Page under Revision
Austria did not form part of BAOR, it was a totally separate Occupation Force. But, saying that, many Regiments (The East Yorkshire Regiment for example) and other units (such as 93 Sqn RAF) played a part in BAOR, either moving from or into Germany during the period 1945 - 1955. Also present in the early stages of the Occupation were Territorial and/or War time units, many being disbanded or amalgamated shortly after the end of the war, some whilst still in Austria/BAOR.
Russian Forces crossed the borders of Austria on the 30th March 1945, capturing Vienna on the 13th April. American Forces entered Austria on the 30th April 1945.
The first British presence in Austria came on the 7th May 1945, when the first tank negotiated the Plocken Pass and entered the Province of Carinthia. The 6th Special Force, under the command of Lt. Col. Peter Wilkinson, entered Klagenfurt at 10.00 a.m. the next day, just beating the Yugoslavian forces. Yugoslavian partisan forces marched into Carinthia, declaring it under their control, but an increased British presence put an end to that. Yugoslavia continued to argue the claim until 1949.
The British Occupation Forces initially comprised of units from the 46th and 78th Divisions, part of the Eighth Army. In July 1945 Austria was divided into 4 zones controlled by Britain, the U.S.A., France, and the Soviet Union. The British zone was Carinthia, East Tyrol, and Styria. Vienna, surrounded by the Russians, was divided into 5 zones, 4 controlled by the same countries, and the centre of the City under joint control, each country controlling the zone for a month at a time. It would be 10 years before Austria said goodbye to the last British Troops - September/October 1955, the Russians withdrawing at around the same time. By this time, the Force was approximately the same strength as the Berlin Brigade.
At the time of writing, Regiments and other units that served in Austria are unclear, but it is known that the following were present at some stage.
3rd Bn Grenadier Guards
1st Bn Middlesex Regiment
8th Army Signals
1st Bn East Yorkshire Regiment
1st Bn West Yorkshire Regiment
16th Bn Durham Light Infantry. See here for an unofficial history of this Batallion. Thank you to the site for permission to use a link.
North Irish Horse
5 Survey Regiment RA (A Territorial unit)
105 Coy Royal Military Police. See here for photographs of 105 Coy in Austria. Thank you to the site for permission to use a link.
Initially, the RMP had the responsibility for investigating War Crimes in Austria until this was taken over by the War Crimes Section of the Judge Advocate General's Branch, British Troops in Austria. This became the War Crimes Group (South East Europe) in 1947 to deal with investigations both in Austria and in Italy.
43, 72, 93, 111, 225, and 651 Squadrons RAF.
Detachments of 187, 238, and 525 Squadrons RAF.
There were BFN Radio Stations in Graz, Vienna and Klagenfurt , and schooling was in place for the children of British service personnel. See here
for one account of school life. Scroll down until reaching "Living and learning in Austria, 1953 to 1955"
The locations of British Forces in Austria can be seen on Google Earth, and there is a link
to another site showing three of the Barracks. It seems as though all three are still in use by the Austrian Forces.
Please note that this page is to concentrate on British forces providing post war stablility in Austria. It and those linked to it are very much in their infancy and will be developed in the near future.
This photograph apparently stems from Austria. Can anyone identify the vehicle? Is it a Humber?
Photogaph and paintings courtesy of George Frost
The paintings were done by prisoners of war in eventual (Ebenthal) just outside Klagenfurt and given to my father. They were painted on hardboard, as they were a bit bulky I photographed them. I still have them.
The picture of the truck is one that just happened to be on my computer no great quality, and I do not think the kids on the vehicle were POW's.
My father was a Captain then a Major in the RASC and came up through Italy then served his war days out in Klagenfurt. He met my mother who was Austrian and from Klagenfurt they were married at the end of the war in Austria.
My name is Jim Jarman, the one who donated the photo you are showing of 12 Wireless Squadron, at Frohnleiten, which is in the valley on the Hungarian border halfway between Graz and Bruk. I arrived there from Germany in February 46 staying until the end of June 47 and was Set Room Sgt. It can now be told that we were Monitoring Tito's Army (15 sets) and the Russians in Hungary and the Balkans (25 sets) and in Nov.46 I took some NCO's to Vienna to sort out the Russian Units there.
British Troops Austria (BTA) garrisoned the Provinces of Steyrmark and Carinthia.
Steyrmark was 46 Div,(the Oak Tree) with HQ at Graz.Mainly Batts of the Hampshire Regiment, later 1st. West. Yorks and 1st.East. Yorks(National Service Lads). Carinthia was 78th Div.(Battle Axe) with HQ at Klagenfurt which was also BTA HQ. The Vienna Garrison,although serviced by BTA was entirely seperate.