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 Luneburg 1954/5

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Smudge35
LCpl
LCpl


Number of posts : 5
Age : 82
Localisation : Sunderland
Cap Badge : RAF
Places Served : Hednesford, Yatesbury, Sundern, Luneburg
Registration date : 2015-05-18

PostSubject: Luneburg 1954/5   18/5/2015, 10:50

Hello to all former RAF personnel who served at Luneburg.
My name is Ray Smith and I am now 80 years old. I live in Sunderland and have done all my life.
I was posted to RAF Sundern in January 1954, fresh from radar operator training at Yatesbury. From Sundern I was posted to Luneburg and stayed there for all of my time in Germany, from January 1954 to August 1955. During that time I had two home leaves but twice returned to Luneburg. I can say without hesitation that my time there was wonderful and I made some very good friends from all over the UK. Sadly, contact with them has faded after so many years but the memories remain as fresh as though my service was in more recent years!
It would be great to hear from anyone who remembers me from all those years ago and who, like me, considers that National Service was of great benefit to all who served. Of course there are exceptions to that statement but, in my memory, moaners were very few in number. The good times far outweighed the bad times and this country would be a better place to live if National Service had continued.
When I work out how to post images I will add some.
Ray Smith
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Smudge35
LCpl
LCpl


Number of posts : 5
Age : 82
Localisation : Sunderland
Cap Badge : RAF
Places Served : Hednesford, Yatesbury, Sundern, Luneburg
Registration date : 2015-05-18

PostSubject: Re: Luneburg 1954/5   21/5/2015, 21:54

Further to my first post I would like to describe what RAF Luneburg was like when I arrived there in 1954.At that time, in January 1954, Luneburg was occupied by the RAF Regiment and our quarters were in the original Luftwaffe barracks - big stone buildings not far in from the main gate. A short time after my arrival the RAF Regiment moved out, leaving only us in 114 SU. Before much longer the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders moved into the barracks and the personnel of 114 SU were moved to the previous Station W.O's flat above the offices and fire station. The flat consisted of four rooms which we used as bedrooms, a bathroom and a kitchen. As there were never more than about fourteen of us in the unit, the flat proved to be big enough and was really a home from home. Sergeant Crowther was in charge of the unit and he lived in married quarters somewhere off the camp. He was a lovely chap who treated us all with kindness and consideration and I regarded him more as a father than our chief. We had no officers and we were paid every two weeks by an officer and an NCO who travelled up from Celle. No officers meant no bull or parades - paradise!
The radar site was in the centre of the grass airfield and consisted of three vehicles. The radar cabin, the wireless cabin and a 6 cylinder Lister diesel engined generator, all mounted on rather elderly vehicles. Transport to and from the site was via a large flat-fronted Thornycroft lorry with a canvas tilt on the back. That particular vehicle came to a sad end when it went up in flames one dark winter night just prior to taking three of us to take part in a night radar exercise. It was replaced by a Bedford truck from Sundern after the Thornycroft driver and myself had to attend an Enquiry at Sundern. Our explanation of the circumstances of the loss was accepted and we beat a hasty retreat back to Luneburg with considerable relief.
I will continue this account soon and sincerely hope that you enjoy reading it.
Ray Smith (Smudger)
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JPW
Let Gen
Let Gen


Number of posts : 1039
Age : 76
Localisation : Berkshire
Cap Badge : REME
Places Served : Rotenburg Ploen Lippstadt Hamm Wetter Minden Munster Bielefeldt Dusseldorf
Registration date : 2008-11-09

PostSubject: Re: Luneburg 1954/5   2/6/2015, 08:59

Smudge

Welcome, my best mate at Boarding School lived in Luneburg where his father was serving with the 8th Hussars

A few of us are investigating the Army presence in Luneburg, your comments on the RAF presence are very welcome and useful. keep them coming please
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Smudge35
LCpl
LCpl


Number of posts : 5
Age : 82
Localisation : Sunderland
Cap Badge : RAF
Places Served : Hednesford, Yatesbury, Sundern, Luneburg
Registration date : 2015-05-18

