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  • Demonstrations in Bielefeld – July 30

    There is a demonstration and march planned to take place in Bielefeld on Saturday, July 30 which is expected to attract approximately 5,000 persons from the Kurdish Yazidi community.
    Where/When. The demonstration is planned to assemble at 1400 hrs at the corner of Voltmannstrasse/Universitätsstrasse near the university campus and then march to the town hall via Wertherstrasse and Stapenhorststrasse, where speeches are to be held. Following the speeches the march will then proceed to Kesselbrink where the demonstration is planned to end.
    Why. This march has been planned to coincide with the second anniversary of the attack carried out by the ‘so called Islamic state’ against the Kurdish Yazidi people on the town of Shingal in northern Iraq.
    Advice. Please expect at least a 15 minute delay to public transport. The GCP will erect road blocks and control checkpoints from 1300 hrs. The disruption is likely to continue to 2000 hrs. Given the possibility of confrontation at the demonstration posed by those opposing the march, BFG personnel are advised to avoid the area where possible. The community is also reminded of the potential for other impromptu or counter demonstrations for which there might be little or no warning. Any incidents should be reported to the Service Police
  • HELLP Syndrome nearly killed me

    Yvonne Neely, 33 weeks pregnant with twins in 2012I had never heard of HELLP syndrome before I gave birth to my boys back in the UK, and my knowledge of pre-eclampsia was somewhat lacking.

    I had no idea what symptoms to look out for and I completely missed the warning signs that I had this life-threatening condition. 

    Looking back on it now, all the signs of HELLP syndrome were there: headaches, nausea, abdominal and chest tenderness (upper right side pain caused by liver distention), shoulder pain, pain when breathing, changes in vision, swelling, high blood pressure and protein in the urine. 

  • Zwing-er by Dresden

    View of Dresden Altstadt with the Frauenkirche on the leftDresden’s distinctive skyline has long been a draw to visitors, so why not travel east from BFG for a visit? Here are some suggestions from members of Sixth Sense’s staff who have visited this memorable city

    The historic centre of the capital of the state of Saxony, split by the mighty river Elbe, is full of fine architecture, elegant streets, shops and world-class museums, plus some more quirky spots. 

    There is a huge choice of places to eat in Dresden, from Michelin-starred restaurants, to atmospheric bierkellers and affordable cafés.

  • A very busy year

    DIO logoAs the Senior Facilities Manager for DIO Paderborn I am proud to share with you my team’s achievements over the past 12 months, carrying out works to support and improve the facilities you all use to live and work here in Paderborn Station. 

    I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for your patience; and for assisting us to carry out the works by giving us access to your property or work space. 

    It has been a challenging year but we continue to dedicate ourselves to providing you, the customer, with the very best service we can. 

  • Diving into the past

    In a Skype conversation between two ex-members of the RAF Gütersloh Sub Aqua Club (GUTSAC 221), an idea was brought about to have a reunion.

    The group had come from all around the world for the reunion
    In May 2014 Campbell Allan and Paul Curzon discussed a reunion as it had been some 20 years since the last RAF personnel had left the camp in 1993 and RAF Gütersloh had been handed over to the Army to become the Princess Royal Barracks (PRB).

  • 5 RIFLES go the distance

    Four soldiers of 5th Battalion The Rifles (5 RIFLES) based at Alanbrooke Barracks in Paderborn chose a physically exerting method of travelling to the regiment’s new home in Bulford this week.

    And they’re off. The four leave Alanbrooke Barracks for the last time
    Lt Maddan, WO2 Gornall, Sgt Simpson and Rfn White are making the 840km trip to Ward Barracks by using purely pedal power, with the hope of getting to their destination by tomorrow having started on Monday morning.

    The four men of 5 RIFLES not only embarked on Ex Swift Homecoming to mark the closure of the barracks but also to raise money for two charities: Care for Casualties and Help for Heroes.

  • Doggy cool

    Dogs and handlers from 102 Military Working Dog Squadron completing tactical live firing training British Army working dogs have been given goggles, boots and ear protectors to keep them safe while doing their vital work in harsh environments.

    The new personal protection equipment for military working dogs was tested during tactical training of 102 Military Working Dog Squadron, based in Sennelager.

  • Think small

    Hamburg’s Köhlbrand Bridge at nightGermany's smallest airport opened in 2012 in the town of Knuffigen – but you won’t find it on a map. 

    That’s because the fictional place is part of Miniatur Wunderland, Hamburg’s most popular family tourist attraction.

    The permanent exhibition houses the world’s largest model railway and is located alongside the River Elbe in the Speicherstadt, the historical warehouse district in the heart of Hamburg. 

