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Shiel Barracks

Built -
Type - Wehrmacht
Original Name - Brunnenweg Kaserne/Nebelwerfer Kaserne
History -
Home to -
 
HQ 51st (Highland) Infantry Division 1945 - 1946 (1)
HQ 7 Armd Div 1946 - 1947 (2)
HQ 7 Armd Div 1949 - 1958 (3)
HQ 5 Div 1958 - 1960 (4)
HQ 1 Div 1960 - 1978 (5)
HQ 1 Armd Div 1978 - 1993 (6)
HQ Verden Garrison
11 PC Sqn RE
71 Int Sect
Verden Garrison Saddle Club

 Royal Artillery Marksmanship Training Team (7)

 

(1) Arrived Jun 45 command 30th Corps District disbanded Aug 46.

(2) Arrived from Hamburg area Aug 46 the 7th Armoured Division disbanded and the HQ merged with Hannover District Jun 47.

(3) March 1949 7th Armoured Division was reformed from Hannover District retitled 5th Division April 1958.

(4) On 30 June 1960 5th Division was retitled 1st Division.

(5) On 1 April 1978 retitled 1st Armoured Division. 

(6) Moving to Wentworth Barracks Herford.

(7) See article at bottom of this page. 

 

Brunnenweg Kaserne

 

This camp was used by the Wehrmacht to train their troops on the use of the dreaded Nebelwerfer. Although this translates as "smoke thrower", it was actually a six barrelled motar peice. Labelled "moaning minnie", this towed brute had a maximum range of 8,600 yards (7.5 of a kilometres) and accounted for 75% of Allied infantry casualties in Normandy. To read on please click here.


A picture of Shiel Barracks in German ownership.

 

I received my release papers from the 'Colours' on the 20th December 1966. It took me a further three years to get a complete discharge from the 'Reserve' to come out to live in Germany. And on the 9th November 1969 I received the letter from the MOD and signed by the 'Infantry records' in Exeter to say that I could live in BAOR as a civilian. As my wife comes from Verden/Aller (near Bremen), I found a job with the RE in Verden through the PCLU (Forces-Civilian Exchange) as a postal-and-courier driver, due mainly to me being an 'ex pat' and having knowledge of military life and the forces, also the fact that I had a BAOR army driving licence, led to my 4 years, the best 4 years of my life, with the 1 Div P.C.C.U - RE (Army postal service unit of the Royal Engineers) BFPO32. I took the place of a soldier, but with a civilian status. It was my job to courier mail to and from Corps Command and the different battle groups to 1(BR) corps and back to the depot for dispatch. I hope this information helps you with your web site.
MP
 

Main Gate in Nazi times.

 

Looking towards Divisional HQ and the Parade Square.

Courtesy of Mr Steve Wright

The same view in 2007.

 

Guard Room and Comcen

Courtesy of Mr Steve Wright

 

Comcen, Guard Room and Transit Accommodation.

Courtesy of Mr Steve Wright

 

Parade Square and Divisional HQ

Courtesy of Mr Steve Wright

1st UK Armoured Division HQ

Courtesy of Mr Steve Wright

 Officers' Mess

Courtesy of Mr Steve Wright

Officers' Mess entrance.

Courtesy of Mr Steve Wright

Accommodation, RMP MSO blocks.

Courtesy of Mr Steve Wright

Accommodation and RMP blocks.

Courtesy of Mr Steve Wright


In 1977, whilst the Officers' Mess was being reroofed, an unexploded British 3" mortar bomb was found. This was embarassing for the Squadron Commander of HQ Squadron, 1 Div HQ & Signal Regt. - during the advance on Verden, he was a private in the Mortar Platoon of a battalion of the Black Watch - it was one of his!
Roger 
 


As can be seen; there is not much left of this camp apart from Block 24 and 25


Block 24






Block 25


The roof had collapsed due to extensive fire damage.


Interior of Block 25

 

Although 1 Division HQ and Signal Regiment were based in Caithness Barracks, this photograph was taken in Shiel Barracks which was home to the RAMTT. See Tony Gaynor's article below. There also some photographs of a Land Rover that Tony has rebuilt on the Kit and Equipment page (B Vehicles).

 

Champion - Major Unit 1975 and 1976 - 1 Div HQ and Sig Regt
 
Above is the 1975 team but I do have the 1976 team photo somewhere when I can locate it. All the main players (Shooters) are the same including me, with a couple of substitutions.
 
RAMTT - Another forgotten formation, RAMT was the Royal Artillery Marksmanship Training Team. Headed by Major John Harvey (centre). They trained mainly Sergeant upwards in Marksmanship and Range Officer 
Procedures. All graduated as good shots; some as great shots - This in addition to being able to run a range and zero weapons of soldiers under training.

The RAMTT all wear red and were to a man Bisley NRA (UK) standard long arm shots. I think the Royal Artillery reference was purely because Major Harvey was RA himself but the team was multi-Corps - The chap to his right (Left as you look at the image) was the REME Armourer for 1  DIV HQ & SIG REGT - Called Dave Sparks. I am standing on the left of the image (Right of the formation) next to Squadron Leader Prince (an accomplished Pistol Shot as well as the DALO (Division Air Liaison Officer). The chap on the right of the picture was a Lieutenant in charge of Echo Troop (mainly Linesmen) of 3 Squadron - 1 DIV HQ SIG REGT - Sorry I cannot remember his name.

So we were the 1 DIV HQ & SIGNAL REGIMENT Shooting Team and won all the Major Unit titles for 1975 and 1976.

I was on an emergency tour (with 25 Field Artillery Regiment) in Belfast City Centre during the 1977 period of training and selection. The Regiment were told that they would have to release me but I decided that I would be better finishing my tour with the RA and so stayed on in Belfast. I do not know how the team fared without me or even the makeup of the 1977 team. I lost touch from then on, probably because someone thought that I had snubbed their interjection on my behalf.

This photo was taken at Shiel Barracks. Not just the Divisional Headquarters but also the home of the RAMTT. If my memory serves me correctly, the Officers Mess would be just through the trees behind us.
 
My daughter Lindsay, myself, and my wife Rhian (Right - On my left)
March 2006
 
Photographs and text courtesy of Tony Gaynor