PostSubject: Re: Luneburg 1954/5   2/6/2015, 11:14

Hello JPW,
It's really good to hear from someone re my posts. At my age it is quite likely that many of the people I served with are long gone, which is sad, but probably true. Any response is therefore very welcome and I am happy to tell you what I recall about Luneburg.
As I stated in my last post the ex-Luftwaffe airfield barracks were taken over by the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders quite early in 1954 and they were still there when my time was up in August 1955. I have a wealth of memories regarding these Scottish warriors and can say that they were splendid fellows, in the main. They sometimes got a bit rowdy during evening sessions in the NAAFI at which times we of the Brylcreem variety made rapidly for the door. Despite those occasional lapses they were a very friendly bunch who would sell you a pair of boots at any time in order to raise funds for another NAAFI trip.
I seem to be digressing from answering your quest for information about army units in Luneburg so I will return to business. As I recall there were at least three other regiments in various barracks in Luneburg. Two if these were quite close to the airfield. I believe that they were named Alma Barracks and Wyvern Barracks. The Irish Hussars (?) occupied one and the Welsh Fusiliers (?) the other. Please excuse my lack of certainty on these regimental names but, being in the RAF my interest lay there. St.Patrick's Day and St.David's day were celebrated in the usual fashion and Luneburger hostelries were best avoided at those times. I believe that quite a bit of Celtic blood was shed in and around Luneburg and the barracks too. It is in the back of my mind somewhere that the Royal Signals had a presence in another barracks but I could be wrong. There may well have been other regiments too as, at times, it seemed that Luneburg was populated solely by khaki clad figures.
Time can dull the memory, as well as the senses, so please forgive the paucity of what I have been able to tell you. I have looked quite often at Google Earth and its revealing overhead views of Luneburg and my mind slips back in time so easily to the far-off days of 1954/5. The airfield is still there, with its control tower and enormous hangars but most of it has been built on. The road system around the airfield has changed too but the big barrack blocks mentioned earlier are still there.
I do hope that this has been of some use to you. Please feel free to keep in touch and if I later remember more about the army in Luneburg I will post more.
Smudge (ex RAF, 2702183)
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JPW
Let Gen
Let Gen


Number of posts : 1039
Age : 76
Localisation : Berkshire
Cap Badge : REME
Places Served : Rotenburg Ploen Lippstadt Hamm Wetter Minden Munster Bielefeldt Dusseldorf
Registration date : 2008-11-09

PostSubject: Re: Luneburg 1954/5   3/6/2015, 09:26

Smudge

Thank you for your latest input, very interesting to me. Had not realsed the RAF Radar Detachments were so small. Presumably you were part of the RAF Radar Chain which stretched from the Baltic Coast through the British Zone to the Harz Mountains and the Winterburg area. and you wee looking for possible illegal Soviet flights into the British Zone not RAF Air Traffic Control.

Regarding the 8th Hussars, this was the shortened form of their then title, officially they were the 8th Kings Royal Irish Hussars. Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, was apponted Royal Colonel in Chief durig their time in Luneburg, were you there when he made his first official visit to the Regiment? Was amused by comments regarding the behaviour of the young Scottish National Servicemen, the same story could be repeated throughout BAOR. Officially the Cameron Highlands recruited from the rural Highlands of North West Scotland and the Western Isles but to bring the Battalion up to strength drafts were often sent from the Glasgow area hence the more lively behaviour at times.
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BobG
Lt Col
Lt Col


Number of posts : 328
Age : 78
Localisation : Northumberland
Cap Badge : REME
Places Served : Rotenburg, Verden, Liebenau, Hohne, Hamm, Duisburg, Minden, Hannover, Fallingbostal, Kuwait, UK, HK, USA/Can.
Registration date : 2008-02-27

PostSubject: Re: Luneburg 1954/5   3/6/2015, 17:25

JPW. Greetings, when Rotenburg closed down I was posted for about six months to the 8 KRIH LAD in 58, left them upon amalgamation and was posted to Verden. At that time the HLI were the occupants of the airfield camp with the South Staffs across town, needless to say this led to many eventfull Saturday nights in town. It was SOP for the REME lads to sit at a table with good lines of retreat.

Happy days

BobG
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steve
LE Maj
LE Maj
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Number of posts : 768
Age : 68
Localisation : near Cuxhaven
Cap Badge : Royal Signals + Royal Engineers
Places Served : Verden-Aller + Willich + Iserlohn + Hameln
Registration date : 2010-02-14

PostSubject: Re: Luneburg 1954/5   3/6/2015, 18:48

Have been working on the early days of Lüneburg however research not yet complete

http://baor-locations.org/StBarbarasLunebrurg.aspx.html
Is not correct

Bristol Barracks was north of Worcester Barracks and a displaced person camp until Apr 46

15 Apr 46 – HQ 30th Corps District from Neinburg to Bristol Barracks formally Artillerie Kaserne – disbanded 1 Nov 46

30 Oct 46 – HQ 4th Armoured Brigade from Bomlitz north of Fallingbostel command HQ BAOR to Bristol Barracks formally Artillerie Kaserne command now 5th Infantry Division

