19 June 2009

1st Corps District - 1945 to 1947 updated 27 Dec 13

Taken from "History of 1 (BR) Corps 1901-1967"

The End of the War
1st April 1945 saw the start of great changes in the role of 1 Corps. It ceased to be operational the following day, having passed on the previous day from First Canadian Army to Second British Army. It took over administrative duties in the rear of Second Army on the west bank of the Rhine in February and March and soon afterwards, responsibility for the area taken after the Rhine crossing.

A number of changes among the formations in 1 Corps took place in early April while on 21 May 1945 the Corps was designated 1 Corps District and joined HQ 21 Army Group from Second Army. In the following month Lt General Sir John Crocker ceased to command the Corps District, his successor being Lt General SC Kirkman. He was succeeded in September by Lt General GI Thomas who commanded 1 Corps District until its disbandment in 1947.

HQ 1 Corps was at Walbeck until mid April 1945 when it moved to Rhede. In mid June 1945, the Headquarters moved to Iserlohn. Before the end of the war in early May it protected the lines of communication of Second Army. When the war ended the Corps District was concerned with internal security, military government tasks and the disposal of German war material.

Post War Problems
The problem that loomed largest at the end of the war and the one, which occupied the Corps most, was the repatriation of former prisoners of war and displaced persons. British and US POWs released in the Corps area were soon evacuated. Transit centres were set up to forward westbound DPs and ex POWs from France, Belgium and Holland. East bound ex POWs and DPs, Czechs, Greeks, Yugoslavs, as well as Italian ex POWs and DPs were repatriated in June and Russians and Poles mostly by train between July and September 1945. The total numbers repatriated were large. By 27th May 175000 had been repatriated while 705000 were still held. Many DPs and ex POWs however remained behind in Germany.

1 Corps was also responsible for holding German POWs and internees. Some of these men were soon released. 1 Corps District included an area where food, shelter, clothing and fuel were particularly short. Each division had inspection teams, headed by an officer who was an experienced farmer to see that farms which did not deliver up their quota to the food offices and making sure they were not disposing of it for black market sale. In October and November a shoot was organised of deer and wild pig to help in keeping the population of Germany fed. In October 1945 there was clothing levy to help with the grave shortage of clothing while the cutting of trees for fuel was also organised.

The last months of the war and several months after it saw 1 Corps troops busy in battlefield clearance and taking over German war material. Some material was be used by allied forces but much ammunition was destroyed, while guns, tanks, vehicles and valuable equipment were collected into guarded dumps. A last task given to 1 Corps was the control of movement in and out of Germany.

Other problems to be faced in Germany were very numerous. The currency in use had depreciated and was liable to be used for speculation those under military law were forbidden to possess foreign currency other than marks. The danger of typhus had to be guarded against also minefields and booby traps were still to be found. Other Corps District Standing Orders dealt with the procedure for release and the action taken on finding enemy records, the possession of firearms and unauthorised hunting. 1st Corps District was responsible for an area from Aachen in the west, to Minden in the east, Munster and Cleve in the north, to Bonn in the south*. On 1 June 1947 1 Corps District was disbanded and the revival of 1 Corps took place in June 1951.

*another source confirms 1st Corps District took over 30th Corps District’s area until the disbandment

From 21st May 1945 1st Corps District were responsible for the states of Rhineland and Westphalia and its headquarters moved into Aldershot Barracks the former Luftwaffe Flak Kaserne from Rhede mid June 1945 back in 1904 the title 1st Corps was changed to Aldershot Command and in 1905 to Aldershot Army Corps then in 1914 back to 1st Corps so this is why Flak Kaserne became to be known as Aldershot Barracks

A large number of German establishments and houses were taken over by the 1st Corps District and the 328 Military Government Detachment moved into a large building on the Baarstrasse and taking over the four barracks built in the 1930s they were superbly equipped with modern kitchens, gymnasium, swimming pools, motor transport garages and sports fields the only thing they lacked were purpose built officer’s messes as the officers in the German Army lived out of barracks therefore officer messes and clubs were established out of barracks also messes and clubs for warrant officers and sergeants and other ranks the messes were scattered all over town

General Officer Commanding – Lt General SC Kirkman replaced by Lt General GI Thomas Sep 45

Brigadier in charge of Administration – Brigadier PH de Havilland
Deputy Director of Mechanical Engineers (DDME) – Brigadier FM Next
Assistant Quartermaster-General (AQMG) – Brigadier PG Turpin

