IT IS Jubilee weekend, and our recent feature looking back at the Queen’s coronation 70 years ago sparked a few memories for one Times Past reader.

Dan Harris, who grew up in Maryhill, was stationed in Berlin in June 1953 and he recalls a very different kind of celebration in the German city – in which he had an unexpected starring role.

“Much has been written and recorded on film, about the Queen’s Coronation Parade in London but very little has been recorded about the Queen’s Coronation Parade in Berlin in June 1953,” he tells us, joking: “And I was acknowledged to be the star man on that Parade – honestly, I am not making this up….”

Glasgow Times:

The Parade was held in the Maifeld Stadium Berlin, and Dan and his fellow soldiers practised for days beforehand, he explains.

“The main performers were the larger infantry regiments and the tanks,” he says. “Smaller units like the Royal Engineers and the Royal Signals provided the human boundary line within which the larger units strutted their stuff. Being the smallest man, I was the first soldier to appear out of the stadium tunnel, like the captain of a football team, leading my men.”

Glasgow Times: Queen's Coronation Parade in London 1953

He smiles: “The stadium was an all-seater, with hundreds of German civilians in attendance. I was marching smartly, rifle over my shoulder feeling quite confident, when I heard a little German boy shout ‘klien kinder’ to me – it meant ‘small child’.”

Dan groans at the memory. “To my total embarrassment the crowd turned this into a chant,” he says. “Every step I took, they all bellowed, ‘klien kinder’.

“Fortunately, when the Infantry and tanks came out and performed, the spectators forgot all about me.”

Dan says the British troops received huge applause and cheers. “It wasn’t long after the end of the Second World War, so I was surprised by the reception,” he admits. “Of course, many Germans felt it was better for them to have us, rather than the Russian troops, in their sector of Berlin.”

Later that evening, the participants on the boundary line were given a lovely dinner in plush surroundings.

During the meal, a Sergeant approached Dan and said: “Well done, soldier, you were the star of the show.. I fought against the Germans during the war, and half-expected them to be here to boo us.

“But you got it off to a great start. Well done, son.”

Dan smiles: “That made my day.”

Dan was stationed with the Royal Engineers in Minden, in what was then West Germany, in 1953.

He stayed in an old German cavalry barracks next door to Spandau Prison, where Rudolph Hess was imprisoned.

Glasgow Times: Scenes in Berlin shortly after the erection of the Berlin Wall, dividing the Soviet occupied Eastern sector of the city from the Allied occupied Western sectors. View over the wall showing border guards on patrol. October 1961. (Photo by Ron

“Part of our training was to build bridges - pointless exercise,” he recalls. “We were surrounded by Russians. They would be waiting in ambush, making it easy for them to bump us off.

“A long-forgotten part of the Cold War is when the Russians blockaded parts of Berlin from the outside world. The Allies used the Berlin Airlift – delivering food and fuel from airbases in western Germany - to overcome this ‘starvation’ attempt. I was posted to Berlin after this blockade by the Russians had stopped.”

Dan’s regiment sent reinforcements to Korea every month, he says.

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“To dodge going, I did a wireless operator course,” he explains. “Shortly afterwards, my commanding officer sent for me and said he was sending me to Berlin, because they needed a wireless operator.

“I told him I was happy where I was and would prefer to stay in Minden.”

Dan laughs: “He took me aside and said I had two options – go to Berlin, or go to Korea. I was in Berlin two days later.”

Dan says he is considering writing to the Queen to remind her of the Coronation Parade in Berlin.

“I might be given a knighthood,” he jokes. “There again, she may just hit me on the head with her sword for being cheeky.”