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 Canadian Signal Troop assigned to HQ NORTHAG Rheindahlen

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Dan M
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PostSubject: Canadian Signal Troop assigned to HQ NORTHAG Rheindahlen   25/12/2013, 21:37

I have a copy of the SD1 Letter that authorizes the organization and despatch of a 58 person Signal Troop from Canada to Rheindahlen to become a part of the UK Signal Regiment (Operating) at HQ NORTHAG.  Within the UK Signal Regiment they were to be the Communications Centre Operating Troop.  Its Canadian designation was the NORTHAG Signal Troop and it was carried as Increment 'B' to HQ 4 CIBG in Soest.

After organizing at Barriefield (the home of the RC Sigs and Sigs School) the entire troop was to be in situ by mid February, 1962.  As far as I'm aware they served there until the Canadians moved to CENTAG in October, 1970.  While there would have been individual Canadian staff officers assigned to NORTHAG, this is the only information that I have found of a formed unit being likewise.  In fact, this signal troop and the ordnance unit in Antwerp are the only Canadian units in Europe I've found to have been employed outside of the Soest area.

But this information has led to some questions (some would say bone questions) that I have, which I hope can be answered here.

1)  Would the UK Signal Regiment (Operating) at HQ NORTHAG that is given in the Canadian order have been the same as the 28th Signal Regiment?

2)  What is the difference between Rheindahlen and Mönchengladbach?  Are they two different places or interchangeable names for one place?

3)  What some posters on this site have described as the 'Kremlin' is the same building referred to as the JHQ on the BAOR Locations site.  Is it the same building that would have housed the 28th Signal Regiment, or would it have been located elsewhere?

Thanks for any help.

Cheers,
Dan.
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PostSubject: Re: Canadian Signal Troop assigned to HQ NORTHAG Rheindahlen   25/12/2013, 22:12

Dan

The detailed answer to your question is definitely one for the well informed Royal Signals contributors to this site some of whom have served in the M-G area if not the actual Headquarters

M-G and Rheindahlen are two separate locations. Rheindahlen was a small village to the west of the city of M-G which was developed in the early 1950s to become a self contained military community containing the NORTHAG Headquarters, mainly populated by the British but with other NATO representation.

The main JHQ was variously known as "The Big House", "The White House" or "The Kremlin".
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PostSubject: Re: Canadian Signal Troop assigned to HQ NORTHAG Rheindahlen   26/12/2013, 09:16

The answer to q1 is yes
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PostSubject: Re: Canadian Signal Troop assigned to HQ NORTHAG Rheindahlen   26/12/2013, 11:24

Dan, at the time of the RC Sigs being sent off to Rheindahlen the school for RC Sigs was in Vimy Barracks ( always was and still is. The original school was in Borden) across the road from Barriefield. In those days they were two separate camps. This was before we had Canadian Forces Base titles. A posting to Rheindalen was considered a jammy go. No exercises in the field and just regular shift work. If I remember correctly, they also wore the British Div. or Corp patch and not the Red Patch (1st Cdn. Div) as we did in 4 CIBG.
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PostSubject: Re: Canadian Signal Troop assigned to HQ NORTHAG Rheindahlen   27/12/2013, 07:45

Dan A  reply from someone who was there



The Canadians worked at Tongeren in the caves 3 days on 3 days off I was 28 Sigs and we shared the same barrack block they were part of 4CMBG based at Soest and they left Rheindalen about 1968 when the Canadians all moved down to Lahr
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PostSubject: Re: Canadian Signal Troop assigned to HQ NORTHAG Rheindahlen   27/12/2013, 15:00

A small correction there Gord. 4 CIBG didn't move down to Lahr & Baden until 1970. I rotated out from Iserlohn in Dec. 68. At which time the Bde. was putting considerable money into Fort Qu'appelle on taking if over from the Green Jackets in Iserlohn in 68. Now all gone except for the gymnasium. The Bde. became 4 CMBG on going down south and being downsized. I arrived back in Lahr in 1971 just in time to get out on our first Bde. exercises with HQ's & Sigs. 4 CMBG. The Bde was downsized because King Pierre Trudeau our P.M. at the time who sniveled his way out of WW 2 had no use for the Canadian Forces until he needed them to save his political bacon during the FLQ Crisis in Canada. The old 4 CIBG was considered more of a light division by the BOAR than a Brigade. Our present govt. since realizing it was gaining no political points by being in Afghanistan, has also started to revert to down sizing and starving the military with lack of equipment, training and not accepting responsibility of it's veterans.
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PostSubject: Re: Canadian Signal Troop assigned to HQ NORTHAG Rheindahlen   27/12/2013, 16:50

Thanks Dan for your informative post

At this time 28th (BR) Signal Regiment had their RHQ in Francisca Barracks, St Tönis near Krefeld with a squadron stationed in JHQ along with other NATO troops

The information regarding the former Mons Barracks/Fort Qu'Appelle/Winklemann Kaserne today is not quite correct...now known as Wohnpark Buchenwäldchen