More information to follow

The truth is out there study
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Smudge35
LCpl
LCpl


Number of posts : 5
Age : 82
Localisation : Sunderland
Cap Badge : RAF
Places Served : Hednesford, Yatesbury, Sundern, Luneburg
Registration date : 2015-05-18

PostSubject: Re: Luneburg 1954/5   8/6/2015, 19:46

Hello again from Smudge,
In response to JPW may I say that you are right that RAF Luneburg was just a small part of a much longer chain of radar stations. I can't confirm that all the German locations were staffed by so few personnel as I was only ever at Luneburg. Our task was to oversee all aircraft bound from Hamburg to Berlin and ensure that they were on track within the air corridor allowed by the Russians. We could not contact any aircraft ourselves but all radar information was passed to RAF Sundern. I assume that they had the ability to make such contact as was necessary.

I have seen references to RAF Oldenburg and I had a brief sojourn there in the summer of 1954. Myself and two others of our unit had to go there for two days to take an exam prior to promotion from LAC to SAC. It was an active flying station and I can remember seeing both Vampires and F-83's? The former alighting like butterflies and the latter like dustcarts. Maybe a little bias there?

The Duke of Edinburgh visited Luneburg on 24th June 1954 to inspect the Cameron Highlanders. I can say with certainty that he only visited Luneburg, via the airfield, once during my time there and that was on the date just mentioned. He arrived on an RAF DeHavilland Dove and it was rumoured at the time that he had piloted the aircraft himself, but I don't know if that was true. During the visit he was presented with a silver claymore. I took ten photographs of the occasion and these are still in my possession. It is interesting to note that there was no security posted around the plane and I was able to take pictures from a very short distance away. Life was so different then.

As I said in a previous post, the Highlanders were a friendly bunch and we, of the RAF Signals Unit, ate all our meals in their cookhouse. Christmas Day of 1954 was a very memorable event. We had no officers of our own and to be served by army officers was a great treat for us. The Scots cooks dished up an excellent meal which was marred just a little by the inclusion of reconstituted potato mash known as Pom. It used to stick to upturned plates without difficulty and was said to date back to the Great War. I'm sure that many people will remember it.

By the way, it has come to me that the airfield and barracks thereon were possibly Alma Barracks in reality although I never realised that at the time. Any Cameron Highlander who billeted there will know for sure.

Regards to one and all, Smudge.
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Smudge35
LCpl
LCpl


Number of posts : 5
Age : 82
Localisation : Sunderland
Cap Badge : RAF
Places Served : Hednesford, Yatesbury, Sundern, Luneburg
Registration date : 2015-05-18

PostSubject: Re: Luneburg 1954/5   26/8/2015, 19:24

Hello again from Smudge.
  This may not be the right place for reminiscences so forgive me for my indulgence. My memory hasn't held on to much of service life as such in Luneburg, so these ramblings are more of a social nature. But hey, life wasn't all about marching, saluting, parading, etc., so here goes.

