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Birdwood Barracks
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HQ 6 Armoured Division 1952-1958 (1)
HQ 6 Armoured Division Signal Regiment 1952-1958 (2)
  2 Infantry Divisional Signal Regiment ??-1959 (3)
2 Signal Regiment (Divisional) 1959-1961 (4)
2nd Signal Regiment 1960-1965 (5)
2 Divisional Transport Column RASC ??-July 1965
2 Division Transport Regiment RCT July 1965-1976
2 Division HQ and Signals Regiment 1965-1976 (6)
2 Armoured Division Transport Regiment 1976-1984??
652 Sqn AAC circa 1976
2 Armoured Division HQ and Signal Regiment 1976-1982 (7)
2 Infantry Division HQ and Signal Regiment 1982-1984
2 Infantry Division Provost Company ??-1960 (8)
1 Armoured Division Transport Regiment RCT 1984-Apr 1993(9)
 
 
Closed 17 December 1993
 
(1) Moved to Tunis Barracks, Lubbecke in 1957, disbanded in 1958.
(2) Disbanded at Bunde in 1958. To see a little more of this unit click here.
(3) Renamed 2nd Signal Regiment (Divisional) in 1959. This Regiment may have been split between two locations up to 1959

(4) Renamed 2nd Signal Regiment in 1960

(5) Renamed 2nd Division HQ and Signal Regiment in 1965

(6) Renamed 2nd Armoured Division HQ and Signal Regiment in 1976

(7) Renamed 2nd Infantry Division HQ and Signal Regiment in 1982. Moved to the UK in 1984

(8) Moving to Tunis Barracks, Lubbecke in 1960

(9) Arriving from Dennis Barracks, Munsterlager. In 1993, the Squadrons were merged in to Regiments of the newly formed Royal Logistics Corps, or renumbered/disbanded.
 
 

Parade sqaure with accommodation/office blocks in background.  Annual 'Fitness for Role' (FFR) 1963 1963 Inspection in progress.
Courtesy of  Richard Grevatte-Ball
 
When I arrived in Bunde the barracks was occupied by 2 Armd Div Signal Regiment, the truckies and an Air Corps flight (Gazelles & Scouts). My CO was Sam Cowan (now Gen Sir), who retired as DLO and is now the Master of Signals. 2 Div HQ did the hardening and reducing trials for Divisonal HQs so we had two HQs of 432s and a Comd Tac of 3 x Spartan. The Regiment moved back to UK on yet another a reorganisation in 1983 and lost its Armd status.
Andy Tuson
 

Same detail as the picture above. Vehicles are the Austin Champ jeep; Austin K9 light truck; Bedford QL office truck and Bedford 3 ton cargo truck - 1963.
 Courtesy of  Richard Grevatte-Ball
 
I was stationed at Birdwood Barracks, Bunde from1963 to 1965. The Barracks was situated amongst farmland, some distance outside the town of Bunde –(to the NW I think – Ennigloh?). It was a post WWII complex, built by the British, to a standard ‘barracks expansion’ pattern (there was a name for this design ?), sometime in the 1950’s. It was all single storey, brick or breeze bloc with white painted plaster exterior walls, with flat, slightly sloping roofs. It was designed to hold two major (regimental sized) units and the ‘long term’ occupants in the 1960’s were 2 Division Signals Regiment and 2 Divisional Transport Column RASC. They were joined in 1964 by an Army Air Corps unit flying Skeeter helicopters (unit designation unknown but probably connected with 2 Div HQ).

The Barracks was surrounded by a hire wire fence with a pedestrian & vehicle entry point to the North end of its East fence. When the AAC arrived (taking over covered lockable door vehicle accn. from the RASC) a part of the North fence was made into a ‘swing down’ unit so that the helicopters could approach the none too large hard standing landing area (ex vehicle park!) at a suitable angle!

At the south end there were sports pitches and an obstacle course, two identical Officers’ Messes immediately adjacent to each other, with two SNCO’ Messes a little to the north and all having separate sleeping accommodation blocks a short walk away. (Continuing North there were the Royal Signals soldiers accn., RHQ and Squadron offices, technical areas and drill square – I am a little ‘vague’ here as to accuracy). Then further north still the RASC had their own drill square, RHQ and Company offices, outside vehicle hard standing (some 140 vehicles), soldiers accn. and technical stores. The two working RASC companies were 4 and 8 Divisional Transport Company’s RASC respectively. RHQ administered a third sub-unit, 54 Company RASC, which was situated elsewhere (Minden I think). There was a small NAAFI, together with various soldiers clubs. Married accommodation was some way away and outside the barracks site I believe.

Bunde was a small town, famous for cigar manufacturing and as the home of SOXMIS – the Soviet Mission in West Germany, so we got used to seeing Russian staff cars on our local roads and being followed by them on exercise. I remember one very ‘hush hush’ detail where we conducted at ‘no notice’ and in great secrecy (or so we thought!) the outloading of real ammunition from a large ammunition storage area, so that the storage bunkers could be renovated, we were told. No sooner had we loaded and moved onto a public road to take the ammo to another location, than we found ourselves being shadowed by a SOXMIS staff car -who said that there were no spies about!

!n 1963 there were DM13.80 to the pound and gin was so cheap from the NAAFI that in winter we used to put it into our car windscreen washer bottles (diluted with water), as it was cheaper than the anti freeze mixture to be had from a German garage! We were constantly out on exercise and, once the crops were in, were encouraged by the German farmers to drive all over their fields, as they could then claim compensation for us ‘ploughing up’ their fields. Likewise they welcomed us into their farmhouses as we paid a set rate - in cash- for all bedrooms occupied and meals cooked for us. Perhaps readers will remember the rather uncomfortable three sectioned ‘biscuit’ mattresses of those days?
Richard Grevatte-Ball
The Princess Royal visiting Birdwood barracks, Bünde - 1960.
Courtesy of Mr John O'Meara
 

During 1959/60 I was a Corporal in the Royal Military Police with HQ No 2 Division Provost Unit, which was stationed at Birdwood Barracks, Bunde. One of our many tasks was to shadow the SOXMIS at certain times when ever they left their HQ which was also in Bunde. If they entered restricted areas we had to escort them out, however we were not allowed to arrest our touch them. In December 1960 the RMP. HQ was re-housed in Tunis Barracks, Lubbecke.

Headquarters and Duty Room of 2 Div RMP - Birdwood Barracks, Bunde
 
One of the cars used by 2 Div RMP on Soxmis duties. An Opel Kapitan (?) convertible.
Possibly locally sourced judging by the number plate. Look carefully and you will see the
reflection of the photographer - right hand end of the bumper.
 
Above photographs courtesy of Eric Heath

 

HQ 2 Div RMP. was also responsible for RMP Duties in Winterberg during the winter warfare season. I was NCO I/C Detachment for part of the 59/60 seasons and the whole of the 60/61 seasons.

50 years later I am the welfare officer for the Royal Military Police Assciation, Western Australia Branch.

Eric Heath

  The SKC at Birdwood Barracks from the 'backseat' of a Scout helicopter at speed and at very low level!!

                                                                                                                       Courtesy of John McIntyre

 

I was posted to Birdwood Barracks, Bunde. Whilst I was there I was part of the Army Rapid Response team, which I have not seen anywhere else. There was me as the RAMC Sgt, and RMP Cpl, REME Cpl and a RCT Driver. We all lived next door to each other at the side of the families Medical Centre. We had a Nissan Patrol and were called out for RTA's (Road Traffic Accidents) in the area.

Brian Roberts