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Tofrek Barracks
Built - 1934-1936
Type - Accommodated a German parachute regiment used on Holland and later Crete.
Original name - Flughafen Kaserne and Airfield
History - See here
Home to:
 

 1st Battalion The Dorsetshire Regiment (1)

3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment  Autumn 1948

1st Battalion The Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment)

 

Tofrek West

 

2nd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery 1947-1958 (2)

157th Locating Battery RA 1953?-1956? (8)(9)

1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery 1958-1965 (3)

32nd Heavy Regiment RA 1965-1972

5th Heavy Regiment RA 1972-Nov 1984

1st Royal Tank Regiment Nov 1984-1992 (4)

 

Tofrek East

 

54th Company RASC 1956-1956

654th Light Aircraft Squadron AAC 1958-1967 (5)

Head Quarters 1 Artillery Brigade 1967-1977

14th Signal Regiment (EW) R Signals 1977-1978 (6)

1st Regiment AAC 1983-1993 (7)


(1) The camp was initially occupied by the advancing American troops of 1945. Shortly afterwards, on being transferred into British hands the following regiments occupied the base; Dorset Regt, 3 Para  and parts of the Sherwood Foresters.
(2) The Regiment was retitled 2nd Field Regiment RA in 1958 and departed for Malaya.
(3) Consisting of three batteries, Chestnut Troop, B Battery and E Battery, the Regiment was equipped with 18 M44s, American Self propelled 155mm Howitzers and 9 Centurion Tanks. Various other vehicles such as Pigs and Saladins, Ferrets, Austin Champs & RLs made up holdings.
(4) 1 RTR took over from 5 Hvy Regt RA in November 1984 after which they had been in Bovington for two years. This effectively increased the number of armoured regiments in BAOR. The Regiment rejoined 22nd Armoured Brigade whom they had been with for much of WWII. The Chieftain tanks used to equip 1 RTR were in the main surplus vehicles released by the newly converted "Challenger" Regiments. 1 RTR were thus the only RAC unit ever to occupy what was widely regarded at the time as the best "tank" posting in Germany. 1 RTR moved to Tidworth after "Options for Change" closed Hildesheim in 1993.  
(5) Part of HQ 1 Wing AAC located in Detmold.
(6) 14th Signal Regiment was formed in 1959 from the United Kingdom Commonwealth Communications Army Network Signal Regiment, taking on the responsibility for world-wide communications on behalf of the British Army. At this time it was based in England. On 1st July 1977 it reformed as 14th Signal Regiment (Electronic Warfare) with the mission to provide the Commander of 1st British Corps with electronic warfare support. RHQ and 3 Squadron (communications) were based here, with the other elements being as far away as Blandford, Langeleben and Wesendorf. By 1978 the Regiment had settled in at Scheuen, just north of Celle. Although Scheuen would only be a temporary home, the Regiment would remain  in Celle until 1993.
(7) The Regiment was formed as 1 Regiment Army Air Corps at Hildesheim in Germany in January 1983 from three Squadrons dating back to the Second World War. The Squadrons were 651 Squadron, 652 Squadron and 661 Squadron. It was equipped with the Lynx and Gazelle helicopter. The Regiment moved on the closure of these barracks to PRB, Gütersloh in 1993 when it was still equipped with both the Lynx and Gazelle Helicopter.
(8) Information that 157 Locating Battery were stationed in Tofrek Barracks, although with no dates, was found here.
Information giving possible dates was found here
(9) A note has been received regarding 157 Locating Battery, and is copied below:-
 
157 Locating Battery RA was formed at Larkhill Salisbury Plain and moved to Hildesheim Spring 1951. I was demobbed in August 1952. I regret I have no further information regarding the movement of the Battery. However in 1952 the Battery won the BAOR Cricket Championship the final was played at The Oval in August 52 the team was under the captaincy of James Allan (who went on to play for Scotland, Kent & Warwicks) unfortunately James died 15th April 2005. Congratulations to you on the excellent review of the barracks in Hildesheim. They were most enjoyable times. I'm wondering if any of my friends who were in the successful Battery team are still active, they would be now be in their ol late 70's!  Best Wishes Chris Elgar still in BECKENHAM Kent.
With thanks to Chris Elgar for these details.
Can anyone add any more to this information?
 
 
 
The above photographs were taken by Ron Bargh ex "Border Regt" who was the Brigade Commander's driver in 1955. The "East Surreys" as part of 2 Inf. Div. were in occupation. The image below was taken in 2001 on his return visit when the
German Army were occupation.
 