  • Getting down and dirty at IMM

    Teamwork is essential on the the assault courseThe 33rd International Mönchengladbach Military Competition (IMM) took place in torrential rain and ended with a team of four German reservists from Marbach in the state of Hessen winning the event.

    In the oldest regularly held contest of its kind in Europe, two teams from Denmark took second and third places in the competition that was held on June 18-19.

  • A bitter-sweet farewell

    Sophie, Countess of Wessex visits troops and families of 5 RIFLES in Paderborn for their final parade marking the battalion’s departure from GermanyTHE Countess of Wessex visited 5th Battalion The Rifles in Paderborn last Friday (July 1) as the battalion marked its departure from Germany with a farewell parade.

    Looking resplendent in an aqua blue dress with matching hat, Sophie joined members of 5 RIFLES and their families at Alanbrooke Barracks to say a heartfelt goodbye to the cathedral city.

    The Countess, the wife of Prince Edward, inspected and addressed the troops in the final parade to be held by an Army unit at the camp – the battalion’s home for the past 14 years.

    The royal visitor called the occasion a “bitter-sweet moment” due to the many friendships that have been made between the host country and its British guests.

  • Let the games begin

    For keen rugby players in the Osnabrück area, there is a newly established club looking for participants.

    The Osnabrück Rugby Club was formed in May 2014 by a group of ex-BFG personnel and a number of locals with a passion for rugby. Since then, the team has grown by attracting many additional local players, some of whom had played before and some complete novices. 

  • Setting up for victory

    After more than four months of competition, 6 Regiment RLC were crowned BA(G) Inter-Unit Volleyball League winners.

    6 Regt RLC set up a point on their way to winning the titleThis came only a week after they took home the BA(G) inter-unit Championship trophy.

    For all six teams there was something to play for in the final round of the league held at Barker Barracks in Paderborn.

  • Farewell fun

    Britain’s Got Talent winner Richard Jones, a magician, surprised pupils at Blankenhagen School during their farewell celebrationFarewell celebrations at Blankenhagen School started on June 24, ahead of the school’s closure at the end of the summer term.  

    While day-to-day the running of the school continues to be very much business as usual, for one day pupils, parents and staff, both past and present, gathered to celebrate the special environment created at the school.

  • MBE honour

    Proud beyond words –  David Batchelor, DIO Drawdown Programme Manager for the Army Basing programmeCongratulations to David Batchelor, DIO Drawdown Programme Manager for the Army Basing programme, who received an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services in support of the drawdown of the military estate in Germany.

    The official citation states: “Mr Batchelor has made an exceptional and unparalleled contribution, far in excess of what would normally be expected of someone of his grade, in forging a new arrangement for settling estate financial matters between the UK and the German Government as part of the British Forces’ exit from the country.

  • What a Drammeh!

    Paderborn-based Rfn Alhagie Drammeh, 5 RIFLES, pictured with his medal, comes second in the German Athletics Championships in Kassel (main picture)A talented soldier athlete serving with Paderborn-based 5 RIFLES has been making great strides over the past few weeks for a place at the Rio Olympics.

    Rfn Alhagie Drammeh, a 400 metre runner and current inter-Services champion, turned heads at both the German Athletics Championships and the Confederation of African Athletes (CAA) 20th African Senior Championships, where he was placed an impressive second and fifth respectively.

  • A smashing success

    In their final weeks stationed in BFG, 6 Regiment RLC claimed another sporting title. Beating 26 Regt Royal Artillery in the final, 6 Regt RLC won the Inter-Unit Volleyball Championship.

    6 Regt RLC defend a smash shot
    Six units took part in the tournament which was spread over two days last week at Barker Barracks, Paderborn.

  • De Burgh Unplugged

    IT’S a case of less is more as singer-songwriter Chris de Burgh entertains his Germany fans with a series of unplugged summer concerts.

    The successful Irishman will be performing his best-loved hits and cuts from his forthcoming album when he appears at the Congress Union in Celle on July 17, starting at 7pm.

    He will be accompanied by his guitar and keyboardist Nigel Hopkins

    It’s been 40 years since de Burgh published his first album, and much has changed in the music business during those four decades.

    Chris de Burgh, whose music is particularly popular in Germany, has sales approaching 50 million worldwide, and his extensive repertoire of songs has taken his audience on travels through continents, cultures and centuries.

    In 1983 The Lady In Red, now undeniably an evergreen classic, achieved No 1 status in 25 countries, including the UK and Germany, went to No 2 in America and has now sold in excess of eight million copies.

