IN THE annals of crime in Glasgow the arrest and detention Adolf Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess is unparalleled.

The cells of Giffnock police office on the outskirts of the city had in the past held the usual assortment of drunks, thieves and other petty criminals.

However more than 80 years ago on May 10, 1941, it was host to one of the most powerful and feared Nazis in the world.

The man, who with Adolf Hitler had started the Second World War, and the man who was now trying to end it.

Six hours earlier Hess had been sitting at home in Germany contemplating what would prove to be one of the most bizarre plane journeys ever undertaken.

He left shortly before 6pm that night from the airfield at Augsburg in Bavaria in his specially prepared aircraft.

By around 10pm he had reached the Northumberland coast, near Newcastle.

Glasgow Times:

Hess continued his flight into Scotland at high speed and low altitude, but was unable to spot his final destination, Dungavel House, near Strathaven in South Lanarkshire, the home of the Duke of Hamilton. 

The Duke being a keen airman had his own landing strip and Hess had an incredible message for him from Hitler.

However, the deputy fuhrer was nearly out of fuel and knew that he would have to evacuate the plane before it crashed.

So, he climbed to 6,000ft and parachuted out of the plane around 11pm.

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Shortly before midnight, Hess landed at Floors Farm, by Waterfoot, south of Glasgow, where he was discovered by farm ploughman David McLean. 

David had heard the ominous drone of twin Daimler-Benz engines - followed by the mighty thud of an explosion.

The plane was flying so low that the China ornaments on the mantelpiece in his bedroom trembled at the roar of its engines.

As someone who had spent months listening to RAF planes flying overhead, David knew immediately that the unfamiliar sound he had heard could mean only one thing, the man in the parachute would be German. 

Glasgow Times:

He lived with his mother in their farm cottage and had seen the parachutist after he ejected from the aircraft.

The pilot was already staggering to his feet by the time David got to the nearby field where Hess had landed.

He had injured his right ankle on his exit from the Messerschmitt.

His leather flying suit, handmade fur-lined flying boots, gold watch and air of authority marked him out as much more than a humble captain. 

David picked up a pitchfork and ran towards Hess.

He helped the senior Nazi to his feet and asked him if he was a German.

Hess replied: “Yes, I am hauptmann (captain) Alfred Horn. I have an important message for the Duke of Hamilton. Please take me to him.”

He took Hess to his cottage where he was offered a cup of tea by Mrs McLean. He refused the tea but requested a glass of water.

David handed over Hess to his next-door neighbour Mr Clark, a member of the Home Guard.

In what could have been a scene out of Dad’s Army, Clark turned up wearing a tin hat and carrying a World War One vintage Webley revolver. 

Within a few minutes soldiers, who were stationed nearby, had arrived, as well as members of the Home Guard and local police.

The Messerschmitt was burning brightly in nearby farm fields.

Hess was taken from the cottage and marched by six Home Guards holding fixed bayonets close to his back.

Within hours the district was in lockdown and there was an entire ban on movement in or out of the area.

It would later transpire that the authorities thought the parachutist was part of a bigger German paratrooper invasion.

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The next day, hundreds of cars and people flocked to see the burnt-out plane which was now a heap of scrap. 

However, the biggest invasion was by reporters from across the country who had heard of Hess' capture.

Glasgow Times:

At the time David was quoted as saying: "I was in the house when I heard the plane roaring overhead.

"As I ran out to the back of the farm, I heard a crash, and saw the plane burst into flames in a field about 200 yards away.

"I was amazed and a bit frightened when I saw a parachute dropping slowly earthwards through the gathering darkness.

"Peering upwards I could see a man swinging from the harness.

'I immediately concluded that it was a German airman baling out.”

David added: "I looked round hastily for some weapon but could find nothing except a hayfork.

“He rolled over and I helped him to loosen his harness and get on his feet. I asked him whether there were any more people in the plane besides himself, and he said no, and said he had no bombs or anything.

“He was a thorough gentleman. I could tell that by his bearing and by the way he spoke."

After Hess' discovery the normally quiet McLean household became a hive of activity as a procession of soldiers and Home Guardsmen arrived to question the mysterious flyer. 

As each new arrival entered the cramped cottage Hess would ask that he be taken to meet the Duke of Hamilton.

It was in the cells at Giffnock police station where Hess' first formal detention took place, with a local police sergeant nervously holding a Colt 45 revolver on him.

Arriving after midnight, he was searched and his possessions confiscated.

He was found to be carrying an envelope addressed to the Duke of Hamilton.

Apart from his clothes, the only possessions he had were his watch, a camera and several photographs of himself and his four-year old son. 

He repeatedly requested to meet with the Duke of Hamilton during questioning by a senior army officer.

A detachment of the 11th Cameronians then arrived and took their VIP prisoner to Maryhill Barracks in Glasgow, where Hess was held overnight and granted his meeting with the Duke of Hamilton the next day.

Hess immediately admitted his true identity and outlined the reason for his flight which was to make peace with Britain.

He told Hamilton that he was on a "mission of humanity" and that Hitler "wished to stop the fighting".

Hess was transferred to Buchanan Castle in Drymen for medical examination and treatment for his injuries. 

A week later, he was transferred to the Tower of London then to a fortified mansion in Surrey designated "Camp Z", where he stayed for the next 13 months.

Churchill ordered that Hess was to be treated well, though he was not allowed to read newspapers or listen to the radio

Psychiatrists who treated Hess during this period, noted that while he was not insane, he was mentally unstable, with tendencies toward hypochondria and paranoia.

Until the end of the war in May 1945, Hess was kept in a number of secret locations in England and Wales.

Following the German surrender, Hess was ordered to appear before the International Military Tribunal on war crimes charges and was transported to Nuremberg in Germany on October 10, 1945.

Glasgow Times:

Hess was found guilty of Conspiracy and Crimes against Peace on September 30, 1946, and taken to Spandau Prison in Berlin in 1947 where he was kept under guard for the next 40 years. 

In August 1987, Hess was found dead in a summer house in the prison garden having killed himself.

To this day no one knows exactly why he flew to Scotland.

He had believed that the Duke of Hamilton had some influence with the Royal family and Churchill and could help negotiate a truce with Germany.

His journey has also prompted numerous conspiracy theories including claims that the man who flew to Eaglesham was an imposter.

After his flight to Scotland Hitler ordered that the German press should characterise Hess as a madman who made the decision entirely on his own, without Hitler's knowledge or authority. 

Hitler also stripped Hess of all of his party and state offices, and ordered him shot on sight if he ever returned to Germany. 

For Hess, a devoted follower of the Fuhrer and a founding member of the Nazi Party, who had even helped Hitler write Mein Kampf, it was an ignominious end.

He had supported legislation stripping German Jews of all their rights - and sent many men to concentration camps or death.

However, like many men before and after him it had all ended in tears in a Glasgow police cell for Rudolf Hess.