Willie Haswell From The Canongate
Willie Haswell was born in 1921 and lived with his mother and three sisters at 49 Canongate. His father, who worked as a cooper in the William Younger Brewery opposite their tenement stair, died when Willie was just three. His mother worked at Christie’s Whitening and Clay Pipe factory, the blocks of whitening being used by housewives for stairs and doorsteps, the clay pipes selling for 1d.
Willie was called up for national service in July 1941, during which he trained and was stationed in England. He served with the RAF Regiment, tasked primarily with building and maintaining airstrips, and was deployed in Belgium and Germany towards the end of the war.
While stationed in Germany after the war, he became friendly with a local girl, Barbara Mullejans. After obtaining the various documents and visas, and after Willie having been demobbed, Barbara was able to join Willie again in Edinburgh, where they were married in 1949.
They had one son Willam, and lived at 5 Canongate.