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Shiel Barracks

Built -
Type - Wehrmacht
Original Name - Brunnenweg Kaserne/Nebelwerfer Kaserne
History -

The name of these barracks has been is mis-spelled and was home to units of the 51st (Highland) Infantry Division from 1945-46 and was named after Brigadier William Anthony (Jerry) Sheil CBE DSO and Bar Royal Artillery

An Irishman from Dublin he joined the Army via the RMA Woolwich in 1915 and served in France from April 1918.  After the war he became Adjutant of the Army School of Equitation and retired in 1935 but rejoined in 1939.  He was in command of the 10th Field Regiment RA in France 1940 and was evacuated from Dunkirk.  He then trained and fought with 128th Field Regiment of 51st (Highland) Division from El Alamein (where he was awarded his first D.S.O.) to Sicily (where he was awarded the bar to his D.S.O.).  Returning to Britain he was appointed CRA and went to France with the Division in June 1944.  The 51st (Highland) Division fought through France, Holland and Belgium into Germany. He was appointed the CBE March1945.

On 29th April just nine days before the end of the war in Europe he attended a conference at Reesum a village east of Bremen.  On the way back he changed places with his driver who was tired.  The jeep went over a mine and while his driver escaped with minor injuries Brigadier Sheil was killed.  He is buried in the Reichswald War Cemetery.

Many thanks to Belville for this valuable piece of history


Home to -

 

127th (Highland) Field Regiment RA – May/Jun 45 to Jun 46 (1)
1st Battalion Gordon Highlanders – Jun 46 (2)
HQ 7th Armoured Division – Aug 46 to Sep 47 (3)
Units unknown
HQ 7th Armoured Division – Mar 49 to Apr 58 (4)
HQ 5th Division – Apr 58 to Jun 60 (5)
HQ 1st Division – Jun 60 to Apr 78 (6)
HQ 1st Armoured Division – Apr 78 to Jul 93 (7)

HQ Verden Garrison

Garrison Officers Mess


11 Postal Courier Squadron RE

Provost Section RMP

71 Intelligence Section


Royal Artillery Marksmanship Training Team (8)

 

Notes 

  1. Arrived from the Bremerhaven area command HQ Royal Artillery 51st (Highland) Infantry Division of 30th Corps District
  2. Arrived from Muna Barracks Zeven command 153rd Infantry Brigade of 51st (Highland) Infantry Division to Meeanee Barracks Essen and merging with the 5th/7th Battalion Jun 46 the Brigade command was transferred to 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division in Feb 47 forming 2nd Infantry Division and 153rd Infantry Brigade was renamed 6th Infantry Brigade
  3. Arrived from the Hamburg area then disbanded and merged with Hannover District Sep 47
  4. 7th Armoured Division reforms and renamed 5th Division Apr 58
  5. 5th Division renamed 1st Division 30 Jun 60
  6. 1st Division renamed 1st Armoured Division 1 Apr 78
  7. 1st Armoured Division replaces 4th Armoured Division the Divisional HQ to Wentworth Barracks Herford
  8. See article at bottom of the page

 

 

Brunnenweg Kaserne

 

This camp was used by the Wehrmacht to train their troops on the use of the dreaded Nebelwerfer. Although this translates as "smoke thrower", it was actually a six barrelled motar peice. Labelled "moaning minnie", this towed brute had a maximum range of 8,600 yards (7.5 of a kilometres) and accounted for 75% of Allied infantry casualties in Normandy. To read on please click here.


A picture of Shiel Barracks in German ownership.

 

I received my release papers from the 'Colours' on the 20th December 1966. It took me a further three years to get a complete discharge from the 'Reserve' to come out to live in Germany. And on the 9th November 1969 I received the letter from the MOD and signed by the 'Infantry records' in Exeter to say that I could live in BAOR as a civilian. As my wife comes from Verden/Aller (near Bremen), I found a job with the RE in Verden through the PCLU (Forces-Civilian Exchange) as a postal-and-courier driver, due mainly to me being an 'ex pat' and having knowledge of military life and the forces, also the fact that I had a BAOR army driving licence, led to my 4 years, the best 4 years of my life, with the 1 Div P.C.C.U - RE (Army postal service unit of the Royal Engineers) BFPO32. I took the place of a soldier, but with a civilian status. It was my job to courier mail to and from Corps Command and the different battle groups to 1(BR) corps and back to the depot for dispatch. I hope this information helps you with your web site.
MP
 

Main Gate in Nazi times.

