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 CRERAR BARRACKS OLDENBURG

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JPW
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Number of posts : 1029
Age : 76
Localisation : Berkshire
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Places Served : Rotenburg Ploen Lippstadt Hamm Wetter Minden Munster Bielefeldt Dusseldorf
Registration date : 2008-11-09

PostSubject: CRERAR BARRACKS OLDENBURG   15/9/2014, 10:18

Help please

I am continuing my detailed research into the British/Canadian presence along the Freisland coast in the immediate post war period

Oldenburg was a traditional longstanding German Garrison town which after its capture in early May 1945 became a significant Canadian later British base.

One of the Barracks was renamed Crerar after the Commander of the 1st Canadian Army and retained this name until the departure of the British in 1958. However I have been unable to establish exactly where it was in the town. Flash one of our earlier major contributors, but sadly now departed produced, a superb overlay to compliment Google Earth showing over a 100 BAOR Barracks but sadly not Crerar.

Can any of our senior members help? I believe in later years it could have been the location of Headquarters 5 AGRA and one the subordinate, conventional not missile,Anti Aircraft Gunner Regiments
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JPW
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Number of posts : 1029
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Registration date : 2008-11-09

PostSubject: Re: CRERAR BARRACKS OLDENBURG   18/9/2014, 19:19

Thanks to some superb detective work by Archie who found a German language history of the Bundeswehr Garrison in Oldenburg I now have an accurate location for Crerar Barracks (known as Clausewitz Kaserne in the Bundeswehr era) and substantially rebuilt to create sheltered accommodation for the elderly when the Bundeswehr though the original buildings can still be recognised on Google Earth

Astonishingly (and this is confirmed by a British Source) the Barracks were renamed Gale Barracks in the very last days of its existence as a British Barracks in March 1958. General Sir Richard Gale had been the wartime Commander of 6th Airborne Division, CinC BAOR in the mid 1950s and had just been appointed NATO D SACEUR.

Next supplementary question is to establish what was the original Hitler era name for the Barracks
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Archie
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Places Served : Bordon, Osnabrück, Paderborn (twice), Gütersloh (thrice!), Belize, Canada, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan
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PostSubject: Re: CRERAR BARRACKS OLDENBURG   18/9/2014, 21:50

Glad to have helped JPW.  I'm already on the case regarding the barracks pre WW2 history.  This is proving to be a lot more difficult though. Something to really get my teeth into!
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steve
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PostSubject: Re: CRERAR BARRACKS OLDENBURG   19/9/2014, 09:38

Archie and JPW

Also have an interest being part of 1 Corps District May 46 to Jul 47...Google Donneischwee Kaserne could be the same place
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Archie
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PostSubject: Re: CRERAR BARRACKS OLDENBURG   19/9/2014, 17:02

Hello Steve,

That option was one of my immediate thoughts on the matter but it isn't Donnerswchwee.  I'm 100% sure of that.  The fate of Donnerschwee was similar to that of Crerar.  Donnerschwee Kaserne was (is) in the Donnerschwee Stadteil.  Crerar/Gale/Clausewitz is in Ohmstede.  The two districts neighbour each other and a quick scan of Donnerschwee (NE of Ohmstede) will easily reveal the camp.

The shape of the buildings and layout of Donnerschwee Kaserne are vastly different to that of Crerar. I now also have access to 10 photos (need owners permission to publish/link them) which were taken during a visit to Crerar/Clausewitz in 2007. The guy who took them served there in the 1990's and says that the buildings are pretty much unchanged since the 1950's. Obviously they have been renovated and there are several outer staircases added since his time there.

I believe I may well have got to the bottom of the Crerar story but still need to do some studying and translations to verify a few bits and pieces.

More to follow...

Archie
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steve
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PostSubject: Re: CRERAR BARRACKS OLDENBURG   19/9/2014, 18:31

Hi Archie

Have found several garrisons in Germany with barracks alongside each other...for example...Luneburg...Kiel...Itzehoe...Osnabrück

Please send me a PM with your email address so I can send you a copy of the 1944 map of Oldenburg that might help to clear things up

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

Best regards
Steve
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JPW
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Number of posts : 1029
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Places Served : Rotenburg Ploen Lippstadt Hamm Wetter Minden Munster Bielefeldt Dusseldorf
Registration date : 2008-11-09

PostSubject: Re: CRERAR BARRACKS OLDENBURG   19/9/2014, 20:50

It might be helpful if I were to summarise my current data base on Oldenburg. It is very much work in progress with Steve, now Archie, and some of our Canadian contributors on the case. We have yet to identify exact details of which British Gunner Regiments occupied which Barracks and when.

An outline timeline for the British Canadian presence in Oldenburg is

Early May 1945 Town captured by 4th Canadian Armoured Division reinforced by 27 Infantry Battalion Royal Marines

Late May 1945 4th Canadian Armoured Division depart for Holland replaced by Elements of 2nd Canadian Infantry Division and the British 4th Army Group Royal Artillery (4 AGRA).

