Soldiers show off best of British in Germany

The res­i­dents of Ger­man town Pader­born woke up to the unusu­al site of a red dou­ble-deck­er bus last week as they were shown the best of British by the British Army.

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The Band of the Welsh Guards Beat­ing the Retreat at the bian­nu­al Brit­fest held in the city of Pader­born, Ger­many
Source: Cor­po­ral James Williams, Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

Offi­cers and sol­diers of 20th Armoured Brigade (The Iron Fist) who are based in Pader­born in north west Ger­many wel­comed their hosts to a spe­cial Brit­fest extrav­a­gan­za designed to show off the British way of life and the work of the Army. 

The sol­diers, who are more used to prepar­ing for the rigours of oper­a­tional life in Afghanistan than enter­tain­ing the locals, put on a show which start­ed with a parade led by a dou­ble-deck­er bus and includ­ed Beefeaters from the Tow­er of Lon­don, cer­e­mo­ni­al guards and ‘bob­bies on the beat’. 

The day’s events cul­mi­nat­ed in a joint British, Ger­man and Pol­ish mil­i­tary tattoo. 

The pop­u­lar fes­ti­val, now in its third year, is a way for the Army to thank their Ger­man hosts — who let them train at the near­by world class mil­i­tary train­ing ranges in Sen­nelager — and to bring res­i­dents and mil­i­tary per­son­nel from the region togeth­er in a dis­play of friend­li­ness and comradeship. 

Welsh choir Cor y Gyr­lais, the Pipes and Drums of the Roy­al British Legion, Welsh boy band 4th Street Traf­fic, and sword dancers the ‘New­cas­tle Kings­men’ enter­tained thou­sands of locals. One of them, Car­la Roberts, aged 39, said: 

“Hav­ing an event like this allows us all to appre­ci­ate and expe­ri­ence the best that each cul­ture has to offer and helps us all get to know each oth­er a lit­tle better. 

“The Ger­mans and the mil­i­tary have become much friend­lier and approach­able and these kinds of fes­ti­vals bring peo­ple closer.” 

The Guin­ness bar and whiskey-tast­ing proved a hit for the locals, while demand for cur­ry and tra­di­tion­al fish and chips kept the mil­i­tary chefs busy in the mobile kitchens. 

To reflect 20th Armoured Brigade’s Scot­tish links, Sec­ond-in-Com­mand of 3 Close Sup­port Bat­tal­ion Roy­al Elec­tri­cal and Mechan­i­cal Engi­neers, Major Jim Tor­bet, recit­ed Robert Burns’ poet­ry dressed in full peri­od clothing. 

But it was the ulti­mate strong man com­pe­ti­tion organ­ised by 1st The Queen’s Dra­goon Guards (QDG) which proved one of the biggest hits. 

Cor­po­ral Tony Lavelle, QDG, said: 

“Fes­ti­vals like this are great for build­ing rela­tions, it’s impor­tant that we have a good rela­tion­ship with our Ger­man hosts — we all live togeth­er here as part of the same community.” 

Major Jack Kemp of 1st Mil­i­tary Work­ing Dog Reg­i­ment, who organ­ised the joint mil­i­tary tat­too, added: 

“Along with the 21st Panz­er Brigade and the Pol­ish mil­i­tary band, we have man­aged to put on a great spec­ta­cle for lovers of mil­i­tary music. The con­cert part of the show was well-received and so was the Welsh choir. 

“The high­light was the march­ing bands which received the biggest applause.” 

Deputy Com­man­der of 20th Armoured Brigade, Colonel John­ny Sern­berg, opened the fes­ti­val. He said: 

“The efforts from all the reg­i­ments and bat­tal­ions as well as from the Pader­born Stadt are deeply appreciated.” 

The mon­ey raised by the event will go to a num­ber of Ger­man char­i­ties as well as to Help for Heroes, ABF The Sol­diers’ Char­i­ty and the Roy­al British Legion, in sup­port of Her Majesty’s Ser­vice personnel. 

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK 

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