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Taunton Barracks
 
Original Name - 77 /Heide/Infanterie Kaserne
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German
 
 Infanterie Regiment 77 ( Hannover )1886-1918
Infanterie Regiment 17 1933-1938 (1)
Infanterie Regiment 73 1938-1940 (1)
Panzergrenadier Regiment 73 1940-1945 (1)
 
 
The camp was used between 1945 and 1946 as a displaced persons camp to deal with the Belsen crisis.
 
British
 
1 G HOWARDS 1946-1947 (2)
1 SOM LI 1947-1948 (3)
1 DORSET 1948-1949
522 TPT GP 1949-1951
12 A/TK REGT RA Feb 1951-Mar 1951 (4)
12 LAA REGT RA Mar 1951-Feb 1956 (4)
94 LOC REGT RA 1956-1985 (5)
14 SIG REGT 1985-1993 (6)
 
(1) Retitled in succession.
(2) Naming the camp as Richmond Barracks.
(3) Renaming the camp Taunton Barracks.
(4) Moved to Taunton Barracks from Trieste. Comprised R A/Tk, S Fd, T LAA & U Fd Btys. Re-titled 12 LAA Regt in Feb/Mar 1951. One report states that U Bty was lost at this time, whilst another states that U Bty was an Anti-Tank Bty and converted to the Light role being placed in S/A after the move to Herford. Moved to Harewood Barracks, Herford in Jan/Feb 1956.
(5) Goodwood Barracks was the overflow barracks for 94 Loc Regt from 1961-1964 when 95 Loc Regt Disbanded and 94 Regt took on their manpower.
(6) 14 Signal Regiment (EW) moved here from Scheuen in early 1985 as an opportunity to have the unit under one roof something which had not been possible through its 8 year existence. With the end of the Cold War the Regiment then moved to Quebec Barracks Osnabrück but could not accommodate the whole regiment so 237 Signal Squadron (EW) found home at the former RAF base at Hullavington Wiltshire the regiment is is now stationed at Brawdy Pembrokeshire with the squadron rejoining the regiment
 
Originally known as Heide Kaserne, the barracks were built in 1869. After WW2, the British renamed the barracks after Taunton with it being home to home of 94 Locating Regiment RA and later 14 Signals Regiment. After 14 Sigs moved out in 1992 the town renovated the block and made it the Celle town Hall.

 

 


 
 
After leaving Langleben, 1 Squadron of 14 Signal Regiment (EW) had been moved to Celle with the Sqn working at Scheuen, but being accommodated at Trenchard Barracks (for reasons stated below). The Regiment itself was based at Scheuen, but still founds itself spread out over Celle. On 94 Locating Regiment vacating Taunton Barracks an opportunity arised which saw the unit under one roof. To carry on from an email I received:
 
Actually we were a Troop ‘D-Troop’ of 14 Signal Regiment. As we had been based in an independent location (Langeleben) close to Königslutter originally, we had no ‘home’ at Scheuen (an ex Luftwaffe supply base north of Celle) when we were moved back to Celle, which was where the Regiment was based. So we were originally put in Trenchard Bks. Scheuen was a very old (WW2) base and in poor condition with unsuitable buildings to house all the parts of the Regiment as required, so the Regiment began to look for another location.
Eventually the whole of 14 Signal Regiment moved together to Taunton Bks, also in Celle, recently vacated by 94 Locating Regiment RA. Taunton Barracks was a massive edifice dating from 1870 and contains the largest brick building in North Germany. The sheer size of the place gave the CO of 14 the opportunity to have all his sub-units under one roof for the first time since the Regiment was formed – we could even drive our transport down cavalry ramps into the basement of this massive structure. Unfortunately this meant that 1 Squadron (DF Troop) was obliged to leave our excellent and tranquil Langeleben (
www.langeleben.co.uk/gallery_pages/photo.htm) home and make the fifty-mile move back to Celle in March 1985 (3 months before I resigned and left the Army).
Mr Phil Froom, ex Royal Signals
 
Block 21 which was used as a RHQ. Taken from where the Guardroom/Main Entrance would be located in the 1980's.
 
Block 21 basement of Taunton Barracks was used as the Wksp and Stores Sect offices, 1st floor right hand side was used as the Pay Office, 2nd, 3rd and attic right hand side was used as living in accommodation for REME and RAOC personel, the left hand side of Block 21 was used by the R Sigs Offices and accommodation.
The parts of the building that protude out were, end ones showers, the centre part were the washrooms. I lived in that block 1979 / 82.
Mr Mick Greenhalgh
 
The RAOC Stores Sect with the main building of Taunton Barracks, 94 Loc in the background taken 1981, the cookhouse was on the ground floor on the left hand side as you look at the building, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors were used as Bty HQ's and living in for the Gunners.
Courtesy of Mr Mick Greenhalgh
 
 The barracks, or ‘Kaserne’ as it was known, was a huge building, at least six storeys high and it seemed to stretch for about half a mile from end to end, with two twin towers in the centre, pointing up to the sky like a pair of space rockets! This was to be our home for the immediate future and, to nobody’s surprise, the REME Workshop accommodation was based on the bottom floor at one end, while our accommodation was on the top floor at the other end! I suppose it was meant to keep us fit - or at least out of the way! The official name of that huge building was ‘Block 14’ and included both cellars and attics for its full length. There were other buildings of course, which housed the Messes and Headquarters, with others dedicated to providing cover for the military equipments. There was another separate camp – Goodwood Barracks – just a short drive away across town, and this was home to 115 Locating Battery, still part of the Regiment. Another site, as far as I can remember, was Taunton Barracks, where the Education Centre and Garrison Library were located. This lay out on ‘Route 3’ as you headed towards Bergen-Belsen, home of the infamous Nazi wartime concentration camp.

