Gloucestershire

Fall of Berlin Wall remembered at Imjin Barracks, near Gloucester

Laurence Roach and Florian Raebel
Image caption Maj Laurence Roach (l) and Lt/Col Florian Raebel said the piece of wall "reminds us that there are still divided cities and divided people"

Soldiers at an army barracks in Britain that boasts its own section of the Berlin Wall are marking 30 years since the structure began to come down.

The 3m (9ft) piece was given to the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) by the German government in recognition of Western support during the Cold War.

It was kept at the ARRC's base in Germany but in 2010 the ARRC relocated to Imjin Barracks near Gloucester.

Maj Laurence Roach said: "We're all very proud to have it here."

Maj Roach added: "It's really a quirk of history that it should be here.

"Our base used to be in Germany and it [the wall segment] was gifted to Nato and to the Brits in particular by the German government in gratitude for our period of serving in Germany and West Germany through the Cold War."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption East Berliners scaled the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989, 28 years after the structure was erected

The German army's Lt/Col Florian Raebel, a staff officer serving with the ARRC - a Nato "high readiness force" - grew up in West Berlin and was 16 in 1989.

Speaking about life for West Berliners before the wall came down, he said: "We were free. We had the deutschmark, we had Western cars and everything you want.

"On the other side everything was grey, less cars, a smell in the air from the old heating systems. There were no restaurants, no cafes, no advertisements - it was another world."

Image caption This side of the wall faced the East and so has no graffiti on it

He said on 9 November 1989, he was at the cinema with his girlfriend and when they came out the centre of West Berlin was "crowded with people from East Germany".

"I went home quickly and my father was sitting in front of the television watching the news with tears in his eyes and then he opened a bottle of champagne because it was unbelievable."

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