United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) – Brigadier King

Iserlohn units as recorded Dec 45
HQ 1 Corps – Aldershot Barracks
1 Corps Signals – Mons Barracks
1 Corps Troops REME Wksp – Brickworks NW of Argonne Barracks
6 General Hospital – Argonne Barracks
92 Army Troops RE – Argonne Barracks
100 CRE Works – Südstrasse
CRE: Lt Col GC Clarke
521 Field Support Company RE
710 Artisan Works Company RE
777 Car Coy
Defence Coy – 1st Battalion Leicestershire Regiment
Sigs Met Sec
328 Military Government Detachment – Baarstrasse
121 Special Wireless Section – Sümmern Village detached from 1st Special Wireless Regiment Minden

facilities off barracks as recorded Dec 45
Officers Club (The Bowler Hat) – Wermingerstrasse
Officers Club – 63 Baarstrasse
Garrison Theatre – Hagenerstrasse close to junction with Baarstrasse
Garrison Church – Bachstrasse
Spearhead (Gloria) Cinema – Alexanderhöhe
Spearhead Ballroom – 17 An Dicken Turm
Spearhead NAAFI Club – north east of Aldershot Barracks
Spearhead Lagoon Club – Seilersee run by the Belgian Red Cross
YMCA Harmonie Club – Bahnhofstrasse
YWCA Elizabeth Club – Westergrabenstrasse
Forces Study Centre – opposite Garrison Church Bachstrasse
Wembley Sports Ground + Tennis Courts + Open Air Bathing – next to Spearhead Lagoon Club Seilersee
Oval Sports Ground – Baarstrasse

units recorded later
032 Civilian Interrogation Centre – Gartenstrasse
Ordnance – 6 Baarstrasse (Taxation Office)
Corps District Map Depot – Hansaalle
105 Area Cash Office – Markt Platz
Det 415 FS – 6 Bömberg Ring
RE Purchase Section – An Den Stadtsgarten
Garrison Engineer + 3 DCU + LINRRA – Südstrasse
9 Stores Section RE – 51 Grünerweg
S & T – 2/6 Grünerweg
PCLU + Families Registry + INFM Post and Car Park + AKC HQ – Vinckestrasse
SAAFA + ISSAHS – Dördel Weg
Legal Aid + CVWW – Märkischestrasse

facilities recorded later
032 Civilian Interrogation Mess – Im Bürgergarten
C + D + T Messes + DDOS – Baarstrasse
A + W + REME Messes – Am Tyrol
B + S Messes + Families Institute + Families Clinic – Gartenstrasse
Officers Hotel – Stennerstrasse
Polish Red Cross – Langestrasse
ORs Mess No 3 – Grabbenstrasse
Stables – Argonne Barracks
Signals ORs Club – Westfalenstrasse
Corps Signals Officers Mess and billets – Sundernalle
Corps Signals WOs & Sgts Mess + PCLU Mess – Westfalenstrasse
328 Military Government Det Mess – Westfalenstrasse
WOs & Sgts Families Hostel + ORs Families Hostel + ORs Families Accomadation – Teichstrasse
French House – Friedrichstrasse
NAAFI Gift Shop + Z Mess – Unnastrasse
Families Shop + Ladies Hairdressers – Wermingserstrasse
Mens Hairdressers – Mühlenstrasse
Swimming Pool + CESU Hostel – Bahnhofstrasse
Visitor Mess + Annex + Kinema Section – Altstadt
French Laison + Senior Belgium Laison Officer – Altstadt
Laundry (Dry Cleaning) + Church House – direction Kasbern
Spearhead Casino + ORs Club + Cinema – Alexanderhöhe
Ordnance ORs Billets + Officers Shop – Hagenerstrasse
WOs & Sgts Mess Visitors Mess – 14 Grünerweg
RC Church – Weststrasse
WOs & Sgts Mess Club – Igelstrasse
Garrison Theatre + CSEU HQ – Hagenerstrasse close to junction with Baarstrasse
ATS Billets – Gerlingsler Weg
Y Mess – Dördel Weg
X Mess – Hermannstrasse

521 Corps Field Survey Company RE – arrived 16 Jun 45 from Lüneburg disbanded 28 Feb 46
OCs: Maj CS Barron – Maj RW Pring – Maj AJ Elsey – Maj DE Gardner
1 Topo Section – Recklinghausen
2 Topo Section – Düsseldorf

1st British Corps District Signals moved into Mons Barracks the former Artillery Winkelman Kaserne and by 1946 consisted of nine companies including a ATS company and two companies of former Wehrmacht soldiers

CO: 1945 Lt Col DN Deakin
HQ Coy – 1 Coy – 2 Coy
2 Coy ATS Signals
3 Coy – Köln
4 Coy – Düsseldorf
5 Coy 
– Münster

1st British Corps District Signals reorganized Summer 1946 and renamed 1st British Corps District Signal Regiment changing from static to mobile role – suspended animation July 1947

CO: 1946-1947 Lt Col AS Milner OBE – RSM: WOI Warburton
HQ Sqn – incl 43 TM Tp
1 Sqn – OC Maj LJ Parker – SSM Rockall
2 Sqn – OC Maj Toombs
A + B Wireless Tps + Cipher Tps + 43 Op Tp disbanded – 126 TO Tp to 31 LofC Sqn Hannover
29 TO Tp – 5 + 53 DR Tp to 33 LofC Sqn Düsseldorf
3 Sqn – disbanded first – OC Maj R Hawkins MBE

Jun 45 – 8th Corps District formed – HQ Connaught Barracks Plön was responsible for the state of Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg disbanded Apr 46

Jun 45 – 30th Corps District formed – HQ Nienburg later Lüneburg was responsible for the states of Hannover/Braunschweig/Oldenburg/Schaumburg-Lippe from Nov 46 known as Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony) disbanded Sep 46

Apr 46 – Hamburg District formed

Sep 46 – 1st British Corps District then covered the whole of Germany less the north covered by Hamburg District

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