Last Post - Hounslow Cavalry Barracks

This one slipped past me. Hounslow Cavalry Barracks closed its gates for the last time on the 21st June last. I knew that it was going, but I thought that it still has a few years to run.

Probably not the most popular of postings, not least because it was in Hounslow, but the place had some history. It must have been one of the few remaining Napoleonic era sites military sites remaining in use. The writing was probably on the wall from the moment they spent £ squillions on upgrading the SLAM a few years back.

Hounslow was a fair sized garrison back in the day. Apart from the Cavalry Barracks, there was Eastern Command HQ, Beavers Lane Camp (which finished up housing 10 Sigs, I think) and a BFO Army Vocational Centre (later a REME workshop - later still the Met Police Public Order Training Centre). Further back there was a large hutted camp on nearby Hounslow Heath during WW1.

Much will remain after the developers move in because there are about twenty listed buildings on the site. Will this herald the opening salvo in the gentrification of Hounslow? I shouldn't hold your breath if I was you.
 
This one slipped past me. Hounslow Cavalry Barracks closed its gates for the last time on the 21st June last. I knew that it was going, but I thought that it still has a few years to run.

Probably not the most popular of postings, not least because it was in Hounslow, but the place had some history. It must have been one of the few remaining Napoleonic era sites military sites remaining in use. The writing was probably on the wall from the moment they spent £ squillions on upgrading the SLAM a few years back.

Hounslow was a fair sized garrison back in the day. Apart from the Cavalry Barracks, there was Eastern Command HQ, Beavers Lane Camp (which finished up housing 10 Sigs, I think) and a BFO Army Vocational Centre (later a REME workshop - later still the Met Police Public Order Training Centre). Further back there was a large hutted camp on nearby Hounslow Heath during WW1.

Much will remain after the developers move in because there are about twenty listed buildings on the site. Will this herald the opening salvo in the gentrification of Hounslow? I shouldn't hold your breath if I was you.
Stayed there a few days for VE 50 celebrations duty, very run down then.
 
Stayed there a few days for VE 50 celebrations duty, very run down then.
Yes, it was in a poor state until the shiny new SLAM accomodation was opened.... in 2015! The closure was announced by the Secretary of State the following year!!! There's forward planning for you.
 
Here’s a vid of the end of an era.

I didn't previously realise that wolfhound-handlers had a special sideways arm-swing marching style. Is this due to needing to avoid having doggy-treats (held in the right hand) moving behind the beast, which might potentially cause it to turn round at the wrong moment? A very technical trade clearly.

Maybe I'm feelling grumpy, but what the narrator called the "Union Jack" was actually the "Union Flag", and it was both untidily flown and tangled up on the pole fittings when lowered. The state of the bandsmen? Moan, moan, whinge, moan, whinge, whinge, etc.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
The Flag Institute and the Admiralty disagree.

Ooooooo, that seems to be correct, thank you. I will go and dig up the Scout-leader and tell him. The new awareness of flag naming removes a source of stress, so now I will live longer (possibly).
 
This is the Union Jack

1626687425472.png
 
Ooooooo, that seems to be correct, thank you. I will go and dig up the Scout-leader and tell him. The new awareness of flag naming removes a source of stress, so now I will live longer (possibly).

Call it whatever you like. It could easily be an historical artifact before much longer.
 
I didn’t realise it had finally closed. I often pass by the main gate when I occasionally travel to Hounslow. I’m about twenty minutes from the place depending on the traffic.

I never served there but after I left the army, my battalion was posted there on it’s return from Hong Kong and I’ve visited a couple of times back in the beginning of the eighties to have a beer with my old mates in a couple of the local Hounslow pubs.

It always seemed like a bit of a dump to me because of it’s age. I wouldn’t have enjoyed the place if I’d stopped in the army but it is only just up the road from my roots. I’d probably have lived at home most of the time.

Hounslow won’t change in a million years. They can build whatever they want on the barracks site and it won’t change the area in any way. If it was three or four miles up the road towards Isleworth, Kew, Twickenham or Richmond, it would be a different matter but Hounslow itself will always be a dump despite the quite good high street shopping facilities.

The single thing going for Hounslow is it’s excellent public transport links to the rest of London and being on the periphery of West London, it’s easy to get to some of the nicer places in that part of the world such as Windsor etc but I strongly suspect soldiers won‘t miss Cavalry Barracks and Hounslow as a posting.
 