 

Looking towards Divisional HQ and the Parade Square.

Courtesy of Mr Steve Wright

The same view in 2007.

 

Guard Room and Comcen

Courtesy of Mr Steve Wright

 

Comcen, Guard Room and Transit Accommodation.

Courtesy of Mr Steve Wright

 

Parade Square and Divisional HQ

Courtesy of Mr Steve Wright

1st UK Armoured Division HQ

Courtesy of Mr Steve Wright

 Officers' Mess

Courtesy of Mr Steve Wright

Officers' Mess entrance.

Courtesy of Mr Steve Wright

Accommodation, RMP MSO blocks.

Courtesy of Mr Steve Wright

Accommodation and RMP blocks.

Courtesy of Mr Steve Wright


In 1977, whilst the Officers' Mess was being reroofed, an unexploded British 3" mortar bomb was found. This was embarassing for the Squadron Commander of HQ Squadron, 1 Div HQ & Signal Regt. - during the advance on Verden, he was a private in the Mortar Platoon of a battalion of the Black Watch - it was one of his!
Roger 
 


As can be seen; there is not much left of this camp apart from Block 24 and 25


Block 24






Block 25


The roof had collapsed due to extensive fire damage.


Interior of Block 25

 

Although 1 Division HQ and Signal Regiment were based in Caithness Barracks, this photograph was taken in Shiel Barracks which was home to the RAMTT. See Tony Gaynor's article below. There also some photographs of a Land Rover that Tony has rebuilt on the Kit and Equipment page (B Vehicles).

 

Champion - Major Unit 1975 and 1976 - 1 Div HQ and Sig Regt
 
Above is the 1975 team but I do have the 1976 team photo somewhere when I can locate it. All the main players (Shooters) are the same including me, with a couple of substitutions.
 
RAMTT - Another forgotten formation, RAMT was the Royal Artillery Marksmanship Training Team. Headed by Major John Harvey (centre). They trained mainly Sergeant upwards in Marksmanship and Range Officer 
Procedures. All graduated as good shots; some as great shots - This in addition to being able to run a range and zero weapons of soldiers under training.

The RAMTT all wear red and were to a man Bisley NRA (UK) standard long arm shots. I think the Royal Artillery reference was purely because Major Harvey was RA himself but the team was multi-Corps - The chap to his right (Left as you look at the image) was the REME Armourer for 1  DIV HQ & SIG REGT - Called Dave Sparks. I am standing on the left of the image (Right of the formation) next to Squadron Leader Prince (an accomplished Pistol Shot as well as the DALO (Division Air Liaison Officer). The chap on the right of the picture was a Lieutenant in charge of Echo Troop (mainly Linesmen) of 3 Squadron - 1 DIV HQ SIG REGT - Sorry I cannot remember his name.

So we were the 1 DIV HQ & SIGNAL REGIMENT Shooting Team and won all the Major Unit titles for 1975 and 1976.

I was on an emergency tour (with 25 Field Artillery Regiment) in Belfast City Centre during the 1977 period of training and selection. The Regiment were told that they would have to release me but I decided that I would be better finishing my tour with the RA and so stayed on in Belfast. I do not know how the team fared without me or even the makeup of the 1977 team. I lost touch from then on, probably because someone thought that I had snubbed their interjection on my behalf.

This photo was taken at Shiel Barracks. Not just the Divisional Headquarters but also the home of the RAMTT. If my memory serves me correctly, the Officers Mess would be just through the trees behind us.
 
My daughter Lindsay, myself, and my wife Rhian (Right - On my left)
March 2006
 
Photographs and text courtesy of Tony Gaynor