1946 to 1958 > Germany

Historical Quarterly Report 1st Bn Manchester Regiment 1948

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1.   Location        B.A.O.R.    Map ref    F 598935
2.   Strength        31 Officers          565  ORs        15 Perm  Attached
3.   How Employed

The advanced party left Altrincham (Cheshire) on 19th June 1948 arriving in present location (Wuppertal) of 21st June 48 and proceeded to take over from The 1st Bn York and Lancaster Regiment. This take over included three Barracks, namely Anglesey, Bangor and Harding.  The taking over of the two former mentioned Bks went quite smoothly, however, Harding Bks proved to be a more difficult proposition due to the fact that it contained all the usual issued accommodation items etc with only a care taking party ( i.e. 1 Offr & 5 ORs) to supervise the guarding  and security of the same, guards being provided by members of the C.M.W.S.

Consequently this Bn was still taking Harding Barracks over when the main party arrived  2nd  July 48 and even when the rear party arrived 11th July 48.  Eventually, both Quartermasters reconciled their inventories and Lt JK. Stone was appointed Camp Commandant of Harding Barracks.

The Battalion soon settle down, Bn HQ,HQ company and B company being accommodated in Anglesey Bks and A, C & D companies in Bangor Bks, these barracks were divided by a main road, though this is of small consequence as the distance between them is negligible.

As soon as the initial ‘settling in’ period terminated all companies commenced Cadres in preparation for the training of the National Service (N.S.) soldiers, the first draft of which arrived on Sunday, 8th August.
During the period 27th-30th July the Bn rifle team captained by Lt FE. Talbot held their ground at the 2nd Division rifle meeting, Paderborn, and though the final result left much to be desired,they took pride of place over all other Infantry units within the Divisional area.

A Brigade Signal Exercise was held on 24/25 August and proved to be very instructive, much benefit was derived by Battalions signals from this exercise, though it is fair to add that our wireless communications throughout the exercise were satisfactorily maintained. 

Signals and wireless communications must not be passed over without first mentioning the fact that there is an amateur wireless club within the Bn. Ably supervised by the Signal Sgt, Sgt Dobbert, some £55 Odd pounds have been spent on transmitting equipment to date and results gained have justified this expenditure.

During the early part of August we were visited by reporters of the Manchester Evening News and the Manchester Evening Chronicle, the reporter from the latter was an old 9th Battalion Officer (W.  Hornby ), many old friendships were renewed.  Unfortunately, some three days following the departure of the two reporters both papers printed a story to the effect that soldiers of the Battalion hoped, in the near future to be able to speak to friends and relatives in England through the medium of the amateur wireless station.  This report in turn, originated a rather curt letter addressed to the Commanding Officer from HQ CCG Signals and Communications Berlin.  A reply was sent attribute in the story to either (a) misunderstanding information given, or (b) the unfounded supposition of the newspaper concerned.

The training of NS soldiers was well underway wef the arrival of the first draft 8th August 1948 (the aforementioned), and is continuing along the same level to date.  New drafts are arriving every fortnight.  Though young and inexperienced they seem to take to army routine very quickly, however, rather surprising that the standard of education of these N.S. soldiers is so low. Great stress is being made on education within the Battalion and though as pointed out hitherto the standard of knowledge is low, there are only five, illiterates, who are learning surprisingly well.

The N.S. soldier's day is a busy one for him and for all ranks entrusted with his training.  Reveille is 06:30 hrs and the last parade of the day finishes at 19:00 hrs.  Evening classes in Woodwork and German are held nightly, the latter proving very popular with all ranks.

The other side of the N.S. soldier’s training consists of normal barracks training on all Infantry weapons and subjects, also a 3 1/2 day camp during their first week here and a 24 hour exercise every  subsequent week, all training out of barracks is thoroughly enjoyed.  The order of the day is to train these N.S. soldiers into effective Infantry soldiers, this is being done by Officers and NCO instructors.

4.   Administration

Considerable difficulty was experienced with the arrival of the first N.S.  Drafts due to the shortage of training stores, in particular rifles and 2 inch mortars.  Lack of grindery equipment also was slow to materialise, however, these difficulties have been overcome and the Bn is in good supply of the latter and is up to establishment, re, the former.
Ordinary everyday administration of the Bn continues to run smoothly with the exception that we are still 4 Army Catering Corps Cooks below are establishment, these according to D.C.A. 2nd Inf Div, will be forthcoming in the near future.

5.   M.T.

Running repairs are causing concern at present, the reason being that the Bn has no spares whatsoever, Administration duties are so heavy that the establishment of load carrying vehicles shows itself to be entirely inadequate.  We are compelled to keep a standing detail of five 3 ton carriers of R.A.S.C. to carry out normal duties.
When a vehicle is badly smashed or has a major defect.  It is in usually six weeks before workshops will give the necessary document (AF G1043) certifying it beyond local repair. Not until this certificate is received, Is it possible to indent for a replacement vehicle, the time lag between indenting for and receiving a vehicle is sometimes three weeks, this means that the Bn is beraft of a vehicle, which it can ill afford, for two months.

6.   Welfare

The Bn is fortunate in that there is a most excellent W.V.S.  Canteen in Anglesey  Bks, ably supervised by a Miss Ward, Bassie for the troops, she has done an untold power of good regarding the soldiers welfare, organising trips to places of interest i.e. Cologne, Moehne See etc ,etc.  also, she conducts discussion groups, organises socials, both for the troops and married families, who have a club of their own within walking distance of the barracks.  Everything possible is being done to discourage the troops from walking around Wuppertal, in the aimless manner one often finds them wont to do, to this end, the P.R.I. organised a fortnightly dance and the AKC provides films on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The NAAFI Canteen leaves much to be desired in so much that it requires decorating this will be done in the near future.

Very interesting to read - - I remembered Barry Dobbert (Sigs Sgt) and his Amatuer Radio very well established by the time I joined the Battalion at Anglesey Barracks November 1949. I also remember the three WVS ladies, Miss Ward and her team but I seem to remember her name as being BESSIE not Bassie ? She moved to Berlin with us and had a newbie join her who became very rapidly nickname' as  'The Black Angel'. ::) ::)  My Lips are sealed  ;D ;D ;D ;D
One of my many happier military duties by 1950 when we had moved to Spandau Barracks Berlin was to escort the Ladies on their horse riding trips into the Grunewald - happy trips indeed which made a great change from the many many onerous guards and various other duties.

Hi George

I have some others I will be posting soon.


Looking forward to reading them Roy,.

Robert Bonner:
WVS volunteer - Bessie Ward - was a splendid lady.  Much respected and admired by all ranks of  the 1st Battalion.  She was very much missed when we left Germany for the Far East.

Please Roy, keep all these memories coming.


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