Barnard Castle, but, as befits a WW2 site

Discussion in 'Veteran Accounts' started by Ron Goldstein, May 26, 2020.

  1. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    I am reminded of my return to the UK in 1947, the worst winter in the UK for I don't know how many years.

    January 1947
    In January l947, just three months short of four years from the time I set sail to North Africa, I was posted home to Barnard Castle in Northumberland. I arrived just in time for the worst winter in some people's living memory and spent a large amount of time digging trains out of snowdrifts. For almost three months I then kicked my heels until in March I was finally released to return to civilian life.

    February 1947
    England was in a state of crisis as fuel was almost unobtainable. Rail travel ground to a halt. Heavy snowstorms and sub-zero temperatures made our barracks a place of purgatory and there was not a single toilet that worked in the barracks. We spent all day digging trains out of snowdrifts and as virtually everyone in the camp was on the point of being de-mobbed, rank meant nothing at all. For the first time in my army career I saw officers under the rank of captain being ordered to join snow-clearing parties and issued with spades to do some of the digging themselves!

    I have written about it elsewhere on this site and once having posted this short note I will be off to find it poste haste !

    It's that time of the year for your "Call that cold ?" stories

    Regards to all

    Last edited: May 26, 2020
    andy007, Deacs, mcan and 5 others like this.
  2. Gazz

    Gazz Active Member

    Hi Ron,
    I always read your posts with interest and your links with Barnard Castle are particularly interesting as I live not far from said town. Whereabouts in Barnard Castle were the barracks you were stationed?, I know Stainton had a camp and there is still a building left that is used for industrial use now. Thanks for your contributions to this forum and respect to you sir.
    JimHerriot likes this.
  3. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    And I thought the winter of 44-45 was famously bad!
    JimHerriot likes this.
  4. Trackfrower

    Trackfrower Member

    Staindrop Camp was mostly derelict .
    Used it for battle reenactment in the 90's.
    AB64 likes this.
  5. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    Dad was trained at Deerbolt Camp which is just over the River by the Castle Bridge if memory serves me right - he kept in touch with people he had met there and we visited them (the Coates family) as a family well into the 1970s. Happy memories of the Castle, the Bowes Museum and the red coloured tarmac of Newgate(?). Reg Coates (aka Uncle Reg) was a Carpenter and Undertaker and I got allocated the spare room as a bedroom when we stayed - that doubled as his Stock Room so there I was sleeping in a room surrounded by boxes of Coffin fittings and Shrouds - spooky! Reg died but we kept in touch with his wife aka Aunty Hilda until she died in, I think, the late 1980s. I still make a point of visiting when I'm in the area albeit not that often. Lovely place and lots to see in the area.

    Ron: thanks for starting this thread. Brightened my you often do.
    Chris C likes this.
  6. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Thanks to all for your kind comments.

    Try as I may, I can't remember where our barracks were placed and I doubt that 73 later they still exist !

    Best regards

  7. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    Always in the depth of winter
  8. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    The last time I visited "Barny' several years ago, Deerbolt Camp had become a Prison and some of the buildings did look rather ancient so who knows. I'll ask someone to have a quick peek as they pass by ;-)
  9. Gazz

    Gazz Active Member

    Deerbolt is still a prison, and they are building houses on part of it as we speak.
    I don't know if the pics on the attached website link may jog your memory Ron.
    The South West Durham Heritage Corridor
  10. Gazz

    Gazz Active Member

    Wireless radio and tank/vehicle maintenance training mentioned on this page at Deerbolt which is the opposite side of Barnard Castle to Stainton which is over the River Tees bridge.
    Site Details - Keys To The Past
  11. Gazz

    Gazz Active Member

    Aerial photo of Deerbolt camp in 1945

    and now
    SDP likes this.
  12. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    I have been interested by this thread as by coincidence I am reading the autobiography of 1970's footballer, Dave Thomas. He lives at Dairy Cottage once part of a larger estate in Lartington and went to school in Barnard Castle. I have an affinity for the area in any case as my maternal grandmother came from the Counden Grange area.
  13. JDKR

    JDKR Member

    In 1974 I took part in a company exercise in a derelict hutted camp as part of our training for deployment to Northern Ireland. Can’t remember it’s name but probably was Staindorp.
  14. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    From memory it had "Brits Out" etc painted on some of the buildings so I think it had been used for pre NI deployment training
  15. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Many thanks to everyone for all the info above.

    You must remember that when I was last there it was completely covered in white !


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