1st Bn Wessex Regt, Le Marchant barracks Devizes

#1
Bugger!

About a lifetime ago I joined the TA as an infantryman in the Wessex Regiment (anyone remember them?) and had my passing out parade at the old regimental depot at Le Marchant Barracks in Devizes (formerly Depot the Wiltshire Regiment). We were the last to go through training under the regimental depot system recruits for both 1 and 2 Wessex being trained there rather than the old Prince of Wales division depot.

We trained on Westdown Camp and passed out at Le Marchant barracks.

I passed the place last week on the way back from Hullavington and they were knocking it down!

Have not been there in years but was quite gitted to see the old place go, when I passed out there it was a buzzing hive of activity and very smart too (old school army).

Anyone else still around from the Wessex Regiment?


Cardinal
 
#4
Cardinal said:
Bugger!

About a lifetime ago I joined the TA as an infantryman in the Wessex Regiment (anyone remember them?) and had my passing out parade at the old regimental depot at Le Marchant Barracks in Devizes (formerly Depot the Wiltshire Regiment). We were the last to go through training under the regimental depot system recruits for both 1 and 2 Wessex being trained there rather than the old Prince of Wales division depot.

We trained on Westdown Camp and passed out at Le Marchant barracks.

I passed the place last week on the way back from Hullavington and they were knocking it down!

Have not been there in years but was quite gitted to see the old place go, when I passed out there it was a buzzing hive of activity and very smart too (old school army).

Anyone else still around from the Wessex Regiment?


Cardinal
Hasn't that been sold to change it into more housing now? :?
 

chrisg46

LE
Book Reviewer
#5
I did my recruit training there in 1997, as part of 2 RGBW, it closed prob around 2000? There are still some wessex boys in my bunch (the RRV soon to be 7 Rifles), although i dont know which one they were in. I know it was a sad day when devizes closed, many a night was spent in the drill hall after a night in the bar. Cant remember the name of the barlady/caretaker, but she was very scary!!
 
#6
11 Pl D Coy 2 Wessex

Attested 15 Oct 1989.

Sorry to hear Le Marchant Barracks is being pulled down, but there was no way you could support a company from a town the size of Devizes...

msr
 
#7
Balisong said:
Yep I was with C coy 2 Wessex based in Slough from 1990 -93 but now the barraks have been replaced with a block of flats
Flats 8O Then again given the cost of land round there expect the MoD were quids in. Trying to remember the name - Learmont House IIRC

Also ex C coy 2 Wessex - joined 1994 and was dopey enough to stay on when they re-roled as Royal Yeomanry (recce/car wash :roll: ). In retrospect should have gone to Brock with the M4 rifles :D

lancslad
 
#8
Balisong said:
Yep I was with C coy 2 Wessex based in Slough from 1990 -93 but now the barraks have been replaced with a block of flats
Its been left unused for years, as far as I know its only just being altered into accommodation, don't think its going to be replaced, think it might just be converted.
 
#9
Wasn't it a PoW camp in WW2? Didn't some Germans actually get out too?

msr
 

napier

LE
Moderator
Kit Reviewer
#10
1986-90. Signals and Drums Pls, HQ Coy 1 Wessex (Rifle Volunteers) "Their Land to Defend"

I just hope that they re-use what they can of the old buildings rather than knocking them all down.
 
#11
Devizes had two camps Le Marchant barracks and another nissan hut affair which was used as a POW Camp. As part of the German offensive in the Ardennes (Battle of the Bulge) they planned to escape from Devizes head to the marshalling areas of Salisbury plain and steat tanks guns etc from the Yanks and play havoc ie a battle on two fronts.

Obviously it never happened, mad idea anyway.

Le Marchant Barracks was built as a county depot, every county had a Regiment (Wiltshires in this case) and a Regimental depot to support its two Bn's. In Dorset its the Keep military museum and Post ofice buildings, in Devon its Wyvern Barracks which is now being reduced and replaced by housing, wish I knew where the others were and if they are still in use.

After the Wiltshires joined with the Berkshires to make the DERR's it became their depot until 1960 when it pased to the newly formed Wessex Regiment as their Depot.

The Wessex Regt Cap badge the Wyvern with WESSEX benieth it was worn by all the regiments of the Wessex brigade in the 60's. Many regiments were reduced to companies for a while as part of the wesex Brigade, they wore the Regimental badges (collar dogs, flashes), stable belts of their parent regiment with the Wessex cap badge. That would have been Hampshires, DERR's, D&D's, Glosters.

After the regiments reformed their TA eliments became the Wessex Regiment.

The only other Regiment like it was the Mercians, who have now been reformed.

The old Mercian Regiment TA have a Regimental association unlike the Wessex which is a shame since iut was just as good and it would be great to know what happened to people.

I was in D Coy 1 Wessex before going off the the RMR, Royal Navy and back to the TA.

Thanks all
Cardinal
 

chrisg46

LE
Book Reviewer
#12
I do know there are occasional wessex reunions...
 
#13
The 1 Wessex colours are laid up in the Officers' Mess at LWC, Warminster

There was a very amusing description saying how the TA of 1967 was being re-formed to make it more operationally useful...

msr
 
#15
each other, did you do their camp in Norfolk in 1984 and Ex Bold Guard?? in Denmark, 1985?

Used to have a mate in C Coy called Brian C, looked like ET

They keep saying the TA is more useable now but I dont think standards are as good, I remember 1 Wessex as being very fit, very disciplined and very keen.

The guys then would love to have been deployed as we are now, although it would have been against the Russians of course.

Regards
Cardinal
 
#16
Cardinal, I don't remember anyone looking like ET in C Coy, but it was a long time ago....I remember being on Ex Bold Gannet in Denmark in Sep 1984 and in Oct 1985 we had a battlecamp at Sennybridge. I remember 1 Wx as being well-motivated too, we prided ourselves on being the only "front line" TA Inf Bn, what that actually meant and whether or not it was true I don't know.

BMC
 
#17
HQ Coy 2 Wessex, I think the Wessex do live on, I think Exeter Uni OTC continue to wear the cap badge.

"The Fighting Wessex Wyverns"

 
#18
Good to see there's still plenty of us still knocking about. I'm ex D coy, 2 Wessex, Brock bks (91 onwards). It was a cracking battalion and i can honestly say those days were among the best of my military career -reg and TA.

Barrack room lawyer, would you have served at that time?
 
#20
D Coy 1 Wessex 1982-85, I used to run recruits up and down the zig zags when we were in Bournemouth before Wallisdown, used to have Sgts/WO bashes few years after, mad , good days
 

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