The barracks in Iserlohn where only the gymnasium stands is probably meaning Aldershot Barracks/Bernard Hülsmann Kaserne...also not 100% correct as the MT garages were still there a few years ago and clearly built pre May 45…the Officers Mess still stands but that was built much later probably when HQ 5 Inf Bde took over the barracks in 1947 on the disbandment of HQ 1 Corps District

Belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
http://britisharmyiniserlohn.blogspot.de


Last edited by steve on 27/12/2013, 16:54; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Finger trouble)
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PostSubject: Re: Canadian Signal Troop assigned to HQ NORTHAG Rheindahlen   27/12/2013, 17:07

Thanks to everyone for the replies.  Since I've taken an interest in the JHQ site, I've discovered a lot of things of which I hadn't previously been aware.  The building itself, for example.  Not one contiguous structure, but 20 smaller buildings connected by four parallel corridors.  I don't know whether that was done for esthetics or as part of a nuclear strike survivability plan.  Probably a little bit of both.

I've also read that the Army occupied one wing, and the RAF the other.  Does anyone remember which service had which?  And was the building ever given a formal name?  JHQ sounds like a relatively modern designation, post-80's I would think.  What would it have been called in the 50's and 60's?

Paul, thanks for the heads up re: Francisca Barracks at St Tönis.  I can't find any mention of St Tönis on the map (wiki or google).  Can you remember where it was located?

Gordon, I'm sorry but I have no idea what you mean by 'the caves.'  And I can't find Tongeren.

I've just noticed that Steve has replied stating that St Tönis is near Krefeld, so I'll have another look.

Again, thanks for all the info.

Cheers,
Dan.
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PostSubject: Re: Canadian Signal Troop assigned to HQ NORTHAG Rheindahlen   27/12/2013, 18:47

Steve are you mixing up Fort Beausejour (our armoured fort) with Fort Qu'appelle? I drove through the old Fort Qu'appelle (Winkleman Kaserne) and all I saw was new apt. buildings and the old Gym. When I was posted there the officers mess was in pre-war buildings. I know that some of the barracks in Fort Beausejour are now apartments and the MT buildings were still there. A new Jnr. Ranks canteen was built in Beausejour and that is gone.
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PostSubject: Re: Canadian Signal Troop assigned to HQ NORTHAG Rheindahlen   27/12/2013, 22:35

From the RCS website

NORTHAG Canadian Signal Troop
Information:
On 4 February 1963, this Canadian signal troop, along with the other elements of the Signals Division Headquarters NATO Northern Army Group (NORTHAG) was re-deployed from Rheindahlen to 3 Joint Signal Centre. It was mandated to provide signal support to NORTHAG Headquarters. The NORTHAG Canadian Signal Troop was deleted from the establishment on 1 July 1970, with its personnel returning to Canada or being relocated among other units in Europe.
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PostSubject: Re: Canadian Signal Troop assigned to HQ NORTHAG Rheindahlen   27/12/2013, 22:58

Tongeren caves. was known as 3JSC.

See RAF Tongeren
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PostSubject: Re: Canadian Signal Troop assigned to HQ NORTHAG Rheindahlen   27/12/2013, 23:29

You guys are amazing.  I had never heard about the Signal Troop's move to Belgium.  Thanks, again.

Peter, I just today found St Tönis.  (Those clever map people used the German spelling.)  It seems a long commute for a soldier barracked in St Tönis to a place of duty in Rheindahlen.  I hope they got gasoline allowance.

Without straying too far off topic, I have some trivia about Fort Qu'Appelle.  The Canadians did not establish an officer's mess on the site.  The Artillery, Ordnance Corps, and Service Corps officers who were stationed there were expected to walk 10 minutes down the strasse to Fort Beausejour and dine with (shudder) the Cavalry.  I suppose it was felt that with Qu'Appelle hosting only an artillery battery and a supply and transport company there was insufficient need (or the resources) for a second mess so close to the first.

And now, back to Rheindahlen. Anyone have any idea what it was known as in the 50's and 60's?

Cheers,
Dan.
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PostSubject: Re: Canadian Signal Troop assigned to HQ NORTHAG Rheindahlen   28/12/2013, 01:53

Hey Dan, we weren't just some artillery battery. We were 1 SSM Bty RCA. Honest John Rockets with a nuclear delivery capability. The other thing I don't understand is about an officers mess. The officers used a building on the other side of a brick wall by our parking lot in front of our barracks. It was definitely more than a 10 minute walk to Fort Beausejour from Fort Qu'Appelle.
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PostSubject: Re: Canadian Signal Troop assigned to HQ NORTHAG Rheindahlen   28/12/2013, 08:21

