Pieces of history are built in my garden wall

The Berlin Wall in all its technicolour 'glory' in 1986.

The Berlin Wall in all its technicolour 'glory' in 1986.

A redundant Blackpool tram in Havant goods yard between 1964 and 1966.  Picture: Barry Cox Collection

A streetcar named Hayling Billy would have run on saved line

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I see the former Baywatch and Knight Rider star David Hasselhoff has put his weight behind saving the last remnant of the Berlin Wall.

Berlin stood in the former communist East Germany and the western half of the city was completely surrounded by a wall of concrete, razor wire and death strips with mines to catch the unwary escaper to the west.

The wall came down in 1989 and two days later I was there visiting a friend.

Over 10 years, twice a year or so, I travelled there by train, before the Channel Tunnel was built. I went from Liverpool Street to Harwich then took a ferry to the Hook of Holland.

There the train left for Warsaw via Berlin but for people like myself we could not get into the front three coaches as the entrance was locked.

The journey across was always amazing with different people to talk to, most of whom could speak English.

I remember once sleeping with five women! Before I go on, let me say it was all in the best possible taste.

The six of us were in a compartment and they had been travelling for many hours and wanted to sleep.

I told them if they pulled the seats forward from both sides they would become couchettes.

So we all did it and stretched out head to toe and I had a few hours sleep with three women to my left and two to my right. Lovely.

On reaching Helmstedt on the German border the train pulled into a compound where the police boarded to check for tickets and passes. They also issued me with a visa to pass into Berlin.

On reaching Berlin Zoo the main part of the train was detached from the front three cars which had been locked to us. They then went on through East Germany and into Poland and Warsaw.

I met my friend Corinna and we usually went for dinner and drinks, but as this was 1989 I noticed many more people on the streets and the bars were heaving. It seemed odd.

I was surprised to see chunks of the wall lying all over the place and Corinna told me about the marvellous previous two days. I bought two rucksacks and filled them.

Three days later I returned by a different route and boarded a train from Berlin to Calais via Paris then the ferry across to Dover and back to Portsmouth.

Luckily I had my railway ID with me so the guards on all the trains let me place the rucksacks in the brakevans.

On previous occasions when the train pulled into the compound at Helmstedt the police boarded to search the train.

Alsatian dogs searched under the train and on nearly every occasion I could hear shouts as someone was found clinging to the underside of the train.

The police, all sporting small machine guns walked through the train checking passports and other papers from people who were of other nationalities.

After some time the train proceeded into the free world. It was like being in a Second World War film, but it was the 1980s.

But this time the train stopped to allow passengers to alight and went on without a hitch.

I arrived back in England and stored the bits of wall and then some years ago I was building a small wall to the front of my garden and thought I would incorporate the two rucksacks of Berlin wall into my wall.

They are still there to this day and I suppose if anyone demolishes the wall in years to come they will find large bits of painted concrete and wonder what it is all about.

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