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John Love

b. 1930 | British Army

John Love was born in Carmarthenshire. Conscripted into the British Army’s Welsh Regiment at the age of 17 he was first posted to the London Docklands. After the regiment were moved to Germany John found himself guarding Rudolf Hess at Spandau Prison.

Summary

John Love was born and grew up in Carmarthenshire in the decade before the Second World War; Leaving school in 1944 at the age of 14yrs he worked in a Butcher’s shop before being conscripted into the British Army in 1947. As a member of the Welsh Regiment he was posted on a temporary basis to the London Docklands to off-load supplies from Cargo ships during the Dockyard strike of 1947. The Regiment was then posted to Germany where John found himself in the very unusual position of guarding Rudolf Hess, in Spandau Prison located on the outskirts of Berlin. This was not long after Hitler’ deputy had been sentenced to imprisonment in the Nuremburg Trials.  John elected to remain in Germany after his period of conscription had ended, joining the Welsh Regiment’s Catering Corps, before returning home to civilian working life.  Today John Love lives in retirement in Ammanford.

In his audio recording John describes his childhood in South Wales and service in the British Army shortly after the end of WW2.

Rudolf Hess

Rudolf Walter Richard Hess was a German politician and a leading member of the Nazi Party in Nazi Germany. Appointed Deputy Führer to Adolf Hitler in 1933, Hess served in that position until 1941, when he flew solo to Scotland in an attempt to negotiate peace with the United Kingdom during World War II. Wikipedia

Nuremburg Trials

The Nuremberg trials were a series of military tribunals held after World War II by the Allied forces under international law and the laws of war. The trials were most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, judicial, and economic leadership of Nazi Germany, who planned, carried out, or otherwise participated in the Holocaust and other war crimes. The trials were held in Nuremberg, Germany, and their decisions marked a turning point between classical and contemporary international law. Wikipedia

Early Years

John Love was born in Llangadog in 1930. Having left school at the age of fourteen, John began working in a butcher’s shop and remained there until he was conscripted into the British Army in 1947. Happy to leave his days in the butcher shop behind him, John was attached to the Welsh Regiment and completed his basic training at Dering Lines in Brecon. Upon completion of his training, John was among the troops sent to break the London Dock strike of 1948.

Germany

John was then posted to Spandau Prison in Berlin and was among those guarding the incarcerated former Deputy leader of the Third Reich, Rudolf Hess. Following the Nuremburg trials in 1946, Hess had been sentenced as a prisoner in the Allied controlled Spandau Prison in Berlin. Troops from the United States, France, the UK, and the Soviet Union were supplied as prison guards rotating on a monthly basis and John became one member of the British Army’s contribution to guarding Hess. In fact Hess was to never leave Spandau prison, taking his own life in 1987.

After this period at Spandau, John was then posted to the British camp at Sennelager situated on the outskirts of the city of Paderborn where he joined the Welsh Regiment’s Catering Corps. Having enjoyed this so much, John opted to remain in the Army for an additional year, before being posted back to Wrexham to await demobilisation.

Spandau Prison

Spandau Prison was located in the borough of Spandau in western Berlin. It was originally a military prison, but became a proto-concentration camp under the Nazis. After the war, it held seven top Nazi leaders convicted in the Nuremberg trials. Wikipedia

Germany

Upon leaving the Army, John worked for the Ministry of Agriculture for a short time before settling in a career as a concrete worker.  John then retired and today lives Ammanford.  Unfortunately during a house move many years ago, John’s collection of personal and family photographs which included his time in time in the British Army, were inadvertently thrown away, a loss which John misses to this day.

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