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brian beckett

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 Hamburg Altona Station RTO

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Tone587
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Places Served : Hannover..Hamburg
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PostSubject: Hamburg Altona Station RTO   3/8/2013, 22:42

I served in Hamburg from Sept 57 to April 59. I was part of 86 Movement Unit (Emb) RAF based originally with the Army in Uxbridge Barracks in Blankenese. Surprised not to see this camp listed under BAOR locations. Built in the 30's, I believe it was an Officer Training School before and during the war. ( I propose to add further to this piece in due course). I am currently gathering as much information/history re the military trains thet ran from 1945 to 1960.
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JPW
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PostSubject: Re: Hamburg Altona Station RTO   3/8/2013, 23:40

Tone

Welcome

Cuxhaven Steve and I have been researching the history of the early days of BAOR as a collaborative project for some four years now. We have details of over twenty locations (including Uxbridge Barracks) in Hamburg which had links to the British Army. Unfortunately the Master Pages are currently locked and we cannot add to or amend the information currently posted.

There are a number of railway enthusiasts who contribute to this forum, some of whom are also interested in the history of the BAOR Troop Trains (myself included)

Any information you are willing to share is always most welcome
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Tone587
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PostSubject: Re: Hamburg Altona Station RTO   6/8/2013, 23:03

Much interesting inf. gleaned from RAOC website re military trains. When time allows will outline my career at the RTO in Hamburg 1957/59
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Tone587
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PostSubject: Re: Hamburg Altona Station RTO   8/8/2013, 22:35

In July 57 I was posted to 86 Movement Unit (Emb.) RAF Hamburg. The unit consisted of a Flight Lieutenant O/C....2 Sergeants......2Corporals.... and 6 Airmen of assorted ranks. We were billeted with the Army at Uxbridge Barracks, Blankenese 7 miles from the city centre on the north bank of the Elbe. Our place of work was the RTO (Rail Transport Office) on Hamburg Altona Station the rail terminus. The office was situated in the right hand corner of the concourse. The front office had a counter to deal with callers.Behind this was an admin. area with phones and further back a large waiting room with armchairs, settees and curtains...all rather shabby. In one corner of the waiting room, a small alcove containing a gas hob and kettle ,the property of a Mr Loke of the Salvation Army. He could rustle up some basic fare plus drinks at reasonable prices, taking Marks as well as Baffs. (to be continued)
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Tone587
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PostSubject: Re: Hamburg Altona Station RTO   3/11/2013, 20:31

From July 57 to January 58 we were very comfortably accommodated by the Army in Uxbridge Barracks. We had a large room at the end of a long wooden hut. It slept four men...with lots of room...we even had a piano, which I played. How we obtained it I have no idea.
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Tone587
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PostSubject: Re: Hamburg Altona Station RTO   6/11/2013, 22:04

86 Mov. Unit Emb had an office in the main block at Uxbridge Barracks, and each day would send two cars ( a Beetle and Kombi mini bus ) with a Sergeant, Corporal and two airmen into the city to work at the RTO and in the Docks.
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Tone587
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PostSubject: Re: Hamburg Altona Station RTO   13/11/2013, 22:26

Billeted with the Army in Uxbridge Barracks, Blankenese was, on the whole a happy time for our small RAF unit. Parades were non existent, we shared NAAFI and Sport facilities and two of us....myself and a JT were drafted into the camp Drama Society...at short notice for an Autumn performance of Agatha Christie's " The Hollow"!! Christmas 1957 passed, and we learnt that the Barracks would be handed over to the new German army ( Bundeswehr).
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JPW
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PostSubject: Re: Hamburg Altona Station RTO   14/11/2013, 09:07

Tone

Keep these memories coming

Can you remember whether the Blue Train to the Hook included a NAAFI Buffet Car (the equivalent of a Mobile Canteen) as well as conventional Restaurant Cars?
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Tone587
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PostSubject: Re: Hamburg Altona Station RTO   16/11/2013, 22:48

During my time in Germany...Summer 57 to Spring 59 I do not recall a NAAFI Buffet car on the Blue Train.

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Cliffo
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PostSubject: Re: Hamburg Altona Station RTO   17/11/2013, 14:04

I can't recall there being one on the Green train in 52/54 either, Tone. Although they tell me on here that there was one. Aparently they were detached before they reached the Dutch border.
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JPW
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PostSubject: Re: Hamburg Altona Station RTO   17/11/2013, 19:44

Cliffo, Tone

I have photographic and documentary evidence that in the early 1950s NAAFI Buffet Cars were built to plans produced by HQ BAOR for use on the BAOR Troop Trains to and from the Hook but clearly for only a very short time.

