Did you serve here...
History of BAOR
Canadian Inf Bde
Berlin Corridor Support Team
A trip to Berlin from the British Zone of Germany used to be a bit of an adventure. Once you passed through the no-man's-land at Helmstedt, into the Russian Zone, you were completely on your own. For 117 miles the autobahn stretched empty ahead of you.
There was nobody on whom you could call for a cup of tea and, more important, there was nobody to give a hand if your vehicle broke down. Getting a tow was a chancy business, stuck on the autobahn, you were surrounded by the unknown lands of the Russian Zone — about as homely as the spaces of the Western Desert. Occasionally a Russian patrol roared past; sometimes a foot patrol would cast a disinterested eye over your stranded vehicle and move off. You just waited and hoped a chum in khaki would come by.
But now two autobahn aid stations, one run by the British and another by the Americans, have been opened, the British 40 miles from Helmstedt and the American 40 miles further on.
The cautious traveller knows that, if necessary, help will reach him as quickly as men and vehicles can be moved. It is a comforting feeling. The traveller on the autobahn has his number taken when he sets off; if he does not turn up at the other end in reasonable time a patrol goes out to look for him. If anything is wrong, then either station can provide medical, recovery and minor repair
The British post consists of four wooden huts, set back from the autobahn and fenced off from the surrounding Russian territory. It is not big enough to allow the men a football pitch. There, Capt. Frederick Green, King's Own Scottish Borderers, and 17 men, Craftsmen from REME, a section of Royal Military Police, RAMC orderlies, a sapper and three general duty men — live and work. Except when they get water from Burg, seven miles away, they are not allowed to stray from their compound.
But they have plenty to do. The Military Police patrol the autobahn, checking vehicles and keeping an eye on things generally; sometimes they carry out snap checks on German trucks using the axis, to make sure there are no illegal migrants to or from the British Zone. They also look out for goods stolen from the British Zone, which German passengers might be carrying, and are always prepared to help any Allied vehicles which may need their services.
The REME men, who have a breakdown wagon capable of towing the biggest vehicles using the highway, have about 100 breakdowns a month to keep them busy -and the solitary sapper finds that looking after the post's power-plant is a full-time job. The only man who is not constantly being called out is Driver Tommy Hulton, RASC, who drives the ambulance; accidents are rare, so he lends a hand in other ways.
Off-duty they have a good games room and library and a bar — though most of them prefer tea. They have laid out a garden, to grow a lot of their own vegetables, and their artisans have produced rustic fencing and brightened the outside of the huts with a generous helping of whitewash. And twice a week a liberty truck takes them into Helmstedt.
Soldier Magazine, Unknown Date
CONTENTS OF EMAILS MAY BE DISPLAYED ON THIS SITE (BUT IN AN ENCRYPTED FORMAT TO DETER SPAMMERS) TO BENEFIT HISTORY. IF YOU WOULD PREFER TO STAY ANONYMOUS OR KEEP ALL CONTENTS PRIVATE PLEASE STATE THIS CLEARLY ON SUBMISSION: All rights reserved.