Early July 1945 2 Canadian Infantry Division departs for Holland. 4 AGRA assumes total responsibility for the Oldenburg and the surrounding area under command 3rd Canadian Infantry Division (CAOF).Oldenburg Airfield becomes the major logistic base for the CAOF.

March 1946 3 Canadian Infantry Division depart for Canada replaced by elements of 52 Lowland Division (with reduced responsibilities)

By July 1946 both 52 Lowland Division and 4 AGRA disband. Replaced in Ost Friesland by Headquarters Artillery Regiment 7 Armoured Division, atleast one Regiment based in Oldenburg.

Late Summer 1949 7 Armour Division Artillery assets redeploy elsewhere in BAOR. Replaced in Oldenburg by Headquarters 5 Army Group Royal Artillery (the conventional BAOR Air Defence Brigade) and atleast one Regiment

Summer 1958 5 AGRA disbands and the British presence in Oldenburg ends.

Summary of Barracks known to have been occupied by British / Canadian units

Alexanderfeldt
Former Luftwaffe Airfield to the west of Oldenburg. Facilities severely damaged by bombing and in the final battle for Oldenburg
There was a proposal to rename the Aifield Winnipeg Barracks but is doubtful whether the name was adopted in practise. There is documentary evidence to show that the Canadians referred to the Airfield as Alexander Field Airport, there is anecdotal evidence that the British may have referred to the area as Princess Elizabeth Field for a time.


Crerar/Gale Barracks. Original Hitler era name for the barracks as yet unknown
Location
N New Housing
E Clausewitzstrasse
S Muhlenhofweg
W Eutinerstrasse

Now known as AMARITA Buildings

Dragona Kaserne Original Garrison Barracks in the centre of town located off Dragonastrasse British era name not yet known

Donnerschauwee Kaserne (there is documentary evidence to show that the Barracks was also referred to as FLAK Kaserne). There was a Canadian proposal to rename the Barracks Regina but is doubtful if it was used in practise
Location
N Amergaustrasse
E Schliefenstrasse
S Kasernenstrasse
W Graf Speestrasse

Hindenburg Kaserne Kregenbruck
There was a Canadian proposal to rename the Barracks Saskatoon but again it is doubtful whether the name was used in practise

There are two possible locations
1. N An der Kolochwee
E Cloppenburgerstrasse
S Jail?
W Canal

or 2 N Kloppenburgerstrasse
E Industriehof
S Jail
W New Build Industrial Estate

There was also a British Military Hospital in the town. It opened in 1946 replacing the Canadian Base Hospital in Wilhelmshaven, it closed in 1952 and was replaced by RAF Hospital Rostrup
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Archie
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PostSubject: Re: CRERAR BARRACKS OLDENBURG   20/9/2014, 07:26

Good that you wrote this summary JPW as I appear to be geographically challenged! Above I stated Donnerschwee is north of Crerar when I should have realised my blunder and stated that it's actually to the south!

Apologies gents.
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gulbarman
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PostSubject: Gale Barracks, Oldenburg   7/4/2015, 22:02

I served with the Royal Signals from Feb 56 and was, in August 56, posted to the then named Gale Barracks in Oldenburg attached to an R A Battery and it still had that name till i was posted to Krefeld when 5th AGRA was disbanded in 1958. Crerar Barracks were sited more towards the Town I hope this helps clarify the actual name of the Barracks from 1956-1958. By the way i enjoyed my stay there.
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Archie
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Number of posts : 24
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Places Served : Bordon, Osnabrück, Paderborn (twice), Gütersloh (thrice!), Belize, Canada, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan
Registration date : 2008-05-04

PostSubject: Re: CRERAR BARRACKS OLDENBURG   8/4/2015, 04:24

Hello gulbarman,

Nice to hear from you and that is very helpful indeed. I've sent you a private message.

Thanks,

Archie
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JPW
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Number of posts : 1029
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Localisation : Berkshire
Cap Badge : REME
Places Served : Rotenburg Ploen Lippstadt Hamm Wetter Minden Munster Bielefeldt Dusseldorf
Registration date : 2008-11-09

PostSubject: Re: CRERAR BARRACKS OLDENBURG   8/4/2015, 07:12

gulbarman

Welcome and thank you for your input which could provide a very useful lead on the history of Gale Barracks which has been puzzling Historic Steve, Archie and I (and local German military history enthusiasts).
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steve
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PostSubject: Re: CRERAR BARRACKS OLDENBURG   8/4/2015, 10:26

Many thanks and welcome gulbarman

To add: General Sir Richard Nelson "Windy" Gale GCB, KBE, DSO, MC was commander-n-chief BAOR and commander NATO’s Northern Army Group (NORTHAG) 1952 to 1957, source Wiki

The building of Gale Barracks was clearly completed in 1952 and named accordingly, according to a 1944 map there were no barracks at this location

At the same time Crerar Barracks was refurbished, with 5 AGRA Sig Sqn in Delmenhorst waiting for the work to be completed, moving in mid 1952

“The truth is out there”
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