    Tickets start at €45. For more information, visit: or call the Ticket-Hotline on  0531  34 63 72. 

    Chris de Burgh will also be performing in Bremen – July 15,  Kiel - July 19, Berlin - July 21 and 25, Hamburg – July 23 among other dates.

  • Forces get top deals

    Armed Forces personnel posted overseas will now be able to keep their motor insurance No Claims Bonus for up to three years and not pay cancellation fees if they are posted overseas at short notice.

    The commitments from the UK’s biggest insurers and brokers representing 86 per cent of Britain’s insurance market came into force on Armed Forces Day, and will benefit almost 265,000 people in the UK and abroad, including Forces families.

    The change follows an Armed Forces Covenant round-table at number 10 Downing Street in January, which included defence ministers and representatives from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and the British Insurance Brokers’ association (BIBA), which asked the financial services providers to recognise the needs of Armed Forces personnel in their products.

  • What's on in Bielefeld

    July 29 – 31: Sparrenburgfest – Medieval festival at the Sparrenburg castle.

    August 6/7: Bielefeld City Jam – BMX Festival at the Kesselbrink in the city centre.

    September 6–11: Weinmarkt. Enjoy a glass or two of the best German wines (and some tasty snacks) in the old town.

    September 11: Stadtwerke Run & Roll Day, Ostwestfalendamm, Bielefeld.

    For details of all events visit:

  • Shopping in Bielefeld

    Sunday, August 28, 1pm–6pm: Sunday shopping, in conjunction with the Brackwede Schweinemarkt (festival).

    Saturday, September 3: Late night shopping in the city centre (shops open until midnight).

    Sunday, September 4, 1pm–6pm: Sunday shopping, in conjunction with the district festival, Heeper Ting. Bielefeld–Heepen.

    Sunday, September, 18, 1pm–6pm: Sunday shopping, Jürmker autumn market, Jöllenbeck.

    Sunday, September 18, 1pm–6pm: Sunday shopping in Stieghorst (including entertainment).

    Sunday, September 18, 1pm–6pm: Sunday Shopping in Sennestadt (in conjunction with the autumn festival).

  • Long and wine-ding road

    Rhineland-Palatinate mapRomantic castles, friendly locals and exquisite wines – enjoy all this and much more in Rhineland-Palatinate. 

    The Ahr, Eifel, Hunsrück, Naheland, Moselle-Saar, Palatinate, Rheinhessen, Romantic Rhine and Westerwald regions with their vineyard slopes, dormant volcanoes and vibrant towns are as diverse and welcoming as the people who live in them.

  • Soldier jailed for sex abuse

    A BFG soldier has been jailed for five years after pleading guilty to 10 counts of sexual activity with his under-age daughter.

    He has also been placed indefinitely on the Sex Offender Register.

    At a court martial in Sennelager on July 16, Judge Advocate Emma Peters told the Junior NCO his actions were “a gross beach of trust, any right-thinking member of society can only describe it as disgusting”.

    The court heard that since May 2014 the defendant had regularly been getting into his daughter’s bed and intentionally touching her sexually.

    He was told to leave the marital home after his wife discovered the abuse one night.


  • The art of success

    Mary Ferguson, Arts Award Discover administrator, Robert Browning SchoolThe moderation of Arts Awards qualifications by the Arts Council England has taken place in Service Children’s Education schools and all students were successful.

    John Richies, the moderator, commented on the high quality of the work produced by the schools taking part.

  • Fiery escape

    It’s customary to help – ex-soldier Colin Cooper, who works for BFG C&I, recently rescued a young driver from his burning camper van seconds before it became engulfed in flamesA former Army signaller dragged a man from a smoking vehicle seconds before it turned into a fireball.

    Colin Cooper was driving along a German country road when he spotted flames shooting out from under the VW camper van in front.

    His military training instinctively kicked in. Realising that the driver was not going to stop, Colin quickly overtook the Volkswagen and then blocked the road to stop traffic.

    The young driver of the camper van soon realised there was a raging fire directly underneath him, but in his panic was struggling to escape his vehicle.

  • Soldier discovers baby in locked car on hot day

    Took action - Tpr Shaun Lynch, who spotted a baby left alone in a car in hot weatherA BFG-based British soldier came to the rescue of a three-month-old baby locked inside a car in Schloss Neuhaus on one of the hottest days of the year so far.

    Tpr Shaun Lynch of Sennelager-based 1st Battalion The Queen’s Dragoon Guards was waiting for his wife in his vehicle outside a shop on July 4 when a woman parked next to him and locked her car to go shopping.

