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 Sheil Barracks, Verden

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Belville
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PostSubject: Sheil Barracks, Verden   6/8/2012, 22:29

The name of these barracks is mis-spelled on this website. The base of 51st (Highland) Infantry Division from 1945 - 46 was named after Brigadier William Anthony (Jerry) Sheil, C.B.E., D.S.O and Bar, R.A.

An Irishman from Dublin, he joined the Army via the R.M.A., 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, R. A., in France in 1940, and was evacuated from Dunkirk. He then trained and fought with 128th Field Regiment, 51st. 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 C.R.A., and went to France with the Division in June, 1944. The 51st Division fought through France, Holland and Belgium into Germany. He was appointed C.B.E. in March, 1945.

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, Brig. Sheil was killed. He is buried in the Reichswald War Cemetery.

Belville
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PostSubject: Re: Sheil Barracks, Verden   7/8/2012, 07:02

Thank you for this fascinating contribution which will be of interest to the significant number of contributors who served in the Verden area (myself included) who never knew the true origins of the Barrack name.
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PostSubject: Re: Sheil Barracks, Verden   7/8/2012, 12:52

Belville wrote:
The name of these barracks is mis-spelled on this website. The base of 51st (Highland) Infantry Division from 1945 - 46 was named after Brigadier William Anthony (Jerry) Sheil, C.B.E., D.S.O and Bar, R.A.

An Irishman from Dublin, he joined the Army via the R.M.A., 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, R. A., in France in 1940, and was evacuated from Dunkirk. He then trained and fought with 128th Field Regiment, 51st. 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 C.R.A., and went to France with the Division in June, 1944. The 51st Division fought through France, Holland and Belgium into Germany. He was appointed C.B.E. in March, 1945.

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, Brig. Sheil was killed. He is buried in the Reichswald War Cemetery.

Belville

Welcome Belville

Interesting...not just the website but everywhere seems to be Shiel Barracks...my first BAOR barracks Jan-Apr 1967...my own thoughts were named after Loch Shiel and Caithness Barracks after the areas of Scotland...the first British troops were the 51st (Highland) Infantry Division but their HQ was in Syke to the west of Verden-Aller so the barracks were probably home to the HQ of 152nd Infantry Brigade with the following under command
2nd and 5th Battalion (Caithness and Sutherland) Seaforth Highlanders

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Steve
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Belville
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PostSubject: Re: Sheil Barracks, Verden   7/8/2012, 14:50

"everywhere sems to be Shiel Barracks";

Yes, even in J. B. Salmond's 'History of the 51st Highland Division 1939 - 45' the name is spelled Shiel. However, I have been in touch with his family, and there is no doubt that the correct spelling is Sheil. They didn't have any connection with Scotland until the war, but Sheil Road in Liverpool is named after his great-grandfather, who was an Alderman of that city.

"the first British troops were the 51st (Highland) Infantry Division but their HQ was in Syke to the west of Verden-Aller "

But on this website (http://bfg-locations.editboard.com/t1649-sheil-barracks-verden) it says that Sheil Barracks were home to 51st Division from June, 1945 to August, 1946.

Belville.
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PostSubject: Re: Sheil Barracks, Verden   8/8/2012, 07:46

Thanks Belville...history has been changed...the BAOR locations page needs updating have evidence from a 30 Corps brochure published in 1945/6 showing the Div HQ was in Syke
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Belville
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PostSubject: Re: Sheil Barracks, Verden   8/8/2012, 16:15

You're right. It was 127 Field Regiment, R.A., who occupied the barracks at Verden first. I have found a letter in the Sheil archives which explains the naming of the barracks. It is by Leonard Aitkenhead to Jerry Sheil’s daughter, Helen Nunn, in August, 1982:

"I am able to give you the answer as to the naming of the barracks quite simply and within my own knowledge for at the time I was D.A.A. and Q.M.G. at H.Q.R.A. 51st Division. For the occupation role the Division was spread over a fairly large tract of land to the south of Bremen. H.Q.R.A. with its own five Regiments and two extra Regiments under command, plus a mass of army troops in support, occupied a narrow but elongated zone stretching from Rotenburg to the East to Diepholz to the West. 127 Field Regiment were in Verden, which had been a German garrison town. They were, therefore, put into barracks and were given the new barracks built in Hitler’s time (the older barracks were again occupied by the German army). 127th were our only unit in barracks.

After we were all settled in, 21st Army Group made a policy decision that the barracks could be given a name, if approved. We had the one barracks and thought it appropriate that they should be named after your father, in memory of him. We put up a case and it was quickly approved. The barracks were accordingly named Sheil Barracks while 127th were still occupying them. As the division was put into “suspended animation” about April/May 1946, I would think the barracks were named around the Autumn of 1945.”


This comes from a book of photographs, newspaper cuttings and transcribed letters made up by his grand-daughter for the use of the officers at Verden, so that they would know why the barracks were so named. There was also a photograph of Jerry Sheil in the hall of the Officers' Mess, which was returned to the family, with the book, when the barracks closed.

Could someone correct the spelling on the website?