HQ BAOR moved from Bad Oeynhausen to Rheindahlen in October 1954, centralising headquarters functions previously located across several towns in Northern Germany. It was originally the HQ of the Northern Army Group (NORTHAG), Second Allied Tactical Air Force (2ATAF), British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) and Royal Air Force Germany (RAFG). In those days, Rheindahlen was populated with British, American, German, Dutch, Belgian, Australian and Canadian military personnel (and in many cases, also their families).
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PostSubject: Re: Canadian Signal Troop assigned to HQ NORTHAG Rheindahlen   28/12/2013, 09:14

Hardrations wrote:
Steve are you mixing up Fort Beausejour (our armoured fort) with Fort Qu'appelle? I drove through the old Fort Qu'appelle (Winkleman Kaserne) and all I saw was new apt. buildings and the old Gym. When I was posted there the officers mess was in pre-war buildings. I know that some of the barracks in Fort Beausejour are now apartments and the MT buildings were still there. A new Jnr. Ranks canteen was built in Beausejour and that is gone.

Good morning Hardrations at Winklemann Kaserne the guard room and many of the blocks have been converted to form Wohnpark Buchenwaldchen not sure about the gym though

Fort Beausejour is not what I was referring to this is previously Epson Barracks formally Seydlitz Kaserne in 1970 when 26 Engr Regt moved in renamed Corunna Barracks...where I was stationed 77-79...the barracks is more or less complete and converted a couple of blocks and the gym have been demolished

My reference was to Flak Kaserne/Aldershot Barracks/Bernard Hülsmann Kaserne...never occupied by the Canadians the last unit was HQ 4 Guards Bde who handed over to the German Airforce in 1968
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PostSubject: Re: Canadian Signal Troop assigned to HQ NORTHAG Rheindahlen   28/12/2013, 09:28

Hardrations wrote:
Hey Dan, we weren't just some artillery battery. We were 1 SSM Bty RCA. Honest John Rockets with a nuclear delivery capability. The other thing I don't understand is about an officers mess. The officers used a building on the other side of a brick wall by our parking lot in front of our barracks. It was definitely more than a 10 minute walk to Fort Beausejour from Fort Qu'Appelle.

If you check here http://goo.gl/EqLVbM you will see the 1948 locations including the officers messes that would have been taken over by the Canadians...the 10 Hussars mess was the 26 Engr Regt mess from 1970
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PostSubject: Re: Canadian Signal Troop assigned to HQ NORTHAG Rheindahlen   28/12/2013, 09:35

Dan (and others)

If you enter 28 Signal Regiment (Army Group) into your computer search engine one of the options you should come up with is

Royal Corps of Signals Unit Histories 1920-2001

Within this is a synopsis of the history of 28 starting with its origins in the Herford area in the early 1950s as 4 Lines of Communication Signal Regiment. A move to Rheindahlen and renaming followed in 1959.

In the 1960s RHQ and one Squadron were in St Tonis, a Command Group and two Squadrons were permanently based in Rheindahlen. The Canadian  presence and Tongeren are also mentioned

Regretably due to my age and "steam REME" background I lack the necessary IT skills to provide a direct link to this site. others more computer savvy may be able to do so.

Gordon mentions the significant RAF presence in Rheindahlen. welshexport63, who still lives in the area, posted a number of contributions based on his experiences fairly recently. I will pm him and see if he can add anything to this discussion.
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PostSubject: Rheindahlen and Mönchengladbach   28/12/2013, 11:16

These are two different places, Monchengladbach is a large City situated about 8 miles from the military complex which has just closed this month known as JHQ Rheindahlen. The Joint Headquarters was built in 1953 it was built on a vast area of land known as Rheindahlen Wald (woods). These woods were between two towns one was MG Hardt the other MG Rheindahlen. JHQ took its name after Rheindahlen. HQ NORTHAG Transport Unit was situated at the rear of the main headquarters, I haven't got any info on 28 sigs, I arrived at JHQ in 1983 and still live locally. I know the NORTHAG Transport Unit was there all through the 80's when they left it was taken over by the ARRC Transport Unit. Here is a link to my Poetry website I have put a few pages on there about HQ Rheindahlen in the menu on the left is a link to some Black and White photo's there is a reference to the ADC COMNORTHAG in one of those pictures. The link is below
http://www.poetrycommunicates.com/jhqframeset.htm

I hope some of this information is of some help to you

Regards Richard
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PostSubject: Re: Canadian Signal Troop assigned to HQ NORTHAG Rheindahlen   28/12/2013, 14:53

I was in RAOC from 1958 to 1971. I married a WRAC girl from 28 Signal Regt in Sep 67. Our first MQ was located in Wagner Strasse Wickrath a few miles from Rheindahlen village and the HQ BAOR/NORTHAG/2 ATAF complex. These streets comrised 4 story apartment blocks. They looked horrible from the outside but within, compared with what was usually doled out in other Army locations they were excellent.

The next street Beethoven Strasse housed the Married folks from what we called the Canadian Signal Squadron. The Canadians were still there in 1970 when we departed for UK.

We got on well with individuals but as a group they and the Brits were not close. The most surprising thing was the number of fatal car accidents they had for such a relatively small group. Naturally they drove large cars.
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