    However, to Shaun’s disbelief, he realised that there was a sleeping baby in the vehicle which had been left with no windows open in the scorching 40ºC heat.


  • Strike action at French ports


    You will be aware from News reports that cross channel ferry and tunnel crossings have again been disrupted by strike action at Calais. This strike action has intermittently stopped all ferries from making the channel crossing and interrupted channel tunnel operations. The possibility of further strike action and impact on travel cannot be ruled out.

  • Military precision

    Many competitors excelled in the shooting challengeSome 120 soldiers from eight NATO nations and Mongolia converged on the Lower Rhine area on June 20 to put their military skills to the test. 

    The 12 regular and Reserve teams representing the British Forces gave a strong performance participating in the 32nd International Mönchengladbach Military Competition (IMM), which is the oldest and longest-running international military contest in Europe. 

  • Words of war

    Operation Blue Halo is available in hardback and Kindle from Amazon.When Johnny Vince’s counter terror mission goes wrong, he fights for survival in the desert heat, but his real problems have only just begun.

  • Spectacular Farewell

    Youngsters enjoy dressing up for the occasion Yes it’s true – after 33 years, this year’s War and Peace Revival at Folkestone Racecourse will be the last one ever.

    Having organised War and Peace for 27 of its 33 years with the help of Barbara Shea, Rex Cadman has decided it’s time to call it a day.

  • Don’t they ever rest?1

    The trio from Bielefeld ride the height of Mt Everest in Bielefeld A SUPERFIT trio battled sleep deprivation to climb the equivalent height of Mt Everest (8,848m) in a 24-hour cycle challenge in Bielefeld.

    Organiser Sgt Jon Keen, from the Equipment Care Inspection Team in Rochdale Barracks, was joined by SSgt Noel Yates, SSI of 3 RHA, and Jan-Philipp Pruss, from Bunnyhop bike shop in Hameln, in the gruelling fund-raiser for a Nepal charity.

    Rests were allowed but sleep was not and Jon had set a target of 24 hours to complete the challenge, which took place on Bielefeld's Jagdweg, also known as 'Snake Hill'.

    Noel is the secretary of BA(G) Mountain Biking and Jon is his 2IC and also the lead instructor and administration SNCO for Bielefeld Station Mountain Bike Club.

    Starting at 6pm on June 28, things went well for the trio for the first few hours with the weather holding up nicely.

    Their second two-hour stint on the bikes saw the rain begin but it was not heavy and didn't impact on the morale, stopping again just before dusk.

    The avid cyclists settled into the night and at around 1am the pace slowed a little and they started feeling the tiredness.

    Jon said: "Throughout the night, the desire to sleep was more of an issue than the physical tiredness.

    "Snake Hill is not an interesting place to ride more than once or twice, so when you're on your 110th climb and can see nothing but a small cone of tarmac illuminated by the bike lights, it is decidedly boring!"

    On more than one occasion both soldiers Jon and Noel had to get off their bikes and walk, not because of physical exhaustion but because they were actually falling asleep while riding.

    "Twice I opened my eyes to find I was riding on the grass verge and once I almost fell off as I slumped onto the handlebars," said Jon.

    "At 7.30am our trusty admin support returned to the tent with a very welcome hot breakfast and we stopped to eat.

    "It was then that I realised I had not managed my food intake correctly and had my first big moment – I was unable to eat, feeling horribly sick, I was also shivering badly, despite being warm and was very white." However, after having a protein shake Jon was able to continue for another six hours or so.

    Sleep deprivation finally caught up with Jan-Philipp after breakfast, and he was "like a nodding dog" for an hour.

    By lunch time there had been lots of visitors to the hill, a great morale boost to the team.

    Jon quickly realised that at his current pace, he would not complete the ride in the 24 hours and told the others to press on after lunch.

    "I did not last much longer, riding solo while totally exhausted is a killer and I soon stopped again," said Jon.

    The 20 climbs before lunch had taken the trio three hours riding together, but after lunch Noel and Jan-Philipp covered the same distance in half that time, leaving them with only 20 climbs to go.

    During the last hour of riding Jon got back on the bike and rode a few more climbs. The last climb was watched by the Station Commander, who came to the bottom of the hill with the Station RSM and WO1 Chris Jordan, the chairman of Bielefeld Station Mountain Bike Club.

    "With these VIP spectators, we rode the last climb together, shook hands and promptly went for a very well earned shower, meal and sleep," said Jon.

    Jon managed to climb a total of 6,975m, covering 168km with a total riding time of 16 hrs 22 mins; Noel climbed a total of 8,883m, covering 213.1km with a total riding time of 18 hrs 36 mins; and Jan-Philipp climbed a total of 8,970m, covering 222.2km with a total riding time of 18 hrs 52 mins.

