ST GEORGE’S BARRACKS MEMORIES
I served there in the early 1970’s.
I note that the building called the gatehouse/captains house was actually the Sgts Mess, while the “North Building” was the guardhouse and armory. I recall spending my last three years of military service in the guard room on New Years eve. Somehow or other I managed to pull guard dutyfor that night for three years in a row. I remember the ships in the harbor sounding their sirens at midnight.
I also recall going to the bank in the high street, many, many times in order to pick up payroll for the barracks. Armed with a wooden truncheon, and the pay clerk with a WW-II .38 webley revolver we picked up fairly large amounts of cash (for that time anyway) without incident.. It must have been the site of those wooden truncheons that kept the armed desperadoes at bay.
BTW – When did the army vacate the site, and where did the units go, if you know?
I looked at some of the pictures and note that the main barracks are rather similar to what are know as lofts over here, and which have become extremely popular with some of the more adventurous and artistic elements. The high ceilings and so forth provide a lot of opportunity for self expression and the large open spaces do likewise.
I recall the legend that the barracks were the result of a mistake in the planning department of the old war office way back in the 19th century. If the legend is true the barracks were destined for India, and somewhere in India the army built the one intended for Gosport.
During my time there the barracks were very lightly used and most of the space was empty. This was most likely due to the fact that most of the soldiers were away almost all of the time on-board ship and very rarely stayed in barracks. Mostly us married guys went from home to the ships and back again. Most of those that were not married only stayed in barracks while the ships were in refit in the dockyard, a few short weeks each winter.
Was stationed in NEW BARRACKS GOSPORT (ARMY) (latterly known as St.Georges Barracks -Navy) from Sep 1939 until Mid 1941. The barracks were then the home of the 342nd Machine Gun Training Centre which took over from 2nd Bn The Middlesex Regiment.
The bugle calls from the Barracks could be heard clearly in the High Street from Reveille to Lights Out. In 1941 I moved to Fort Brockhurst to join 70th (YS) Bn Dorset Regt so still associated with the town of Gosport.
I often think of my days as a young soldier in Gosport and have made several visits since. In 1940 I was involved with the defence of Gosport peninsular and had to regularly visit the Forts in Military Road The Airport, Browdown Ranges etc etc etc.
I used to live at 45 Weevil Lane back in the late 60s when my father was in the army. The house from what I can gather used to be used by Queen Victoria when she used to travel down to the Isle of Wight and used the house as a stop over before the boat trip over. On the other side of Weevil Lane you can still see the railway line that was used to bring her down. Out side St Georges Barracks is an old blue lamp post which my father had put in as the place wasn’t very well lit.
I too have many happy memories of St. George’s Barracks. Although I now live in Inverness I was recently in Gosport and went round to see the barracks.
My memory of the barracks are as follows. – I was a fitter in the Royal Engineers and had applied to become a marine engineer at that time in the Royal Engineers. I was in Germany in 1966 when my posting came through to the school for marine engineers at Gosport. Although not as Army barmy as the infantry you knew you were in the army whilst stationed in Germany.
My travel instruction came through and I left Germany, flew to England and caught the train down to Portsmouth. On arrival at Portsmouth I enquired how I could get to Gosport. I was told to get the ferry not far from the station. Stepping off the ferry at Gosport I asked a taxi to take me to St Georges Barracks Guardroom. Within a few minutes we pulled up outside the guardroom. Having just left the Royal Engineers in Germany where a guardroom was a place to wary of I nervously knocked on the door. After a while the door was unlocked and opened. I was amazed to see a corporal dressed in blue constable trousers, a white roll neck sweater and most amazing of all slippers. Standing to attention I told the corporal I had been posted to St Georges Barracks. He invited me in, asked if I wanted a cup of tea, which came with a couple of slices of toast liberally spread with butter. Although this was way out of any experience I had had in the army I knew I was at home!