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Yes, it was in a poor state until the shiny new SLAM accomodation was opened.... in 2015! The closure was announced by the Secretary of State the following year!!! There's forward planning for you.
The SLAM will meet the requirements of Asylum seekers? convenient to Heathrow!
 
I served there from 1973-6 in radio troop 10 signal regiment, which in season was the KAPE team, aid to the civil powers ( stains air crash etc) and queens public duties, as well as providing driver operators for the AIDU, later called EOD which was based across the road in beavers lane camp. I do have somewhere some photos of the place. It also housed the WRAC contingent that manned the Comcen in horse guards, and the camp. comcen, and the queens baggage wagons when her nibs went abroad, or foreign heads of state visited the UK. and ambulances for mill bank military hospital. ( 419Tp RCT)

The camp also had a SIB troop, and a few lads from the intelligence corps, one of which played the bagpipes, at dusk, in the summer, on the crenelated ramparts of the keep, which was just inside camp gates, much to the consternation of the locals whose houses were directly opposite. The camp men's blocks housed 64 OR's in 4 man rooms, in bungalow type blocks next to the football pitch.

The WRAC contingent outnumbered the men by 2-1. They were housed in the original 2 story stable blocks, the ground floor stable stalls becoming a single bed accommodation, because the whole building was listed, the low stall dividers were left in situ, which meant when any of the girls " Entertained us lads" all their mates could hear what was going on, and vice-versa in the men's block, just across the football pitch. The MP's would regularly raid the men,s block at silly O Clock in the morning, and being signals we would get a heads up from the Comcen, and so in the early hours, could be seen a procession of bare foot scantly clad females running across the football pitch, climbing in through the ground floor windows of the WRAC block.

The NAAFI pigs bar was at the far end of the girls block was on the square side, and was the scene of many a debauched nights festivities, resulting in a few girls being returned to their depot in Guildford, with a notice pinned on their Back stating" Return when empty" One or two kids had as their place of birth as " WRAC block, hounslow barracks".

We manned the emergency opps center in the police station in Heathrow when Arab terrorists threatened to blow up an El-AL jumbo, again when the IRA got a bit up themselves at the airport. We covered London's flood control centers, long before the Thames flood barrier was built, and supplied men and women on SDS duties. When the IRA bombs went off in london and home counties, which was every week, we deployed to our control locations, and many times, accompanied the AIDU* END.

* AIDU. Ammunition Inspectorate and Disposal Unit.
 
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We moved there after 2 years in Cyprus in mid 80's. What a hellhole it was then. We had a quarter in Feltham and got off the bus outside the Hussar pub and walked up Barrack Road and the stink of curry every morning was :pukel: And of course it is under the flight path with planes every 30 seconds coming over.
 

Cyberhacker

War Hero
So the Micks are moving to the Shite... out of the frying pan into the fire.

Mind you Mons is not the worst place...

I guess the Jocks have moved back to Cat?
 
We moved there after 2 years in Cyprus in mid 80's. What a hellhole it was then. We had a quarter in Feltham and got off the bus outside the Hussar pub and walked up Barrack Road and the stink of curry every morning was :pukel: And of course it is under the flight path with planes every 30 seconds coming over.
Try getting some kip when the Concorde was doing flight trials, or when 747's went over, as for curry smells, didn't exist, only a few Indian family's when we were there.

You must admit it though, only 40 minutes from the center of the biggest city in the northern hemisphere, don't tell me you never went into central london, the west end, Carnaby street, Trafalgar square, tower of london Etc, visited the sights, had a meal in a fancy restaurant with your wife, all of which amply makes up for a "Shit Posting" Half the fun of the army is visiting places that you would never ever imagining getting to. I made a point of getting the hell outa dodge when ever i could, and visit and experience the sights and sounds of every country i was posted to, and being from the smoke,, i was on my home turf, And all paid for by the great British taxpayer, whats not to like.

Now almost 50 years later, 3 photo albums , and shit loads of souvenirs. you know it makes sense. ;)
 
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You must admit it though, only 40 minutes from the center of the biggest city in the northern hemisphere, don't tell me you never went into central london, the west end, Carnaby street, Trafalgar square, tower of london Etc, visited the sights, had a meal in a fancy restaurant with your wife, all of which amply makes up for a "Shit Posting"
Bloody hell, are you sure that your posting was as late as the mid 70s?
 
Try getting some kip when the Concorde was doing flight trials, or when 747's went over, as for curry smells, didn't exist, only a few Indian family's when we were there.

