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Imphal/Mercer Barracks

Situated in Dodesheide just outside Osnabrück itself, on the way to Belm, these barracks were built by the local German workforce on behalf of the British during the second half of the 1940s, early 1950s. It certainly does not show any of the panache that Belfast or Roberts Barracks display. Indications point to a governement with struggling economies and extremely tight budget - post war. It is also though that the barracks were built to accommodate an infantry regiment (Mercer) and an armoured regiment (Imphal). Although the barracks were physically joined with no defined boundary between them, Imphal was for armoured regiments whilst Mercer was home to an infantry battalion. each had it's own Guardroom and NAAFI. Over the years the units mentioned below have belonged to 12th Infantry later Mechanised Brigade, 4th Armoured later Mechanised Brigade.  Any further information would be appreciated.
 
Imphal Barracks was home to:
 
 3rd Carabiniers (Prince of Wales's Dragoon Guards)1952-1959 (1)
16th/5th Lancers 1959-Oct 1963
9th/12th Royal Lancers 1963-1969
1st Royal Tank Regiment 1969-1973 (2)
Royal Scots Dragoon Guards 1973- 1976
5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards 1976-1984 (3)
4th Royal Tank Regiment 1984-1993 (4)
Queen's Royal Lancers Jul 1993- Jul 2003
1st Queens Dragoon Guards 2003 -Nov 2007 (5)
30 November/1 December 2007 Imphal Barracks vacated by the British Army
 
(1) As 3rd Carabiniers were the first occupants and had just been awarded the battle honour "Nunshigum" from the Imphal Battle, the barracks was so named at request of 3rd Carabiniers.
(2) Arriving after 2 years in Catterick as the RAC Training Regiment. The Regiment left in 1973 for a tour of NI with a posting to Tidworth the following year.
(3) During 1981 they were deployed to Northern Ireland for a 4 months tour. In 1984 the Inniskillings moved back to Tidworth, but were back in Barker Barracks, Paderborn just two years later as part of 11 Armd Bde, 4 Armd Div.
(4) Swallowed up by 1 RTR in 1993.  The newly amalgamated First set about establishing new roots and bringing many of the old 4 RTR traditions onto their books, primarily the Pipes and Drums and the Rose Tartan.
(5) Arriving from Athlone Barracks, Sennelager. Now accommodated at Dempsey Barracks, Sennelager.
 
 
Mercer Barracks was home to:
 
Infantry
 
 1st Bn The Black Watch
1st Battalion Somerset & Cornwall Light Infantry Oct 1959-May 1961
1st Battalion 2nd East Anglian Regiment May 1961-Mar 1964
1st Battalion Queen's Own Highlanders (Seaforth and Camerons) 1964 - 1966 (5)
1st Battalion The Royal Sots (Royal Regiment) Aug 1966-Nov 1970 (4)
1st Battalion Queen's Lancashire Regiment Nov 1970-Dec 1974
1st Battalion  Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Dec 1974-Nov 1978
1st Battalion Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment 1978-1983
 1st Battalion Green Howards 1983-1987
1st Battalion Royal Green Jackets 1987-1992 (2)
 
Support
 
18 Infantry Workshop
12 Infantry Workshop
12 Field Workshop 1970-1976
12 Armoured Workshop 1976-1993
2 Armoured Field Ambulance 1992-? (1)
1 Battalion REME 1993-2007 (3)
 
(1) Later went on to form 1 Close Support Medical Regiment who where based at York Barracks, Münster.
(2) Disbanded 25th July 1992 in Osnabruck. The 2nd and 3rd Battalions were renumbered 1st and 2nd respectively.
(3) 1 Battalion REME can trace its roots in Osnabrück back to 1960 when 18 Infantry Workshop moved here, later being redesignated as 12 Infantry Workshop.  It then went on to become 12 Field Workshop in 1970 and 12 Armoured Workshop in December 1976. In September 1993, following restructuring, "12 Armoured" as it was known became 1 Battalion REME. The unit is now under the command of 4 Mechanised Brigade and has, since November 2007, been  relocated to Catterick, North Yorks.
(4) The Royal Scots deployed on their first Northern Ireland tour from here, stationed in West Belfast from March to July 1970.
(5) Moving to Wavell Barracks Berlin.

 

To find out more about the name Imphal or Mercer click here.

 

My Father was in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. Mercer/Imphal barracks in Osnabruck were not built by a civilian workforce in the 1950's for the British Army. They were converted from a POW camp which was situated on the site. My Mother worked in the NAAFI with a local woman who had worked in the camp and had fallen in love with a Polich POW in the camp. Both were punished for speaking to each other, but married after the war and lived about 800 yards from the barrack gates.

Libby Harrison