It was me who produced the statement that they were not allowed to cross the border into Holland as Duty Free Beer, Cigarettes and some Spirits were sold on board.
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Tone587
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PostSubject: Re: Hamburg Altona Station RTO   17/11/2013, 20:59

To quote from The McNaughton Report.....Arrangements were made to have the coaches from the pool rehabilitated in Belgium by civil contract and over four hundred were thus repaired for the use of the British and US Forces in Germany. A small number of ex-MITROPA dining cars were included in the controlled pool but not sufficient to provide meals on all services, their use being restricted to such trains as the 'Rhine Army Special'. For use on the ordinary leave trains a number of third class coaches were stripped and converted to buffet cars. These cars were staffed by NAFFI , and served hot drinks ,minerals and light refreshments only. They were replaced in 1955 by fully equipped dining cars, rebuilt from normal German passenger stock acquired outright by the WD. These dining cars were staffed by the Compagnie Internationale des Wagon Lits on behalf of BAOR. The Hook of Holland services included three of these dining cars in each train, all passengers being provided withe full meal service.
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JPW
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PostSubject: Re: Hamburg Altona Station RTO   17/11/2013, 21:46

Tone

Thanks for that, you will see elsewhere in the McNaughton Report that there were a couple of purely internal BAOR services which ran from Hamburg to Cologne via all the major Garrisons including Bad O until the early 50s, the NAAFI Buffet Cars could have been designed for this type of service.
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PostSubject: Re: Hamburg Altona Station RTO   18/11/2013, 18:46

Do you know what route that Hamburg-Cologne train took? After two weeks in Germany I was posted from Sennelager to Duisburg and had to travel on normal German trains. As I remember, from Bad Lipspringer, changing at Paderborn and Hamm. The marshalling yards at Hamm were still in a mess, with many smashed-up wagons and broken and buckled rails and only the main through lines in a serviceable state.

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JPW
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PostSubject: Re: Hamburg Altona Station RTO   18/11/2013, 19:13

Cliffo

Route (with stops) was

Hamburg Altona-Hamburg HBF-Luneberg-Ulzen-Unterluss-Celle-Hannover HBF-Wunstorf-Buckeburg-Minden-Bad Oeynhausen-Herford-Bielefeld-Gutersloh-Hamm

then either Dortmund HBF-Bochum HBF-Essen HBF-Mulheim-Duisburg HBF-Dusseldorf HBF-Hilden-Cologne

alternative route (very unlikely) would be Hamm-Hagen HBF-Wuppetal HBF- Cologne

This was the last of the internal BAOR Troop Trains apart from the Berliner and ceased running in 1952. After that all internal moves within BAOR was by normal civilian train sometimes in reserved compartments.
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PostSubject: Re: Hamburg Altona Station RTO   18/11/2013, 19:44

Many thanks, JPW - knew you'd have the answer! - I first made that trip in Jan 53 - no reserved compartment, wooden seats for the first part and standing only for the rest of the journey.


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Tone587
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PostSubject: Re: Hamburg Altona Station RTO   18/11/2013, 22:16

New Year 1958 and what to do with the RAF Movement Control Unit now that they had to move out of Uxbridge Barracks. The Blue Train was still running into Hamburg Altona three times a week. This required staff to carry out reception and despatch duties on given days. Personnel with families would be driven to a Hostel somewhere in the northern suburbs (memory of exact location fails me here). They would then require picking up the following morning, and putting on the right trains to RAF Schleswig/ Westerland for example. Handling families coping with long and tiring journeys, whether officer's or NCO's , frequently required tact and diplomacy. For me, yet another benefit from my National Service....although I did not realise it at the time!!
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Tone587
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PostSubject: Re: Hamburg Altona Station RTO   27/11/2013, 21:51

The RTO in Hamburg was also responsible for dealing with 'Casevac' cases both Army and RAF covering the Northern sector of the British zone. Should a close relative back in the UK become dangerously ill, leave warrants would be issued and the individual met off the train and whisked to Hamburg Airport and home. The RTO was manned 24 hours daily and frequently helped the many service personnel on leave to visit the fleshpots of the Reeperbahn !
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PostSubject: Re: Hamburg Altona Station RTO   28/11/2013, 09:46

I can recall, around 1964/5, visiting a Bahnhof in Hannover to collect someone, I had to report to the RTOs office which was situated at the end of the platform. I don't think that it was the Hauptbahnhof as the view from the platform was of fields, any ideas?
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PostSubject: Re: Hamburg Altona Station RTO   28/11/2013, 16:34

Perhaps you were lost!
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PostSubject: Re: Hamburg Altona Station RTO   29/11/2013, 07:32

Shelldrake

The early 60s was a time of significant change in the BAOR-UK Transport arrangements coinciding withe end of National Service and an All Regular Army. The longstanding Harwich-Hook Ferry Service and connecting BAOR Troop Trains ceased, to be replaced by the Air Trooping System familiar to many of us with the BAOR Airheads at Dusseldorf, Gutersloh, Hannover and Wildenrath with the occasional Flight to Berlin.

