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23 Base Workshop, REME 
 
The unit was created during World War Two, with it finally being located after in Wetter. The 50 acre site had belonged to Harkort-Eicken Steel Works, before transition into British hands. It boasted the largest Royal Army Ordnance Corps stores section in the entire army, three workshops, an internal railway system (including two locomotives), a sewage works and a range.
The task of the workshops was to recondition all types of equipment to base repair standards. These equipments included, A vehicles, A vehicle assemblies and other heavy engines, armaments, small arms, instruments and also telecommunications. Modifications, and defect investigation were other tasks carried out here.
Surprisingly, the lowest rank here was sergeant, with the full compliment being 14 officers (with a brigadier at the reigns), 21 warrant officers and senior non commissioned officers, and 1745 locally employed civilians, of whom 72 were apprentices under training. The apprentices were trained partly on the shop floor and partly at the school, which was also on site, although vocationally they studied locally The workshop was the second largest employer in the area, which combined with the fact that it also gave the youth an opportunity to develop a trade, promoted very good relations with the local community.
To visit this extremely large site would take the best part of a day. When it actually closed I am not sure of, nor am I sure what it is used for today.
Soldier Magazine, February 1979, Volume 35. No. 2
 
Closed 25 March 1994.
 
A picture of one of the workshops in its full glory, circa 1979.
 

 "I served at 23 Base from 1987 - 1991 as the Superintending Storeman. It closed down in 1993 and I remember attending the last regimental dinner in the WOs & Sgts Mess in the summer of that year. Members old and new were there including honorary members Alfie Holland and Heinz Kunhe (sadly now deceased). I visited this year to give my condolences to Alfie, whose wife Hanny passed away in March, and to Fr Kuhne. All that remains of the workshop is the old 'B'Works and the RAOC office block, which is a listed building. Even the main entrance to the workshop has been demolished, likewise the Sgts Mess, and the old Officers' mess lies empty and overgrown."

AD Taylor

 

 This photo was taken looking down the street to where 23 Base Wksp main
entrance used to stand.

 Courtesy of AD Taylor

'B' Works.

Courtesy of AD Taylor

The  old RAOC Building, june 2007.

Courtesy of AD Taylor

The old Tech Stores Office. "My old office, now a Getranke Markt (quite fitting)".
Courtesy of AD Taylor

 

The wheel was donated by the Wksp to the town and is erected on the bank
of the Harkort See.

Courtesy of AD Taylor

Ost Straße MQ's. "That's my old quarter, No 8, with the puppets dangling outside??"

Courtesy of AD Taylor

 

Courtesy of Konversionsflächen in NRW. 

 Courtesy of Konversionsflächen in NRW.
 
The two photographs below show the resulting flooding of the Harkort-Eicken Steel Works after the bombing of the Möhne Dam. the steel works later became the home of 23 Base Workshops REME.
It is not until the picture below is seen for the viewer to actually appreciate the height of the water.  
Courtesy of Mr Dennis Kilbride
Surveying the damage.
Courtesy of Mr Dennis Kilbride

Operation Chastise was the official name for the attacks on German dams on 17 May 1943 in World War II using a specially developed "bouncing bomb". The attack was carried out by Royal Air Force No. 617 Squadron, subsequently known as the Dambusters. To read on click here.