BAOR Locations

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Airborne (Parachute) Forces
 

Apart from one short period, in role British Airborne Units were never permanently garrisoned in BAOR.  The exception was the period February 1948-October 1949 when elements of the British 2nd (future 16th) Independent Parachute Brigade were based in Schleswig Holstein later in the Hannover area.  Subsequently 16th Parachute Brigade, and its TA equivalent 44th Parachute Brigade, did exercise in BAOR from time to time to test contingency plans or display capability.

 

Officers and senior ranks from the Parachute Regiment did serve in BAOR on the staff of major Headquarters or in training appointments. Similarly individuals who had served either attachments to the Parachute Regiment or with the in role supporting Arms and Services would return to their BAOR based parent units on completion of their tour with the Airborne Forces.

 

In the early 1970s the Airborne Forces were reorganised and one Battalion of the Parachute Regiment was removed, in turn, from the orbat of the Aldershot based 16th Parachute Brigade/6th Field Force. In the subsequent decade 1st and 2nd Parachute Regiment undertook garrison duties in Berlin, 3rd Parachute Regiment were based in Osnabrück, whilst out of role. Similarly 7th Parachute Regiment RHA were based in Osnabrück in the period 1977-84.

 
2nd (Subsequently 16th) Independant Parachute Brigade 
 

At the end of the War in Europe in May 1945 the reorganised and reinforced 6th Airborne Division (including 2nd Parachute Brigade) was warned off for service in the Far East and the projected invasion of Malaya. However Japan surrendered and the Division was diverted to Palestine for Internal Security tasks, in particular Peacekeeping Duties between the warring Arab and Jewish communities.  This proved to be a thankless and impossible task. The United Kingdom therefore handed over responsibility for the Country to the United Nations.  A phased withdrawal of British Forces including 2nd Parachute Brigade commenced in Summer 1947.  The Brigade initially returned to the United Kingdom but redeployed to the Schleswig Holstein area in the far north of the then British Zone of Occupation, Germany, as part of BAOR, in Spring 1948

 

This coincided with the Russian Blockade of Berlin and elements of the Brigade moved south to the Hannover area in Autumn 1948.  6th Airborne Division had been disbanded on return from Palestine and it was decided to renumber 2nd Parachute Brigade 16th as a permanent tribute to the achievements and ethos of the British 1st and 6th Airborne Divisions during World War 2.  This took effect in July 1948 with similar renumbering of selected subordinate units within the Brigade structure.

 

In Autumn 1949 the Brigade returned to the United Kingdom and Aldershot, which was to be its permanent base for the next 40 plus years, to form an essential element of the newly created British Strategic Reserve capable of moving at short notice worldwide to protect British interests.

 

JPW

 

2nd Independent  Parachute Brigade Orbat/Initial Deployment BAOR Spring/Summer 1948

 

 

Brigade Headquarters Schleswig Note 1

 

2nd Independent Parachute Brigade Signals Squadron Marine Barracks Schleswig February 1948 Note 1

33rd Parachute Light Regiment RA – Flensburg July 1948

64th Air Landing Light Battery RA

300th Air Landing Anti Tank Battery RA

334th Forward Observation Battery RA – Itzehoe

9th Independent Parachute Squadron RE

 

4th/6th Battalion Parachute Regiment – Lubeck Note 2

5th Battalion Parachute Regiment – Husum Note 3

7th Battalion Parachute Regiment – Itzehoe Note 4

 

23rd Parachute Field Ambulance RAMC – Rendsburg

2nd Parachute Brigade Company RASC – Neumunster Note 1

2nd Parachute Ordnance Company RAOC – Neumunster Note 1

2nd Parachute Workshop REME – Neumunster Note 1

Note 1 Unit renumbered 16 July 1948

Note 2 Battalion renumbered 1st Battalion Parachute Regiment July 1948

Note 3 Battalion renumbered 2nd Battalion Parachute Regiment July 1948

Note 4 Battalion renumbered 3rd Battalion Parachute Regiment July 1948

 

JPW 

 

Subsequent Orbat/Deployment 16th Parachute Brigade BAOR Autumn 1948-Autumn 1949

 

Brigade Headquarters – London Barracks Hannover

 

16th Independent Parachute Brigade Signals Squadron – London Barracks Hannover

 

33rd Parachute Light Regiment – St Barbara’s Barracks Fallingbostel September 1948 onwards

 

9th Independent Parachute Squadron RE – Bindon Barracks Hameln

 

1st Battalion Parachute Regiment – Braunschweig

2nd Battalion Parachute Regiment

3rd Battalion Parachute Regiment – Hildesheim

 

1st (Guards) Independent Parachute Company – Bad Gandersheim Harz Mountains Autumn 1948 onwards

 

23rd Parachute Field Ambulance RAMC – Hannover

63rd (Parachute) Company RASC Hildesheim

16th (Parachute) Ordnance Company RAOC

16th Parachute Workshop REME – Waggum Airfield Braunschweig November 1948 onwards

 

3rd Hussars were also part of 6th Airborne Division in Palestine.  The regiment temporarily moved to Kingsway Barracks Rendsburg Spring 1948 then to Knightsbridge Barracks Lubeck July 1948 and subsequently absorbed into the main BAOR ORBAT as part of 2nd Infantry Division in December 1948

 

NB. Details of the exact locations where some units were based and the exact timing of moves have yet to be confirmed. These will be added when substantive information is available

 

The author gratefully acknowledges the invaluable help, encouragement and information provided by individual former members of the Brigade

 
JPW

 
Additional information
 
A description of the Signals element of the Brigade can be found here.
  
7th Parachute Regiment RHA is a "descendant" of 33rd Parachute Light Regiment RA.
 
The 5th Battalion (Scottish) Parachute Regiment (to give them their presumed correct title) were formerly the 7th Battalion The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders.
 
The 6th Battalion (Welsh) Parachute Regiment were formerly the 10th Battalion The Royal Welch Fusiliers.