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British troops to start pullout in January

The Local · 10 Nov 2011, 15:42

Published: 10 Nov 2011 15:42 GMT+01:00

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Around 1,800 troops will be relocated to sites in the United Kingdom starting in January, a statement from the British Ministry of Defence said.

The strategic defence review announced last October that half of the nearly 20,000 British troops currently stationed in Germany would return by 2015, with the rest leaving by 2020.

Details of army base moves announced on Thursday included the departure of the 7 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps from Bielefeld to Cottesmore, Leicestershire, enabling the move of HQ British Forces Germany (BFG) from Rheindahlen, Mönchengladbach, to the Bielefeld base – and the complete closure of the Rheindahlen military complex by 2015.

The 43 Close Support Squadron RLC will leave Gütersloh for Oxfordshire, affecting around 120 service personnel and their families to also enable the closure of the Rheindahlen complex.

The Trenchard Barracks in Celle and the Münster station will be handed back to the German authorities, the statement said.

“It is all very sad,” Lt Col Phil Jones told The Local on Thursday. The BFG chief of media said he had personally spent much of the last 16 years at postings all across Germany.

“We now have quite a broad-brush plan of who is moving where. We will still have quite a lot of people here for a few years, but we will be moving into the centre of Germany and Bielefeld will be the heart of British operations when Rheindahlen closes,” he said. “It will be a huge wrench when we actually go, it will certainly be the end of an era; it is the end of a very long association.”

He said there was real sense of sadness among local communities that the British troops were leaving.

“The impact of our departure will be quite harsh on some communities – while I know many people within the military who have spent a lot of time in their careers in Germany and they are feeling a real sense of loss.”

While the Ministry of Defence statement said it estimated the withdrawal of troops from Germany would save £250 million (€293 million) a year, which is considered to be the additional cost of having them there.

Crucially for the German communities which will lose their British armed forces contingents, a further £650 million (€762 million) is expected to be added to the UK economy as wages are spent there rather than in Germany, the Ministry press release said.

British forces contribute an estimated €1.3 billion to the German economy each year. Some 20,000 soldiers and 23,300 dependants and UK civilian employees are joined by 4,650 locals working at 12 bases in North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony.

German communities have long been fearing the economic impact of the final departure of the British troops.

British Ambassador to Germany Simon McDonald wrote letters to the state premiers of Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia to inform them of the plans.

Story continues below…

His letter to Lower Saxony state premier David McAllister said that the Celle barracks would be returned by the start of 2013 after the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers have been moved to Cyprus in July 2012.

His letter to NRW state premier Hannelore Kraft was similar, telling her of the plans to leave Münster by the middle of 2014.

The Local/DPA/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:19 November 10, 2011 by bernie1927
I will never understand why British - and American - troops are still stationed in Germany. I am sure the German economy will survive even without them. The war has been over for over 60 years. How come the Russians moved on when the time came? Why can't the Brits do the same thing?
17:29 November 10, 2011 by nemo999
And the hits just keep on coming. First the French, then the Russian, now the British, and soon the Americans.

I suspect that the United States Draw down will be much larger and faster than many in the military community think, given that Germany does not have any seats on the House or Senate Armed Services committees, they would rather have that money (Pork) spent in their own districts.

Does it make more financial sense to keep a IBCT with all of their dependents outside of CONUS? Not really.

Give us a few years and we will be out of your hair.
17:29 November 10, 2011 by Englishted
There are more Russians in German than Brits now .

"The war has been over for over 60 years"

But the cold war was not rather typical thank you from people with short or selective memories.
17:34 November 10, 2011 by Landmine
It's simple, they won the war and leave when they see fit....
17:45 November 10, 2011 by tdog1964
It is time to leave. Let the germans defend Germany. But if the russians reconstitute the force like the old Soviet Union then we will be back.
20:32 November 10, 2011 by Terry Burns
In all honesty after the wall came down, I was under the impression the Cold War was over and there was no need for a BAOR. 1963 to 1967 Oh I miss those days.

Still love you Detmold
20:47 November 10, 2011 by Enough
Good riddens! Hope the door doesn't hit them in the arse on their way back to limeyland.
21:05 November 10, 2011 by coffejohn
Some of us in the UK wonder why we still have US troops in our country?
23:40 November 10, 2011 by nemo999
Trust me some of us back in the "Colonies" wonder why we still have troops in the United Kingdom.
23:49 November 10, 2011 by jstar100
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
00:29 November 11, 2011 by lwexcel
Everybody always wants military bases to leave until they see the economic effects. The 1.3 billion € quoted is just the hard money. Think about the actual loss to the economy and it gets a bit more dramatic. Think of the loss in jobs, and tax revenue. Not really sure if you have seen what happens to a town when the soldiers pack up and leave, but I can tell you it is really not a pretty sight.
07:03 November 11, 2011 by frankiep

So much stupidity and ignorance is a gift, and it's nice to see that you are embracing it.
08:19 November 11, 2011 by mos101392
As a retired American soldier living in Germany-I too wonder why we have bases throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, and middle east. With our Navy-Air force and drones, there is no need to be on foreign soil. The money could be better spent invested in the US. If elected President, I promise to pull all American forces from every country around the world...."regardless of any treaties or political promises"!
10:49 November 11, 2011 by Celeon
@ bernie1927

Since the end of the cold war confrontation , the rest presence of british and u.s troops had nothing to do with defending Germany any longer.