At the same time the Berliner Troop Train became a daily daytime shuttle between Berlin (Charlottenburg) and Braunschweig (Brunswick) with connections to the rest of BAOR via Hannover.

The majority of RTO Offices therefore closed. however RTO Hannover remained as Hannover remained a major transport hub with connections to the major Garrisons throughout northern BAOR for passengers arriving/departing via Langenhagen Airport. However if my memory is correct the RTOs Office was off the main passenger concourse not one of the platforms.

However the RTO's Office was on the platform at the newly rebuilt open plan design station at Braunschweig. I wonder if you were collecting a passenger of the Berliner?
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PostSubject: Re: Hamburg Altona Station RTO   29/11/2013, 15:59

Thanks for the info JPW but it was definitely around Hannover, we were on exercise in Munsterlager Sud at the time? No matter!Mad 
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PostSubject: Re: Hamburg Altona Station RTO   5/12/2013, 15:53

So.......what to do with the RAF RTO unit previously lodged with the Army in Uxbridge Barracks, Blankenese, on the north bank of the Elbe. It was decided to billet us in the Hotel Stadt Altona in Schomburg Strasse....halfway between the station and the............Reeperbahn !! We moved in early 1958 and discovered...to our joy....that a detachment of RAF Police would be sharing our spartan facilities. We were to struggle with...two men to a room....en suite bathroom.....continental feather duvets and not allowed to make our own beds!! The 'Snowdrops' were required to perform escort duties with the frequent en bloc squadron moves from Jever, Oldenburg, Ahlhorn , Celle and Wunsdorf to the Bombing Range at RAF Sylt. This was a year round activity. Equally vital were their liaision duties with German police at the very well known Davidswache...just off the Reeperbahn. Here they would deal with all three services drunk and disorderly miscreants..eventually ( when they had sobered up) despatching them back to their units with a naughty note. I have tried (via their website ) to trace some very decent chaps but to no avail. There was also an Army Post Office unit based in a council house near the airport at Fuhlsbuttel. We had a NAAFI run to Luneburg on Saturdays and every fortnight a Flight Lieutenant Spicer would hold a pay parade in the RTO.. As a 2 year man my Geld soon disappeared as I cleared my slate back at the hotel........and I would cry into my feather pillow!!! (More to follow...back to the Blue Military train)
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PostSubject: Re: Hamburg Altona Station RTO   25/11/2014, 16:36

Where o'where did that year go? April 1958, with a year to serve...this SAC...living in luxury in a three star hotel in Hamburg...but was regularly pfennigless following the fortnightly pay parade. The slate behind the bar would require settling without fail. Any misdemeanour by any member of this detachment would find them posted.....to HQ 2TAF Moenchen Gladbach. Coming off duty at midnight most airmen were close to starvation...cold roast pork sandwiches ordered and the slate duly marked. The hotel was a mile from Altona station. and we had 2 VW Beatles and a Combi minibus on strength.
Cannot quite remember the exact shifts worked, but we were there to despatch the Military trains to the Hook of Holland daily at 9am and at around 7pm meet the incoming service from the Hook. So , wearing our red MCO armbands, we would meet the TCWO (Train Conducting Warrant Officer) and led to those needing our help. These were predominantly service families who would require transport to the Families Hostel and stay overnight.......to be picked up and put on the right service in the morning. In 1957, this train (the BLUE train) was considerably speeded up, reducing the 11 hour journey by 2 hours. running via Bentheim, Osnabruck and missing out Oldenburg and Bremen. This train finally stopped running to Hamburg in June 1958. Instead, from Osnabruck it reverted back to Oldenburg and Bremen, Soltau and terminated at Hannover.
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PostSubject: Re: Hamburg Altona Station RTO   26/11/2014, 13:47

Remember Hamburg station very well , I was always given the post job or guard duties on the journey from Hamburg, post was to drop off and pick up mail from all stations to the Hook. Guard duties was to escort prisoners also as far as the ship, Always the Vienna , Made the journey go very Quick.
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