Belville
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PostSubject: Re: Sheil Barracks, Verden   8/8/2012, 16:30

This video from YouTube may be of some interest:-



www.youtube.com/watch?v=aw8G8JASTIs



It's sad how the places have been allowed to fall into disrepair.
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PostSubject: Re: Sheil Barracks, Verden   8/8/2012, 20:17

Thanks again Belville

Myself and JPW are trying to put those early days of BAOR together before the many disbandments of Corps Districts and Divisions...for the HQ RA 51st (Highland) Infantry Division have the following units recorded at the end of WW2

126 (Highland) Field Regiment RA
127 (Highland) Field Regiment RA
128 (Highland) Field Regiment RA
61 Anti-Tank Regiment RA
40 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment RA

1 Battalion Gordon Highlanders of 153rd Infantry Brigade – Muna Barracks Zeven to Sheil Barracks Verden Jun 46 so they must have taken over from 127 (Highland) Field Regiment RA

Would be interested if you have the other two RA units recorded and any other unit detail you may have before disbandment of the division that is recorded later in Aug 46 after handing over the area to the 7th Armoured Division and earlier in Mar 46 the north of the divisional area to the 6 Guards Brigade of Guards Division the 7th Armoured Division HQ is recorded to Sheil Barracks from Hamburg area Aug 46

With regret unable to ammend the main website since the recent change of ownership but hope this problem will be resolved very soon

Best regards
Steve
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PostSubject: Re: Sheil Barracks, Verden   8/8/2012, 21:37

No, I'm afraid all I have is related to Brigadier Sheil. The only slight information I have about the later days at Sheil Barracks is in a letter to Jerry Sheil's grand-daughter, Elizabeth Hill, from Major General Iain Mackay-Dick on 7th June, 1993.

He said that the Divisional Headquarters at Verden were to close on 31st July, and that they had already vacated Sheil Barracks and were in the process of handing it over to the German authorities. He added that his headquarters, together with "the remainder of the Signal Regiment", were by then in Caithness Barracks.

By the way, Shelldrake, I see that you are in Camberley. If you visit St. Tarcisius' Church, near to the entrance to the R.M.A. on London Road, you will see a plaque and window commemorating Brig. Sheil, his brother-in-law, Col. J. R. Macdonell, 9th Lancers, and seven members of the congregation.

Belville

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PostSubject: Re: Sheil Barracks, Verden   9/8/2012, 10:51

Belville, I have driven past that Church on countless occasions promising myself that I would pay a visit - I may do soon! Laughing
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PostSubject: Re: Sheil Barracks, Verden   10/8/2012, 13:09

Belville wrote:

Could someone correct the spelling on the website?
Belville

Belville

Have rewritten the page and Mike has posted it

http://www.baor-locations.org/shielbks.aspx.html

As it is known as Shiel Barracks (i before e except after c) everywhere else so feel is best to stay and the correction detail on the page...many thanks for your important contribution

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PostSubject: Re: Sheil Barracks, Verden   14/8/2012, 07:13

Belville

Thanks for the latest information

I agree with you that the Barracks was probably renamed in late Summer 45 when many British/Canadian units moved from their original Cease Fire deployments, often tents or requisitioned buildings, covering every centre of Nazi administration to more permanent accommodation. I have details of a number of Barracks first given British/Canadian names at that time (the earliest I have found is June 1945 when 6 Guards Brigade renamed the former Marine Kaserne Ploen Churchill Barracks). Will add 51 Highland Division Artillery to my lengthy shopping list of Regimental War Diaries to be sort out during my periodic visits to the National Archives at Kew

I too live not far from Camberley and intend to call by St Tarcisius when next in the area.
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PostSubject: Re: Sheil Barracks, Verden   14/8/2012, 08:59

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PostSubject: Re: Sheil Barracks, Verden   3/6/2015, 18:30

British Army in Verden-Aller
Myself and JPW have been researching the early days of BAOR, having served in Verden in the late 1960s wish to publish the results from research up to late 1946

19 May 45 – HQ Royal Artillery Guards Division command 30th Corps – Eitzer Dorfstrasse Eitze south-east Verden – relieved by HQ Royal Artillery 51st (Highland) Infantry Division command 30th Corps District – Drübber south of Verden 15 Jun 45

Dettingen and Kolberg Kaserne – later Caithness Barracks
Nampcel Kaserne Verden – later Sheil Barracks
Holzmarkt aka Cavalry Kaserne – later Gibraltar Barracks
all displaced persons camps according to an informative German website

126th (Highland) Field Regiment RA
127th (Highland) Field Regiment RA
were based in requisitioned accommodation in the immediate Verden area

by Jun 46  – 1st Battalion Gordon Highlanders from Muna Barracks Zeven – Sheil Barracks in transit until 6 Jun 46 – to 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division
by Jun 46  – HQ Royal Engineers 51st (Highland) Infantry Division from Harsefeld west of Buxtehude – Gibraltar Barracks – suspended animation order received 28 Jun 46

6 Jun 46 – HQ Royal Artillery 5th Infantry Division command 30th Corps District – Drübber south of Verden – to Nienburg the former HQ 30 Corps District location by Jul 46

Caithness Barracks
by Aug 46 – 5th Field Regiment RA from UK – to Austria
15 Sep 46 – 24th Field Regiment RA (Self Propelled) from Diepholz and Sulingen – to Fallingbostel
27 Sep 46 – 31st Field Regiment RA from Austria – to Drütte west of Wolfenbüttel by Oct 46

Sheil Barracks
by Aug 46 – 32nd Field Regiment RA from Wolfenbuttel

Gibraltar Barracks
in use units unknown

31 Oct 46 – 5th Infantry Division command now 1st Corps District

The following here is incorrect http://baor-locations.org/shielbks.aspx.html
HQ 7th Armoured Division – Aug 46 to Sep 47
Arrived from the Hamburg area then disbanded and merged with Hannover District Sep 47


JPW and myself have established from original documentation at Kew

1 Jul 46 – 7th Armoured Division from Albersdorf north-west of Itzehoe command 30th Corps District  – HQ Bad Rothenfelde north-west of Bielefeld – to command 1st Corps District 15 Jul 46 – relieving 52nd (Lowland) Infantry Division and 1st Polish Armoured Division 19 May 47 – units to Hannover District by 31 Dec 47 and the HQ disbanded 13 Feb 48

“History is a mystery and only as good as those who wrote it down”

However the truth is out there study
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