Yorkshireman paid for Hess memorial: Farmer tells of mystery man who erected headstone to Hitler's deputy on his land

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The Independent Online
THE OWNER of the farm where a memorial to Rudolf Hess, Adolf Hitler's deputy, was discovered earlier this week, yesterday described how a 'Yorkshireman' paid him to allow its erection.

Craig Baird, 55, who owns Floors Farm, near Glasgow, said: 'The man approached me earlier this year and he asked if he could put up a memorial. In May he and a man in his 20s arrived with the marble headstone. They worked hard putting it up. They gave me some money.'

The memorial was torn down yesterday by members of the Glasgow Anti-Nazi League (ANL).

Mr Baird refused to identify the two men or say how much he received. He confirmed that Wolf-Ruediger, Hess's son, visited the site in May along with other Europeans and Americans, but denied that it had become a shrine for neo-Nazis. 'They were just tourists.' It had not been a mistake to approve the memorial which praised Hess as 'brave' and 'heroic'.

'You can't change history,' he said. 'Hess came here. Looking back now perhaps the language was a bit strong, but I thought it referred to the way he arrived. He turned his plane upside down and parachuted out. I know he was supposed to have killed many Jews, but the monument never bothered me.'

Mr Baird confirmed that he planned to put a 'memorial boulder' on the site of the destroyed monument. 'Even when my father farmed the land there was some sort of memorial there,' he said.

Hess's flight to Britain remains one of the most bizarre episodes of the Second World War. He is thought to have been carrying proposals for peace between Britain and Germany to remove obstacles to the Nazis' planned invasion of Russia. He was arrested and died in Spandau prison, in Berlin, in 1987.

(Photograph omitted)