The Kaserne was a German Army garrison during WW11. During the war many of its buildings were damaged by Allied bombing. After the war ended, the French Occupying Military Forces took over the Kaserne and directed that the damaged buildings be rebuilt to original plans.
Below left, the renovated CYC at the entrance to the Kaserne. This was the Canadian Youth Centre where the young people got together. The German owner had gone there as a teen himself and wanted to preserve the building, which he did. Below, right, the entrance way (on the right side) with K1 building under renovation. This was the Brigade headquarters. The gate and the military guard house that was an ID check point are gone.
Below left, Area 3 PMQ, across from Link VW (my PMQ in the 1970s). Below right, the group of Area 13 PMQs behind Area 3.
Below, Link VW as it is today and the beautiful building that remains as it was, on the right side of the PMQ road into Area 13.
The Army and Air Force lived side
by side. It was our first experience with the Army way of life and for many of the Army people, it was their first experience with the RCAF way of life. (It was around 1968 when both services lost their long-time names and became simply Canadian Armed Forces. Most military people, though, continued using their old names.)
I remember many a weekend night with parties going on in our building and in those behind us. One minute a group would sing one of their Army songs out the window of their PMQ and the next, the Air Force would retaliate with one of theirs--each time a little more loudly than the last, all of it a friendly rivalry.
Unlike most Canadian military bases, the facilities were divided into two areas here in Lahr: the airfield or base as most of us called it, was situated at the far west side of Lahr; the Kaserne, at the far east side. As Lahr is not a large city, it took only about 15 minutes to drive between the two. The PMQs were also located at various parts of the city and in other nearby towns, side by side with civilian housing, also unlike any other base that I know.
Soon, the Kaserne will no longer be as we remembered, as a huge construction project is ongoing. Most of the buildings have been torn down, so it is difficult to recognize anything other than a particular location of a building one once knew well. A few of the buildings will remain--renovated from the inside out--and they will be turned into apartments. The rest of that area will consist of single homes, duplexes and garden homes.
Canadian Forces Europe Headquarters was located at the Kaserne. The picture on the left shows the front entrance and the one on the right, the back of K4. I don't know whether it is to be torn down, but I think it is likely.
The Kaserne is also where Canex main offices (K5), and many of the schools were located. On the left is K5; on the right, one of the schools still standing.
Other facilities found at the Kaserne were the arena, curling club, gymnasium with bowling alleys, the main Canex store (mini department store) and a coffee shop and restaurant. All of these buildings have been torn down. At the airfield we had similar facilities, some still standing, some gone.
The picture at right is the road going through the Kaserne from the back gate to the front with buildings being constructed along it.
Below left, the area where the former Community Centre was located. On the right of that now empty space is an insurance company built after the Canadians left. The picture on the right shows part of the area where the C.C. once was with apartment buildings along the road.
Our Community Centre, in downtown Lahr, included a movie theatre. It was also a tourist centre for Canadian military and civilian personnel offering tours all over Europe. We had our own buses with tours available to many countries, but also day tours to closer destinations. For more distant places, other bus companies were also used. Over the years, thousands of people, including many family visitors from Canada, took advantage of all the various tours offered. Three that I took included a ten-day trip to Greece, a long-weekend in Burgundy with wine tastings and wonderful dinners and a day trip to Gruyere, Switzerland, where cheese fondue or Raclette was a lunch choice.
Two other important community services were the Canadian Forces Network (CFN) and Der Kanadier newspaper. The building on the left was the former CFN, now the German Red Cross. On the right, the Der Kanadier building where Canada Haus is presently located. The building is owned by a company that operates a day care centre for the elderly on the bottom floor.
Der Kanadier was a weekly newspaper that was free for all Canadian military and civilians working for the Canadian Forces. It brought everyone up to date on all the happenings and upcoming events, including all the community club news. It was a fountain of knowledge for new Canadians arriving in Germany, with many articles written about the surrounding area and its history.
On the right, the front entrance with raised garden area.
Two Canadian facilities were the Black Forest Officers' Mess and Canadian Forces Hospital Europe. Both were and still are just outside the former Kaserne back gate. The latter was built by the Canadian government and opened in 1991. Shortly after we learned that CFB Lahr would be closing, the decision was made to go ahead with the opening of CFHE as the hospital was almost completed. I and my staff readied our Medical Records Dept for the big move, just as we were to do two years later when it officially closed.
On the left, the sign at the front of the hospital. On the right, the emergency entrance.
The hospital is now a Heart Clinic, performing many heart operations a year.
Three views below.
One of the towers under renovation on the left
Although the Kaserne is not easily recognizable today, the airfield is still much the same, except for the road leading from the back gate towards the marguerite. Many huge transport and logistic companies and small businesses are now lining it with hundreds of trucks going in and out daily.
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