in his field and an airman who identified himself as Captain Alfred Horn.

McLean’s mother was soon serving him a cup of tea by the cottage fireside, but their surprise guest was no ordinary Luftwaffe pilot.

There has been much speculation over the years as to why he was flying over the country. The search for explanations began on the morning after and has roiled on now for 75 years, spawning theories both intriguing (World War II might have ended differently) and bizarre (the man wasn’t Hess at all but a body double.) The truth is likely as interesting as any of the fantasies—but it’s still not entirely certain what happened 75 years ago.

Following his arrest by the local Home Guard he was initially interrogated by Roman Battaglia, a Polish Army intelligence officer at the Eaglesham Scout Hall.

To mark the occasion, John Harris, one of the most prolific writers on the Hess affair will be speaking at the Scout Hall on the evening of Wednesday, May 10. He will be dealing specifically with the following aspects of the affair:

The flight itself and the local connections.

The sequence of events following Hess’s arrest.

The subsequent history

The rationale behind the flight itself.

Harris’s own research and conclusions

He intends to augment his presentation with some genuine wartime German navigational equipment and charts.

John Harris has been researching the affair since the late 1980’s and has written five books on the subject, all of which have been well received. An interesting evening is anticipated.

To register your attendance and for confirmation of timings, contact the Group Chairman, Peter Ritchie, on 0141 638 5205 or email: agroup.chair@giffnockscouts.org.uk.

Entrance is £2 (payable on the door) and includes a cup of tea or coffee. All proceeds to Scout group funds.