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Spey Barracks
 
 
Original Name - Estetal Kaserne
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213 Military Detachment (1)
1st Bn York and Lancaster Regiment 1948 - Mar 1950
1st Bn The Royal Welch Fusiliers 1950 - Jan 1951
1st Bn East Yorkshire Regiment 1951 - Feb 1952
1st Bn Black Watch 1952 - Feb 1952 (2)
1st Bn The Seaforth Highlanders Apr 1952 - May 1954
1st Bn Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) Jul 1954- Sep 1956
 Handed over to Bundewehr - 1956/7
 
(1) Took over the Nazi-run town on 10 May 1945.
(2) Information received from the Archivist of The Black Watch gives the Regiment being in Buxtehude at two different times. According to his information, they were first in the area from September 1945 when they were accommodated in private houses, hotels, and public buildings. It is thought that they then moved to Hesedorf (area unknown at this time) before moving to Duisburg. They apparently returned to the area in October 1951 before leaving for Korea in 1952.
 
Situated on the west bank of the Elbe in the Hamburg area.The camp fell into British hands on 22 April 1945. Handed over to Germans and once again was called Estetal Kaserne in 1956/57. On 1 July 1958 the barracks was occupied by HQ 3 Panzer Division of the Bundeswehr and remained there till it was disbanded in 1994. The barracks is now converted into housing .

The outdoor pool part of the barrack complex can be seen to the left, with the sports pitch seen above.

 

I served in the band of the Seaforth Highlanders as a band boy of just 16 years of age in Spey Barracks, Buxtehude, from 13 October 1952 until 17 October 1953. The swimming pool was used by the local people when we in the band gave them their weekly concert during the summer time. One freezing day in the depths of winter, we were put on a drill parade. It was an extremely bitter day, so cold the valves and slides of the instruments froze up and were useless for playing. The RSM decided that the band should do drill in place of playing. He ordered another Sgt Major to march the band down to the sport field which was very deep inclined, he screamed to the band to dig their heels in to the ice so as not to slip, he himself slipped right down the incline and as he wore the kilt we saw all his personal things. He promised us weeks worth of fatigue if we laughed, still we laughed for ages. The Band Master came to our aid; he sent us to the NAAFI for a warm drink and the embarrassed Sergeant Major never came near us again. The Band Master made sure we were protected from him. We rehearsed in a warm band room wearing the kilt every day. I spent 8 years in the band, then later on I joined the band of the Irish Guards and served for 17 years with them. I had a wonderful life as a military musician. In the guards we toured Italy, Germany,, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, South America, Australia and Edinburgh too. My parents came to hear the concert, when I was awarded the LS & GC medal. In all I served 25 years and had a wonderful life.

William Buchanan better known as BILLY BUCK

 

 
   
The Main Gate at which we did Quarter Guard - our barracks were at the end on the right.
 
I served here with the Seaforth Highlands from Apr 1952 till we came back to Scotland in May 1954. Although this camp was situated quite a few miles from Hamburg and the sea I understand that it was the base for a lot of the German Submarine crews. Compared with life in Fort George - our own base - Spey Barracks was complete luxury. 


Although  Spey Barracks was full of little luxuries it also had much discipline. There were two types of guard mounting - one in the morning and one at night - the morning was in full highland gear and there were always two soldiers kept in reserve in case the Inspecting Officer had any of those on parade put in the Guard Room for not being properly dressed. If the inspection was done by the Adjt - WW Cheyne, he used to arrive on a white horse and would take almost an hour to inspect about ten people. The RSM was named Tait and was known as Granny Tait - not to his face - you could hear him shout from one end of the camp to the other. You never walked round the camp, especially in his sight, you marched with arms swinging.

 

 

Support company on the Square outside our barracks.

I was in SP Company and was in the end employed as Company Clerk although I was a trained 3" Mortar Man. One of my Officers was Capt Robin Douglas Home, nephew of the Prime Minister with the same name and also know for when he left the army as a Music Critic with the Daily Express and for his affair with Princess Margaret. Sadly later he committed sucide.

 

Sergeant Major Cobban and eldest son the day in which the family (not including father) left Buxtehude to head back to England.


Although a Private, due to an error I got to know CSM Cobban very well and ended up baby sitting for him so much so that in the end I was staying in Married Quarters every weekend in Buxtehude. 55 years on I still know the family very well - sadly Alec Cobban died a few years ago but I still visit and stay with his middle son and visit his wife. He and his wife were like my second family whist I was in the army.

Tug of war on the sports pitch - one of the only times that one could wear something under the kilt (highland dancing being the other).


One of the things that we had to do was a ten mile bash out from the camp into the countryside ending back at the camp. This had to be completed in 2 hours. We were dressed in full battle gear on a very hot day. My friend and I dropped to the back and when the rest were out of sight, we turned round and hitch hiked back to camp in a van. We were back  in under half and hour so we went into the Church of Scotland canteen which was just a little away from the Barracks and played snooker, We came out in the end made ourselves look scruffy and knackered and made our way back to the barracks to find that we were last back - the problem was we were two mins late and they said we would have to do it all again. Thank goodness it never happened.

 

Anti-Tank Platoon lined up with their guns ready to go out on a scheme.

In the camp each company had a German Presser - to iron uniforms etc - I can not remember if we had to pay them or not although I should imagine that we did. I went to see her one morning to collect my uniform and she was crying - I asked what was wrong. She had just been informed that her husband who had been a prisoner with the Russians since the war had just been released - remember it was now 1953.

It was very easy to buy items on the black market - a small tin of Nescafe would get you a watch, a pair of shoes and four twp tins a top grade camere.

 

Support Company Sergeant Major - Tug Wilson (known as RB - Rice Brains - unknown why) with a dispatch rider near the Main Gate. I worked for RB in all the time I was abroad.

One of the things that I remember was the occassion when we moved out of Buxtehude on our way back to Scotland. We were all put on a train at Buxtehude to start our journey - a lot of Germans were there to see us off as friends had been made with them. What was very moving was the fact that the troops were hanging out of the windows of the carriages singing the Happy Wanderer (I love to go a wandering) and instead of it being sung as if by rable it was sung as if by a choir - spontanius - and it was a sound that I will always remember.

I joined up as a 3 year regular at 17 1/2. I have also tried to find several times a very good friend of mine - Ivie Miller from Alva if you ever come across him.
 
X SP Company - Seaforth Highlanders
 

Estetal Kaserne as occupied by the Bundewehr.