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Military ceremony in E Berlin 1979?

Looking for a bit of help here due to aged brain cells!

I was on HMS Bulwark 77 - 79 and after a while bringing her out of mothballs, we headed off to Hamburg for a jolly - June 1979.

While in Hamburg an opportunity arose for several members of the Ship’s Company to attend a (military I think) ceremony in East Berlin and would like to know what I attended, as today I was talking to a chap from Berlin.

I do recall the trip to W Berlin going in on the train, seeing all the rows of Soviet tanks from the train, staying at Spandau Barracks and going through Checkpoint Charlie in a coach - but have no recollection of what or precisely where, the ‘ceremony’ was. I do remember an eternal flame or similar, with goose-stepping guards. On the way back to Hamburg on our coach, we took a detour to Belsen. If only we'd had cameras in those days.....!

After asking on Rum Ration, this was found:


www.ebay.ie

Rare 1979 HMS Bulwark Visit Hamburg & Helmstedt East Germany Authorising Permit | eBay
Rare 1979 HMS Bulwark Visit Hamburg & Helmstedt East Germany Authorising Permit | Stamps, Great Britain, Postal History | eBay!
www.ebay.ie

https://www.navy-net.co.uk/community/posts/1459350/react?reaction_id=1
I have contacted the seller to see if my name is on the nominal list.
Can anyone help me out here with the E German event? Was it a one off? An annual event? TIA!
 
That sounds like the Neue Wache:

Neue Wache.PNG

It was a war memorial with an eternal flame inside. The East Germans used to do a daily Changing of the Guard ceremony up until reunification in 1990 (we sometimes used to visit when on Wall Patrol), at which point the flame was extinguished too. The building is still there as a tourist attraction.
 

Brotherton Lad

LE
Kit Reviewer
Yep. Neue Wache. There was a changing of the Guard several times a day. In DDR times it was dedicated to The Victims of Fascism::


There was also a major parade every year in June on Karl Marx Allee.

1578053083402.png
 
Yep, the marching bit would appear to have been the 'Neue Wache' but the 'event' was most definitely not the military parade! Even I'd have remembered that!!

I seem to remember an obelisk, but that might be a false memory.
 

Brotherton Lad

LE
Kit Reviewer
Yep, the marching bit would appear to have been the 'Neue Wache' but the 'event' was most definitely not the military parade! Even I'd have remembered that!!

I seem to remember an obelisk, but that might be a false memory.

There's the TV tower in East Berlin by the Town Hall (known as the Pope's Revenge because of the cross on it formed by the sun) and there's the Siegesaeule on the west side of the Brandenberg Gate. There will also be Egyptian obelisks on Museum Island:

1578073129829.png


1578073036707.png
 
I remember seeing the TV tower because our guide (probably not an East German!) pointed out the cross on the tiles!

Slight thread drift but weren't you given some sort of commemorative certificate?
I was on the freedom of the city of Osnabrück parade in 1980 and received the following...

PhotoPictureResizer_191104_221408674_crop_2181x1497~2.jpg
 
I remember seeing the TV tower because our guide (probably not an East German!) pointed out the cross on the tiles!
Sounds very much like you went on a BMWS (British Military Welfare Service) organised bus tour of East Berlin.
They always stopped at the changing of the guard ceremony. Do you remember stopping at a shop selling Russian tourist crap (dolls and the like) called Natashas?

ETA photo:
Berlin-wall-sliders-03-b.jpg
 
Last edited:

Brotherton Lad

LE
Kit Reviewer
Sounds very much like you went on a BMWS (British Military Welfare Service) organised bus tour of East Berlin.
They always stopped at the changing of the guard ceremony. Do you remember stopping at a shop selling Russian tourist crap (dolls and the like) called Natashas?

ETA photo:
View attachment 441390

I was a tour guide as a young Capt in 1983.
 
Sounds very much like you went on a BMWS (British Military Welfare Service) organised bus tour of East Berlin.
They always stopped at the changing of the guard ceremony. Do you remember stopping at a shop selling Russian tourist crap (dolls and the like) called Natashas?

ETA photo:
This is what is so frustrating - I KNOW we were all invited to some ceremony/parade/function, part of which was a tour of the East. They would not have sent 20 matelots to E Berlin from Hamburg just for fun! I don't think! Remember I gave up the delights of the Reeperbaum to go on this trip!

I can still 'see' the entrance to Spandau Barracks and Checkpoint Charlie, plus the memorial thing. Soannoying!
 

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