The main function of ‘94’ was to use radar sets to locate enemy artillery positions and then guide our own Artillery onto the same. The Workshop was literally full of ex-boys from the School at Arborfield, so it really was like ‘home from home’. By the time I arrived there, I had already been away from boys’ school for 18 months, so the single stripe on my arm immediately became two and I settled into a life of work and pleasure! The work was quite easy to handle, but the pleasure was difficult – keeping on top of a bar-tab in the Bombardier’s Mess! (For those of you not of a military bent, a ‘Bombardier’ is the RA equivalent of a full Corporal).

It was far too easy to be drawn into a life on the booze, however hard one tried to keep away from it! I can recall one particularly great weekend when the unit soccer team was invited to take part in a friendly match against a youth side from one of the outlying villages near Celle. As usual, a handful of us had met up in the Mess on the Saturday evening, to find it strangely quiet – until we found that a lot of the guys had gone to this soccer match. We also heard that there was an evening’s entertainment arranged at the village Gasthaus (German pub!). Not wanting to miss out on the fun, we picked up a crate of ‘Silvertop’ (the bottled beer with the silver-foil top, properly called Bavaria Export if I remember correctly) and caught a taxi out to this village.

The ‘party’ was inevitably very much based upon lots of beer and we weren’t too late to partake of a few rounds! It must have been in the early hours that three of us found ourselves almost alone, the party was now over and we were more or less marooned at the pub. Luckily it was a very rural place and just around the back was a barn with a huge haystack inside. We climbed up on top of it and slept like tops! When we woke the next morning, we couldn’t believe our luck when we found that the elderly lady in the pub was calling us over – and inviting us in to a cooked breakfast! This we managed to wash down with a few more beers – hard to believe I know, but we were only young once! We could hardly muster a pfennig between us, but no worries, it was ‘on the house’. What splendid people ran that particular pub.

I can remember that the rest of the day turned out to be pretty warm and we hardly fancied walking all the way back to Celle. Luckily we found the local Bahnhof (railway station) and boarded a train back into town. It was a great relief that nobody thought of asking us for tickets, either getting on the train, during the journey, or at the main station in Celle! Walking back to camp, we bumped into a couple of other lads, who asked us to join them at the Zillertal – another watering hole in the town! Quite how long we stayed there I can’t now remember – nor who paid, but it certainly wasn’t me!

Drinking became one of the great pastimes in those days and it certainly made the evenings and weekends go past in a blur! I recall that during one particular weekend, Celle held one of its regular ‘Schutzenfests’. In fact many towns and villages held these shooting fairs, as they would be in English, an event where the locals would set up shooting stalls and compete to find the best shot. Of course there were many other stalls around too, like the beer tents and ‘Schnell Imbiss’ stalls – literally ‘fast food’ outlets.
Pete Gripton
 

Above is a picture of the Farewell to Celle Parade on the Stechbahn looking North. The photograph shows 73 (Sphinx) Loc Bty RA passing the saluting base with me in command.
Courtesy of MG Felton, Lt Col late RA
 
May I correct the information on Taunton Bks. 94 Loc Regt RA was indeed stationed there from 1955 to 1984, 29 yrs in total and the longest static deployment for a Unit in Germany. The Batteries were not as stated but 57(Bhurtpore) Bty, 73(Sphinx) Bty and 156 (Inkerman) Bty along with a Wksps REME, RAOC Stores Sect and RHQ. The Loc Btys were Equipped with a Met Tp (AMETS), a Sound Ranging Tp and a Drone Tp. On deployment, each Loc Bty became effectively independent and moved to support its allotted Div Artillery.

Of those Batteries, 57 still exists, 73 is now 4/73Bty and 156 is in suspended animation.
The large accommodation block that everyone talks about was known as Block 14.
Turning to the town itself, your street scene is the Stechbahn (literally the Tilt Yard) in front of the Schloss.
 
MG Felton, Lt Col late RA
 
Above shows a copy of the commemorative painting by Terence Cuneo entitled "A Training Day at Celle". Once again, 73 Bty with me (blue pully) standing centre left with the Troop Commander. All of the Bty's kit is shown.
Block 14 is shown in the background, in the foreground being is part of E Tp with their AN/USD 501 Drone Launcher.
In the left background is the Hydrogen Generator of the Met Tp and a Met Balloon being launched, and in the right background under the trees is a Survey Party of the SRg Tp.
 
MG Felton, Lt Col late RA