  At last I've found time to follow up to previous posts re service life in Luneburg sixty odd years ago and I'll start by describing some of the local hostelries.
  One such place was known as "The Bucket of Blood", so called because of the red liquid spills said to be apparent at certain times of the year. As devout and vastly out-numbered cowards we, of the blue uniformed service, were fortunately never involved in such capers. Discretion being the better part of valour. At "The Bucket" we used to partake of a delightful local drink which went by the name of Ratzepus. Bar-tenders, if of a kindly nature, used to advise us against imbibing the drink, warning of its potency and the consequences of over indulgence. My recent research has shown that the drink is actually schnapps, flavoured by root ginger and is now limited to a lower alcohol content than in bygone years. It was originally produced in Celle and has always been popular in the Luneburg area.  
  Luneburger Kronenbrau which was  brewed in Luneburg was our favourite lager. It was very easy to drink, with a smooth, soothing action on the lips and throat. Too much though and the curtains came down very quickly I'm afraid. By nature I'm a very placid character and would much rather run away than fight. However, at times I was ready to give battle to one and all. Ah, foolish youth! Any takers of my offer to 'have at it' would have won in the first few seconds as my tendency to fall down was inevitable, sooner or later. More often than not it was sooner.
  Another place we frequented was known to us as "The Morgue". It acquired this non-de-plume because of the interior decor which consisted almost entirely of black curtains covering all the walls. Entry into this establishment was quite often made in sombre silence, brought on by the feeling of doom and the attendance of undertakers who appeared from behind the curtains to elicit our orders for suitable refreshment. The undertakers were, of course, splendid fellows who tolerated the atmosphere better than we did and were always willing to join us in a toast to unending friendship.
  Hennes, in the Am Sande, was a popular place for a meal and a drink and our small unit held a Christmas celebration there in December 1954. The food was excellent, as was the entainment which was provided by two jolly faced locals. One played the accordion and the other played a guitar which had two necks. It looked as though one was stringed as a bass and the other as just an ordinary six stringed affair. Such an instrument was new to most of us but it made melodious sounds and that's all that mattered.
  Conversations with any of the local male populace indicated that the Luftwaffe was the major arm of the German military between 1939 and 1945, with very few claiming service in the Wehrmacht. We knew that couldn't be true but accepted their allegedly honest claims. I recall one young German whom we met on a train from Luneburg to Hamburg. He was older than most of us and worked as a mess waiter at RAF Fassberg. His command of the English language was very good and he asked to join us on our trip during which we intended to visit the Reeperbahn. His company was extremely useful when we were being asked to pay for drinks we hadn't ordered and which were for "the girls". One club had small table lamps marked with a number on each table. Beside each lamp was a telephone and when it rang at our table we declined all offers of visits by "the girls". Eventually a waiter came and asked us for payment for 'champagne' which he said we had ordered for those same individuals. Our new German friend let loose with a choice selection of Germany's finest oaths and the waiter disappeared as quickly as he had arrived. Thank you, Heinie.
  It was necessary when visiting Hamburg to book a bed at The Union Jack Club in order to obtain a ticket for the bed. This was because the Service Police often stopped servicemen in the street and asked for proof of identity and proof of a place to stay the night. Even in 'civvies' our demeanour and behaviour must have marked us as British. Needless to say, the tickets were never used for the purpose intended and it was not unknown to end a long night of drinking in posh clubs in a small hostelry in the St.Pauli district of Hamburg, before taking the train back to Luneburg.
  Well, I believe that's enough for now so I'll close this episode with the hope that it will prove at least a little entertaining.
  Regards to one and all, Smudge
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JPW
Let Gen
Let Gen


Number of posts : 1039
Age : 76
Localisation : Berkshire
Cap Badge : REME
Places Served : Rotenburg Ploen Lippstadt Hamm Wetter Minden Munster Bielefeldt Dusseldorf
Registration date : 2008-11-09

PostSubject: Re: Luneburg 1954/5   30/8/2015, 21:36

Smudge

Mention of Ratzeputz must have brought memories of many a sore head to the BAOR veterans of your era and the 1960s, my favourite drink when on the Heide was Schwartzkorn more difficult to find than Apfelkorn but a useful warmer (with a slice of compo cheese on an oatmeal biscuit as blotting paper) when on radio stag on a cold night.

A decade later (mid 60s) nights out from Rheinsehlen Camp were more organised. There was an unofficial understanding with the German Police station at the entrance to the Reeperbahn. The R and R vehicle would be parked up in the station yard and the keys handed over. They would only be handed back if the nominated driver was sober. First point of call for many was a large Bavarian style Pub/Cafe/Concert Hall . Entertainment consisted of a Bavarian Band with much raucous singing. From time to time the conductor would descend into the audience and ram his Tyrolean hat on an unsuspecting individual who would then have to conduct the band (rumot had it that the table had to buy a round of drinks for the band.

What happened after that varied according to taste, perhaps some brave individual might explain.
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Shelldrake
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Number of posts : 3002
Localisation : Camberley
Cap Badge : Royal Artillery
Places Served : Troon, Lippstadt, Devizes, NI, Paderborn, Dortmund, Colchester, Belize, Canada, Cyprus, Gutersloh
Registration date : 2010-10-26

PostSubject: Re: Luneburg 1954/5   31/8/2015, 12:11

JPW wrote:
Sm

What happened after that varied according to taste, perhaps some brave individual might explain.


I would like to but, I can't remember! drunken drunken drunken
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Lighthouseman
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Number of posts : 18
Age : 80
Localisation : Edinburgh
Cap Badge : RAF
Places Served : National Service (1955-57), RAF Sundern, Det. Lüneburg, Det. Xanten
Registration date : 2012-03-09

PostSubject: Re: Luneburg 1954/5   19/10/2017, 10:03

Hello Smudge35 (Ray Smith),

I wonder if you are still a member this group. We have a lot in common. Please get in touch.

David (Lighthouseman)
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