General

Fall of Berlin Wall remembered at Imjin Barracks, near Gloucester

Laurence Roach and Florian Raebel
Image caption Maj Laurence Roach (l) and Lt/Col Florian Raebel mentioned the piece of wall “reminds us that there are still divided cities and divided people”

Soldiers at a military barracks in Britain that boasts its personal part of the Berlin Wall are marking 30 years because the construction started to come back down.

The 3m (9ft) piece was gifted to the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) by the German authorities in recognition of Western help through the Cold War.

It was stored at the ARRC’s base in Germany however in 2010 the ARRC relocated to Imjin Barracks near Gloucester.

Maj Laurence Roach mentioned: “We’re all very proud to have it here.”

Maj Roach added: “It’s actually a quirk of historical past that it needs to be right here.

“Our base was once in Germany and it [the wall segment] was gifted to Nato and to the Brits specifically by the German authorities in gratitude for our interval of serving in Germany and West Germany by means of the Cold War.”

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption East Berliners scaled the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989, 28 years after the construction was erected

The German military’s Lt/Col Florian Raebel, a employees officer serving with the ARRC – a Nato “excessive readiness pressure” – grew up in West Berlin and was 16 in 1989.

Speaking about life for West Berliners earlier than the wall got here down, he mentioned: “We have been free. We had the deutschmark, we had Western vehicles and every thing you need.

“On the other side everything was grey, less cars, a smell in the air from the old heating systems. There were no restaurants, no cafes, no advertisements – it was another world.”

Image caption This facet of the wall confronted the East and so has no graffiti on it

He mentioned on 9 November 1989, he was at the cinema along with his girlfriend and once they got here out the centre of West Berlin was “crowded with people from East Germany”.

“I went home quickly and my father was sitting in front of the television watching the news with tears in his eyes and then he opened a bottle of champagne because it was unbelievable.”

Follow BBC West on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Send your story concepts to [email protected].

To Top