Hameln: 1968 -1973 Visit:- British Army in Hameln
23 Independent Amphibious Engineer Sqn RE
64 Amphibious Engineer Sqn RE.
I arrived at 23 Ind AES in Hameln mid November 1968 I was assigned to the Gillois troop. At this time the squadron was evaluating both the French Gillois and the German M2A amphibious bridging units. We became somewhat attached to our Gillois' and it was a bit of a disappointment that eventually the M2 rig was finally selected to come into service in it's second reincarnation as the M2B.
I settled in well at 23 and when the vacancy for the J/NCO.s Mess Steward became vacant I found myself in that position. I ran the J/NCO's Mess in the attic of our accommodation block for 6 - 9 months. We had a disco nearly every Saturday evening which I believe was enjoyed by all. On returning to normal duties I did driver training and passed my driving test much thanks to Des kitchen my trainer.
When the new Regiment was formed we moved Barracks and I became part of 64 AES. I became a M2B rig Pilot. As I remember our troop named all their rigs after cartoon characters our rig was named "Boot" after the dog in the Daily Mirror strip cartoon "The Perishers".
In mid 1972 Pete Dawson, Tony Sharman and myself were on leave, we were in the J/NCO's Mess watching the opening ceremony of the 72 Munich Olympics on TV, we made a spur of the moment decision to go down to Munich, I at that time was the QMSI,s Clark with access to the stores. We went to the stores and borrowed a frame tent cooking equipment and a few other things, packed my car and off we went to the Olympics.
We found a camp site on the outskirts of Munich and settled in, we then went on to the Olympic village where we were able to get tickets to some of the fringe events (Fencing, Weight lifting etc.).
We stayed for a week and then decided to head back via the Rhine Valley, we left Munich the day before the terrorist attack on the Israeli team so missed all the drama that involved.
we enjoyed our slow drunken crawl through the Rhine Valley especially the town of Rudesheim and its wine cellars. that was a good leave which I remember fondly to this day.
As I look back over my time in Hameln ( I hope not through rose tinted glasses) I think of the time as one of the focal points in my army career a good time with good people, sand boy did we have some good Saturday nights in the J/NCO's Mess !!!.
In 1973 I received my marching orders and was posted back to the UK to the Airfields Regt at Waterbeach
Osnabruck: 1972 -1973
B111 - B11 Combat Engineering course.
During late 72 early 73 I found myself along with several others from Hameln on a B3 -B2 Combat Engineering up grade course at Osnabruck, we stayed at Osnabruck Monday to Friday returning to Hameln for most weekends. Not much else to say about this period as it passed without much really happening I think we all passed the course successfully.
Go to Names from BAOR
Amphibious Engineers a brief History
Amphibious bridging had been considered briefly during World War Two but the idea was not pursued. The concept was considered further however in the early 1960s and a requirement to build a Class 60 400 foot floating bridge in under an hour with a minimum of men was formulated, with an envisaged in service date of 1965. To meet this in service date it was necessary to consider equipment already in an advanced [state of development and after extensive US and UK trials the French EWK-Gillois equipment was accepted for service in 1961. In May 1962, 1 Troop of 50 Field Squadron was reformed as 23 Amphibious River Crossing Cadre, equipped with seven Gillois units. The Cadre was expanded into 23 Amphibious Engineer Squadron in 1963 with Major J L Booth as its officer commanding. By June 1962, however, enough information had come to hand to convince the Staff that a German alternative, the M2 Amphibious Bridging and Ferrying Equipment, was markedly superior to the Gillois and in July acceptance of the Gillois was withdrawn. By 1964 the newly formed Amphibious Squadron was training with M2 rigs borrowed from the German Army but it was not until 1969 that enough of the new rigs, incorporating the many improvements requested by the British and German Armies and designated M2B were available to reorganize the Squadron into three troops, each holding eight rigs. By early 1970 more rigs had arrived and formation of a new regiment, 28 Amphibious Engineer Regiment was put in hand. The Regiment was based in Hameln and the first Commanding Officer was Lieut Colonel H J Goodson. Two additional squadrons, 64 and 73 Amphibious Engineer Squadrons, were formed, and in April 1971 the Corps Commander Lieut General Sir John Sharp took the salute at the Formation Parade. However, in 1976 73 Squadron lost its amphibious role and moved to Osnabruck.