    Both Noel and Jon are experienced mountain bikers and Level 3 Mountain Bike Instructors. Noel is also an SSI in the PT Corps and Jan-Philipp is a very experienced mountain bike marathon endurance racer.

    The three agreed it had been the hardest physical challenge they had ever done, but it had been a great success.

    Two of the team are now in the Everesting Hall of Fame, which currently has fewer than 610 people in it, and have raised between £1,100 and £1,200 for Community Action Nepal.

    Jon would like to thank his sponsors – Bielefeld Station Sergeants and Warrant Officers' Mess (€150), Erdmann und Domke Ford in Bielefeld (€100), and CJ AutomobilService (€100). Cfn Gaz Ellis, of 2 Field Company REME, volunteered his time to run the admin tent, "without which the event would not have happened".

  • Don’t they ever rest?

    The trio from Bielefeld ride the height of Mt Everest in Bielefeld A superfit trio battled sleep deprivation to climb the equivalent height of Mt Everest (8,848m) in a 24-hour cycle challenge in Bielefeld.

    Organiser Sgt Jon Keen, from the Equipment Care Inspection Team in Rochdale Barracks, was joined by SSgt Noel Yates, SSI of 3 RHA, and Jan-Philipp Pruss, from Bunnyhop bike shop in Hameln, in the gruelling fund-raiser for a Nepal charity.

    Rests were allowed but sleep was not and Jon had set a target of 24 hours to complete the challenge, which took place on Bielefeld's Jagdweg, also known as 'Snake Hill'.

    Noel is the secretary of BA(G) Mountain Biking and Jon is his 2IC and also the lead instructor and administration SNCO for Bielefeld Station Mountain Bike Club.

  • Pupils passion for politics

    Ellie, Adam, Kelsey and Charlie along with all of their campaignersThe general election and its subsequent result proved to be a very interesting time for communities in the UK.

    During this time, pupils at King’s School in Gütersloh followed the election and thought it would be fitting to take part in something similar in the school, as politics affects Forces families, too, and it’s easy to forget that being so removed from the UK.

  • Blazing glory

    An outstanding achievement (left to right) – Watchkeeper/Firefighter (Retd) Hans-Lorenz Husemann, Firefighter Sven Mönikes, Watchkeeper/Firefighter Thomas Marx, Watch Manager Hans-Josef Kammerer,  Watch Manager Dieter Leifeld, DFRMO Chief Fire Officer Phil Salt, Station Manager Ralf Husemann, Firefighter Rolf Güthoff, Watchkeeper/ Firefighter Karl-Heinz Wolter,  Firefighter (Retd) Ferdi Niggemann, Firefighter (Retd) Karl-Franz MenneMembers the Defence Fire Risk Management Organisation (DFRMO), were personally thanked for their service and dedication to the Forces by Chief Fire Officer, Phil Salt, during his visit to BFG. 

    On June 11, having already visited fire stations in Hohne, Fallingbostel, Elmpt and Gütersloh, the CFRMO Chief Fire Officer came to Sennelager to visit staff working for the Defence Fire & Rescue Service and the military personnel from their units.

  • Spanning friendship

    Felgenfest - Germans and British rigged for success - M3 amphibious bridging vehicles cross the WeserBRITISH and German military engineers are experts in building bridges between the two nations – and that is meant quite literally.

    This is demonstrated every year at the Felgenfest, where the highlight is a joint exercise in bridging the River Weser near Hameln so that the public can cross by bicycle or on inline skates, or can simply stroll between the banks.

  • Kent – Operation Stack

    Operation Stack on the M20 has in excess of 5,000 vehicles held up in it.  

    While Eurotunnel (Folkestone to Calais) and ferry operators DFDS and P&O have operations running to Dunkirk and Boulogne (outbound only with P&O), stack is not reducing.

    All hauliers should decide if the journey is absolutely necessary, and if it is they should consider using an alternative UK exit point rather than Dover/Folkestone.

    Those still intent on heading to Kent should make sure they have food and water since there could still be several days of waiting. 

    The Kent Resilience team are making efforts to get food and water to those vehicles already in stack, but please appreciate it is a mammoth task. 

    All non-freight traffic heading coast bound on M20 is being advised to leave at Junction 6 and find an alternative route.

  • AWS summer activities programme 2015

    THE AWS team will be in the Families NAAFI in the Paderborn Community Hub, and also on Uhlandstrasse this weekend (Saturday/Sunday, July 4/5), from 10.30am, to take bookings for their summer activities programme.