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At 1500 hrs on Thursday the 26th of March 2009 Osnabrück Garrison became history, the final handover parade was held in Imphal Barracks where The Royal British Legion Osnabrück Pipes & Drums performed a Beating of Retreat before the Garrison marched on for the final lowering of the Union Flag and the Last Post.
The salute was taken by Major General Mungo Melvin, GOC Germany and the Lord Mayor of Osnabrück Boris Pistorius. The Pipes & Drums and Branch Standards led the Garrison out of the gates for the last time before the symbolic handover of the keys to the German Federal Authorities.
Osnabrück will be fondly (or maybe not so fondly) remembered by the many thousands of soldiers who had served there since 1945. It was once the biggest Garrison outside of the United Kingdom, with over 13.000 troops and families stationed there at the height of the Cold War. Those days have now gone and there are other battles to be fought.
After the handover ceremony the RBL Osnabrück Branch hosted a reception where various presentations were made. In his last act as the last Garrison Sergeant Major, WO1 Duncan Lamb, presented the Branch with his pace stick, a truly magnificent gesture and it will take pride of place in the new Branch premises.
The Branch has now moved out of Woolwich Barracks and continues to thrive in their new home. They are confident, that despite a drop in active membership due to the Garrison closure that they will survive. Now that the lights have been switched off and the last gate shut, RBL Osnabrück are the last reminder of British military presence in Osnabrück after 64 years.
©The Royal British Legion 2014. Registered Charity No 219279. 199 Borough High St, London SE1 1AA. Tel +44 (0)20 3207 2100