You must admit it though, only 40 minutes from the center of the biggest city in the northern hemisphere, don't tell me you never went into central london, the west end, Carnaby street, Trafalgar square, tower of london Etc, visited the sights, had a meal in a fancy restaurant with your wife, all of which amply makes up for a "Shit Posting" Half the fun of the army is visiting places that you would never ever imagining getting to. I made a point of getting the hell outa dodge when ever i could, and visit and experience the sights and sounds of every country i was posted to, and being from the smoke,, i was on my home turf, And all paid for by the great British taxpayer, whats not to like.

Now almost 50 years later, 3 photo albums , and shit loads of souvenirs. you know it makes sense. ;)
The wife's family were living in Battersea so it was not to bad that way but I would have preferred us moving back to Chelsea with the quarter we had in Balham where we were before Cyprus, but we got that sh1thole instead.
 
I served there from 1973-6 in radio troop 10 signal regiment, which in season was the KAPE team, aid to the civil powers ( stains air crash etc) and queens public duties, as well as providing driver operators for the AIDU, later called EOD which was based across the road in beavers lane camp. I do have somewhere some photos of the place. It also housed the WRAC contingent that manned the Comcen in horse guards, and the camp. comcen, and the queens baggage wagons when her nibs went abroad, or foreign heads of state visited the UK. and ambulances for mill bank military hospital. ( 419Tp RCT)

The camp also had a SIB troop, and a few lads from the intelligence corps, one of which played the bagpipes, at dusk, in the summer, on the crenelated ramparts of the keep, which was just inside camp gates, much to the consternation of the locals whose houses were directly opposite. The camp men's blocks housed 64 OR's in 4 man rooms, in bungalow type blocks next to the football pitch.

The WRAC contingent outnumbered the men by 2-1. They were housed in the original 2 story stable blocks, the ground floor stable stalls becoming a single bed accommodation, because the whole building was listed, the low stall dividers were left in situ, which meant when any of the girls " Entertained us lads" all their mates could hear what was going on, and vice-versa in the men's block, just across the football pitch. The MP's would regularly raid the men,s block at silly O Clock in the morning, and being signals we would get a heads up from the Comcen, and so in the early hours, could be seen a procession of bare foot scantly clad females running across the football pitch, climbing in through the ground floor windows of the WRAC block.

The NAAFI pigs bar was at the far end of the girls block was on the square side, and was the scene of many a debauched nights festivities, resulting in a few girls being returned to their depot in Guildford, with a notice pinned on their Back stating" Return when empty" One or two kids had as their place of birth as " WRAC block, hounslow barracks".

We manned the emergency opps center in the police station in Heathrow when Arab terrorists threatened to blow up an El-AL jumbo, again when the IRA got a bit up themselves at the airport. We covered London's flood control centers, long before the Thames flood barrier was built, and supplied men and women on SDS duties. When the IRA bombs went off in london and home counties, which was every week, we deployed to our control locations, and many times, accompanied the AIDU* END.

* AIDU. Ammunition Inspectorate and Disposal Unit.


After I got married in 1978 my father and my new wife had to visit the QMs dept at Hounslow barracks to pick up the MFO boxes so that my wife could have her stuffed shipped out to Gibraltar. IIRC she was entitled to 3 or 4 boxes for setting up a new home. :)
 
Bloody hell, are you sure that your posting was as late as the mid 70s?
As stated 73-6, the added bonus, was my father and his brother had an electrical stores, workshop and office on the upper floors of 47 Carnaby street. On one of my forays into london,( could have been mill hill REME or empress state?) i swerved by Carnaby street in my 4 ton bedford RL ( 27EP19) and parked up in the street, attempting to see my dad, only to get moved on by plod, you have to understand that the army could do no wrong, we could go anywhere we liked, and plod were on notice to render all assistance and help, as the micks were in the middle of their bombing campaign of london, but on this occasion, they felt i was pushing it a bit to far, as the street isn't all that wide, certainly not wide enough for a green machine like a RL bedford. Different times, different mind-sets. :p

Edit to add:- If you want to see what swinging london, and carnaby street was like at that time, U-Tube it " swinging london, carnaby street", or the look at life short. Today its but a mere shadow of its former glory, just another bloody tourist trap, devoid of any character, or the buzz and joyous sounds that made it the center of the known world for us hip with it groovy sixties teenagers. ;)
 
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