Both contingents were massively scaled down at the end of the cold war and the presence remaining is solely for logistical reasons.

Britain and the u.s have/had and propably will have a significant military presence in the Middle East and its much easier to get there via Germany.

As an example : Over the last 15 years the Grafenwöhr training area of the u.s forces in Bavaria has been transformed from a cold war military stronghold against the soviet threat into the largest military logistical hub for u.s presence in the Middle East in the world. All american soldiers who go to Iraq or Afghanistan go there via Germany and they leave via Germany again.

Britain also profited from that as the presence in Germany made the logistics connected to having troops in Iraq and Afghanistan much easier to handle and thus cheaper faster and more efficient. Now that Britain has left Iraq and the process of scaling down troops in Afghanistan is already visible on the horizon, the usefulness of this presence is declining up to a point where it offers no advantages anymore. There is no real point in keeping the presence in Germany any longer.

The u.s presence will also further dissappear in the coming years while Grafenwöhr and Ramstein which have already become more of huge transit hubs and warehouses than real military bases will grow a little.

The situation has changed completely , the u.s and with that the entire NATO security structure for Europe is very dependent on having that u.s presence in Germany, while Germany has no dependence on the u.s presence for its own defence any longer.
13:53 November 11, 2011 by Sastry.M
The threats posed by Germany in the 20'th century are no longer valid 60y after to the erstwhile victors, but the truth of those painful historic events suffered by all people in western world, does remain unresolved and realized . More so when after ww2, Germany as the most battered nation, both suffered by a home grown dictator as well as allied Arial bombardments, bettered herself sooner bearing all costs of compensations and reparations not to speak of maintaining daily livelihood and enormous reconstruction from war rubble. No other allies appear to realize how these central Europeans acquired the economic hub while they themselves are bogged down with difficulties in spite of physical victories

I presume that even if the Morgenthau plan were to be truly implemented, Frankfurt would still have held the economic fort. Now that allied troops are withdrawing whether for their own sake or leave the Germans to their own fate , remains a test for western Wisdom.
16:52 November 11, 2011 by Matt in Florida
66 years you have been there! get out!
17:07 November 11, 2011 by bernie1927
@Celeon You give a rational and well thought out reply.

I do understand, even though I feel we (Americans) should never have started the Iraq affair and even Afghanistan could have been avoided. We don't seem to learn very well. The Russians suffered an embarrassing defeat there and we are on the way to experience the same fate. Without those two trouble spots we would not need to be there and would not need Germany as a financial bottomless pit.
17:45 November 11, 2011 by ErnestPayne
The British and American troops in Germany use their bases for rapid deployment to other areas. Apparently common sense and cost are rearing their ugly heads in Whitehall and the Pentagon.
18:01 November 11, 2011 by Bigbobswinden
It's time we concentrated on defense and not on other peoples wars. Lies got us into the last two. Germany will cope fine without us.
19:27 November 11, 2011 by Kennneth Ingle
Britain could have one of the highest living standards in the world, were it not for the cost of posting troops overseas and for the weapons they need. In so far it is a good thing for the UK.

Apart from the civy-attached losing their jobs, this withdrawal should not have too much financial significance for Germany.

As for the empty buildings, the fast spreading of foreign citizens across the country will more than compensate for a few thousand British Servicemen.

The few British Expats living here might miss hearing their own language being spoken in the local supermarkets, but without special permits, they will have had little contact anyway.

For those leaving and wishing to remain in direct contact with Germans, the town of Eastbourne offers a great meeting point. Along the south coast of England, especially in summer, more Germans can be observed and heard, than British holidaymakers.
05:33 November 12, 2011 by Sastry.M
Apart from the original inhabitants of the British Isles , the majority of English people,in my opinion, derived the Engels ,Franks and Saxons who migrated and settled in Britain are of German ethnicity and hence are always 'foreign' to the original culture and ethnic inheritance and with insularity seek to protect. Over a period of centuries, the ethnic characteristics might have got "sexed up--( inference of Iraq fame)" and hence an out right rejection of anything pertaining to continental German, like the Irish feeling to the English protectorate in Northern Ireland. A German initiated demoscopic
15:32 November 12, 2011 by Bruno53
Funny. If it wasn't for British troops stationed in Germany after World War II the Beatles would never have been famous! They started in Hamburg in 1960 to make themselves a name.
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