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Libya 1968

1st Bn Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment

(Berkshire and Wiltshire)

MINDEN WEST GERMANY

11th Infantry Brigade

Battleaxe flash worn by Bn

1st British Corps B.A.O.R.

Postcard from Minden

Postcard views of the Minden area, in particular the Kaiser monument on the hill, a location familiar to the cross country running team.

Minden is a picturesque town on the winding Weser a couple of miles downstream from the historic Minden Gap, strategically important from Roman times, where a huge statue of Wilhehm 1, the unifier of Germany in 1871 and known to the troops who garrisoned Minden as 'Kaiser Bill', broods thoughtfully over the scene. Despite a certain old world charm, Minden also had a sleazy side, mainly stemming from the passing barge traffic, and in 1966 still suffered from some notoriety gained in the British press through an unfortunate incident with a Scottish Regiment some years before.

THE GARRISON, MINDEN 1966 - 1969

 

1st Bn Royal Welsh Fusiliers Later 1st Bn Gordon Highlanders
1st Bn Black Watch Later 1st Bn Sherwood Foresters
1st Bn Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment

 

The Regiments tour in Malta ended in December 1965 when they flew back to the United Kingdom to spend Christmas on leave prior to re-forming again at Minden in Germany as a Mechanized battalion of 11th Infantry Brigade. The Battalion was soon immersed in a strenuous series of cadres, each of 3 or 4 weeks, to fit itself for the mechanized role. Its own APC instructors ran APC commander, driver and driver/operator cadres, but the stalwart cadre went off to 21 Sqn R.C.T. at Nienburg and the Assault Pioneer platoon to 29 Field Sqn, Royal Engineers at Hameln. In addition many Soldiers attended German Language and First aid courses.
APC Cadre at minderheide

WO 11 WILLIAMS APC Cadre Minden

The driver W.O.11 WILLIAMS looking for the leader who put the APC into the water splash

APC Cadre Minden Bogged down

Pte SCOTT, Lt KENWAY, Sgts GUPPY and SEAWARD 'Bogged down'

 After the Cadres the Battalion embarked on a series of Exercises at all levels testing not only the soldiers but the supporting arms and above all the masses of equipment required by a mechanized Battalion. The climax of the years training was Exercise 'Eternal Triangle 3 which included 7th Armoured Brigade, 11th Infantry Brigade and the 33rd Panzer Brigade. All phrases of war were practiced, but the old Malta hands who thought that Mechanized warfare meant being driven everywhere were in for a shock !! Feet were exercised and numerous holes (Called trenches) were dug all over Germany, then filled in again. This set the tone for the following three years where the same routine of Platoon, Company and Battalion training followed the same format. The battalion soon earned for itself a reputation for efficiency not only within the Brigade but throughout Rhine Army. Apart from training on the vast areas of Sennelager, Soltau and Vogelsang, often with a squadron of the Royal Scots Greys or the 16th/5th Lancers, the battalion flew out to Libya in February 1967 for five weeks training (Exercise Rough Tweed). In 1968 they moved down to the South of France for company and battalion training. (Exercise Kepi Blanc)

In Minden the Company's soon established a Social network via the 'Company Clubs' where a fair amount of beer was shifted. These clubs were necessary due to the restrictions placed on Soldiers in going into Minden caused by the actions of a Scottish Regiment sometime before.

A MINDEN SOLDIER REMEMBERS :-
"We drank in the Company club, sinking as much beer as we could and then in groups made for the perimeter wire of the barracks, avoiding the Provost staff led by Vic HOLE, the Provo Sgt in his black tracksuit. We then made our way into the town avoiding the Redcaps, and then settled in various bars in and near 'Rampenloch strass' until we could drink no more, then attempted to get into the Barracks (By a different route of course) to get an hours kip before Muster parade. We always knew who didn't make the return journey by the numbers being 'Beasted' over at the guardroom the following morning, happy days"

The Battalion made its official farewell to Minden with 'Beating the Credits', an old British Army custom whereby the regimental band of fifes and drums marched about a garrison town to warn merchants and innkeepers that a regiment was about to move

Band and Drums 'Beating the Credits' Minden

Band and Drums of the 1st Battalion 'Beating the Credits' Market Place, Minden

In April 1969 the Advance Party left Minden to take over Alma Barracks, Catterick from the 1st Bn Kings Regiment who were doing a direct swap with the Battalion in Minden. After the Kings advance party were released from Custody in the guard room at Minden they took over the barracks.

MINDEN TIMELINE
EVENT DATE/TIME

Take over from 1st Wark Fus

Jan/Feb 1966
Brigade CPX 'Second Chukka' 22-24th March 1966
Div CPX 'Canal Turn' May 1966
Bn To Sennelager May/June 1966
Div CPX 'Hurst Park' 14 - 15 June 1966
C Coy to Soltau  25th June 1966
Support Plts to Putlos 25th June -12 July 1966
Bn Less C Coy to Soltau 2nd July 1966
Coy Flotation Training Hamlin 18 -26 July 1966
Bn to Sennelager, Classification August 1966
Bn on Ex 'Eternal Triangle 111' September/October 1966
Band & Drums to Florence 5 - 17 October 1966
Forozeshah Parade 21st December 1966
Ex 'Rough Tweed' Libya February/March 1967
A Coy to Haltern April 1967
C Coy to Vogelsang April 1967
B Coy to Soltau May 1967
Bn Ex 'Hunters Moon' 28 May -3rd June 1967
Bn H Q Div CPX 'Hurst Park' June 1967
Bn on Brigade Trg Soltau 28th Aug -9th Sept 1967
Band  & drums to Berlin 11 -25 Sept 1967
Bn Ex 'Mouse Trap' October 1967
Col in Chief visits Bn 29 - 30 November 1967
Forozeshah Parade 21st December 1967
A Coy to Baumholder March 1968
'Swede Day' Clifton Barracks 15th March 1968
Bn to Soltau May/June 1968
Bn to Sennelager June/July 1968
Bn to Larzac, Southern France 25th July - 8th Aug 1968
Bn to Soltau Ex 'Random harvest' 24th Aug - 8th Sept 1968
Ex Eternal Triangle  1V 5th -12th Ocober 1968
Col in Chiefs visit  6th/7th Nov 1968
Ferozeshah Parade 20th December 1968
Bn HQ Brig CPX 'Battle Axe 1' 4/6th March 1969
Bn to Sennelager 16th March - 3rd April 1969
Bn & Coy HQ CPX 'First Parade' 14/17th April 1969
Ex 'Photo Finish' (10 years old) 18th/19th April 1969
Drums beat Credits in Minden 23rd May 1969
Handover to 1st Bn Kings Regt June 1969
 

 

CLIFTON BARRACKS MINDEN TODAY

The Square looking towards the Sgts mess

The square looking towards the Sgts Mess 

The P.O.L. point

The P.O.L. point

The old Sgts Mess

The Old Sgts mess

Acknowledgments
The web team would like to thank Harry ANGIER, Dave NICHOLLS and the Regimental Museum for their assistance on this page. Suggested further reading is the Regimental History 'The Cold War Warriors'
 
 
                             
 
                        
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                            Revised: 03 February 2005.