 
1 RTR, 1984
 
I'm an ex-1RTR Rupert, who served with the Regiment whilst it was stationed at both Herford & Hildesheim between 1980-1987. I have some snippets about Tofrek Bks that may be of interest. As one of the pics shows, the site was originally an airfield. It was certainly home to Luftwaffe units during WWII - possibly including one of the KG responsible for evaluating captured allied aircraft. I do remember seeing some photos of such a/c supposedly taken in 1943/4. Beyond doubt is that Tofrek Bks was home to at least one Fallschirmjäger unit. There was a memorial across the way from RHQ, and their Old Comrades used to stage an annual parade there, at least while 1RTR were in residence. Another detail that sticks in my mind is some a/c-related graffiti on the ceiling of the Kellerbar in the Officers' Mess, purportedly dating from the 1930s. One particular item depicts a biplane with a barrel of Löwenbräu aboard. This had been drawn to commemorate a visit by Göring, who's favourite tipple was the beer in question. By some oversight, none had been ordered for the visit, so the Reichsmarschall-to-be despatched an a/c to Munich to remedy the situation forthwith. Most of the photos you have of the buildings were evidently taken long after the site had been handed back to the stadt.
PC
1 RTR Parade, 1985
 
1 RTR Tank Park
 
D Sqn Block, 1 RTR,  Jan 1986
 
A Sqn Block, 1 RTR, 1984
 
The Korea Bell, made from the brass shell cases fired at the Communists in Korea 1953.
 
Aerial View, Tofrek Barracks - Taken in 2000.
 
RHQ
 
PSA and SSVC
 
Just interested to read about Tofrek Barracks, and seeing the photo of the SSO office buildings brought back a few memories. Not mentioned in any of the histories is the fact that there was a small Royal Signals detachment in Hildesheim manning the Commcen, which was located in the basement of the SSO building, and those of us manning it lived up in the attic of the building. It was a strangely trogdolyte existance, working shifts. Those of us manning it were detached from 1 Armd Div Sig Regt in Verden, and I spent the winter of '84-'85 there. No heating, wrapped in blankets, no ablutions in the building other than a toilet in the Commcen itself, but we were happy as larry! The Commcen served not only the Hildesheim based units, but Hannover station as well. I went there after taking part in Lionheart 84, and there was still evidence of the support function the the barracks undertook for that exercise - including the sign for the temporary BFBS radio studio which had been established. 1 RTR had only just moved there when I went to do my stint - 5 Hy Regt RA being the previous incumbents who I had passed through on my way to Verden having flown in to Gutersloh on my first posting just a couple of months earlier - so I was a very green and wet behind the ears young scaley! Lovely place though, and the Tankies were sound.
Jim
 
A Sqn Block, 1 RTR
 
D Sqn Block, 1RTR
 
A Sqn Block, 1 RTR
 
Cookhouse
 
Guard Room
 
Guard Room
 
The site of the Korea Bell with RHQ to the right.
 
Gymnasium, NAAFI and also the end of the BFT route.
 
QM (T) - at least you've got a chance of getting something out of the place now!
 
Back end of the LAD and NAAFI Bar.
 
D Sqn, 1 RTR and Main LAD.
 
Main LAD.
 
 
Officers' Mess
 
Sgts' Mess
 
Sgts' Mess
 
Tofrek Barracks aerial view.
Courtesy of Google Earth
 
Main Hangar in 2002
 
Control Tower in 2006
 
Hildeshein Airport from the air 2006
 
Above three photographs courtesy of  Alan8376
 
More information can be found at the following links:
 
 
 
 
My time at Tofrek Barracks was quite short and began when I was posted, as a newly-trained RASC clerk, to the Station Staff Officer, Hildesheim, which was located in Tofrek West.  For messing and accommodation purposes I was billeted with 54 Company RASC who were located in Tofrek East.  Their role was as transport support to 33 Lorried Infantry Brigade and they wore the 11 Armoured Division flash.  From what I remember there was an armoured unit located in Tofrek West and I passed the back of their tank park on my way to and from work on the road running alongside the airfield.  I am afraid I cannot remember who they were.
 
After a few weeks I was offered a transfer to HQ Hannover District located at Stirling House on Hans Bockler Allee in Hannover, about a mile from the village of Kleefeld.  This was the HQ for the whole of Hannover District and a few months after I went there we became responsible for the area previously controlled by HQ Hamburg District, located at Blankenese, a few miles east of Hamburg.  I played football there once and the railway line into Altona passed the former U-boat pens, with the holes where the bombs had gone straight through the roof.
As you can imagine every branch of the Army was represented at the District HQ.  I had been trained as a staff clerk and whilst I was at Stirling House I did spells in G Branch, A Branch and finally in Q Branch, working in Q(Ops).  The District Commander at the time was Brig. L.F. Heard whom I met a few times and was, in my opinion, a thorough gentleman.
 
Between 1972 and 1989 I was member of the TA with 150 Regt RCT (V) and visited Germany a further 13 times on Annual Camp. During that time I visited Tofrek twice. By a strange coincidence on my last TA exercise in German, we were joined by 54 Sqn RCT who were, by then, an ambulance squadron.
Norman Angell
Ex SSgt RCT (V)