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JHQ Rheindahlen, latterly also called the Rheindahlen Military Complex, is a British forces base in Mönchengladbach, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. JHQ stands for Joint Headquarters and the base has functioned as the main headquarters for British forces in Germany since being built in the 1950s. Its German address is Mönchengladbach-JHQ with a post code of 41179. It closed in summer 2013 when HQ British Forces Germany moved to Bielefeld.

Overview[edit | edit source]

In 1952 work began on the British Forces Maintenance Area West of the Rhine part of the project included the construction of a joint (Army/RAF) headquarters for BAOR in Rheindalen. Colonel H Grattan (late RE) was appointed Chief Engineer (CE) of this project, the plan was to construct:

  • a main office block 300yds long by 180yds wide with three storeys providing 2,000 offices.
  • 65 barracks blocks
  • over 1,100 married quarters, all heated by district heating.
  • infant and secondary schools
  • three churches
  • two cinemas
  • a swimming pool to Olympic standards
  • sports fields
  • a NAAFI building and shops
  • officers' messes with single quarters
  • officers' club
  • five dining halls,
  • clubs for warrant officers and sergeants and for other ranks
  • and two MoD civilian staff messes.

The complex was designed to accommodate over 7,000 British and Allied service personnel and a civilian population (mostly German) of about 2,500 for ancillary services: a township approaching a population of 10,000.

HQ BAOR moved from Bad Oeynhausen to its new JHQ at Rheindahlen in October 1954, centralising headquarters functions which at this time were scattered in several towns in Northern Germany. It was originally the HQ of the Northern Army Group (NORTHAG), Second Allied Tactical Air Force (2ATAF), British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) and Royal Air Force Germany (RAFG). In those days Rheindahlen was populated with British, American, German, Dutch, Belgian, Australian and Canadian military personnel (and in many cases also their families).

During the 1990s and 2000s, JHQ housed the Headquarters United Kingdom Support Command (Germany), later Headquarters British Forces Germany, which was the administrative HQ of the British Army in Europe. Until Jun 10 it was also home to the Headquarters Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps(HQ ARRC), which has now relocated to Innsworth in Gloucestershire in 2010.

In appearance JHQ Rheindahlen was more like a medium-size town than a military base, consisting mostly of administrative buildings, living quarters, schools, shops and other areas typical of civilian towns. For much of its existence there was no security perimeter (though buildings with an actual military function were fenced and guarded), but now it is fenced in with check points at the three exits.

Many facilities existed in the complex such as the NAAFI superstore, a full medical and dental centre, several primary schools, one secondary school, several pre-schools, a travel agents, two post offices, and cafes. A number of national UK Organisations work for the community, including Scouts, ATC, Home-Start and St. John Ambulance.

The Rheindahlen Military Complex will be handed back to Federal Authorities sometime in Mid December 2013. Almost all of the families and soilders left the base by August 2013 bringing a end to 60 years of service at JHQ Rheindahlen. HQ BFG left the base in July 2013. The local German citizens have described the closure as upsetting and that many of them will be deeply saddened to see the base close and their 'Friends' leave.

Once JHQ is handed back to the Federal Authorities it will be up to them to decide what they want to do with the base. There is no doubt that their actions will be watched carefully by former residents of JHQ Rheindahlen. During the final year, there were instances of theft of fencing from empty quarters.

Bombing[edit | edit source]

Thirty-one people were injured after a 300-lb car bomb exploded on 23 March 1987 near the officers' mess.[1] The IRA later stated it had carried out the bombing.[1]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Coordinates: 51°10′35″N 6°19′18″E / 51.17639°N 6.32167°E / 51.17639; 6.32167

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