THE 
RAF WINTERBERG 
REUNION 1999
www.RAFWintergberg.co.uk
LAST UPDATED JULY 2007
Return to Main Index Page
NEW !
THE 1999 REUNION AT WINTERBERG PAGE
REPORTS and PHOTOGRAPHS

The 1999 Winterberg Reunion took place on July 16th to July 21st at Winterberg in Germany. This page contains reports from those who made the trip plus a selection of photographs. To submit reports or photographs please use E:Mail to




CONTENTS
Report from Keith Mason

Photographs   (CLICKING PHOTOGRAPHS WILL TAKE YOU TO ANOTHER PAGE. A LINK IS PROVIDED BACK TO THIS PAGE)



 
We stood on the roof of the Astenturm and the years just fell away. The shape of the 
aerials had changed, the white fencing now was made of plastic but the view
remained as breathtaking as ever.

The journey to Winterberg had been quite long. First a flight from Heathrow to
Amsterdam then meeting up with other members of the party at Schipol airport
followed by a long coach journey across Holland and into Germany.

The first view of Winterberg confirmed that here was a place transformed from the
rural village we knew forty years ago  into an almost Disneyland like ‘model’ German
town. The town square, now empty of traffic and cows was still familiar although
many of the buildings had been extended or rebuilt. There were flower beds, trees and 
model animals for children to climb on.

We stayed at the Hotel Hessenhof right on the town square where we got together the
first night for a dinner where we all got to know each other and to meet John Welsh,
his wife Mia and son Philip who live two villages away at Olsberg. Later in the cellar
bar of the hotel quite a lot of beer was consumed and old times remembered.

The visit to the tower had been arranged by John in conjunction with the German
weather service who now occupy our former rooms at the top. These rooms are now
unrecognisable having been transformed into a cosy work space with computers, a
small kitchen and even a television to help the on duty weatherman to pass the time.

Climbing the metal staircase to the top however had changed little, it even had the
same slightly damp smell. Partners, wives and friends who made the trip with us were
impressed by the setting of the tower and considering the hardships many of our
generation suffered in the name of National Service, thought we must have had a very
cushy time.

We had a small meal in the Astenturm hotel beneath the tower and explored the
surrounding heath land including the Lenne Quelle, the source of one of the main
tributaries to the Ruhr and then the Rhine.

W also enjoyed a trip to the domestic site, courtesy of the German Army who use it
now as a training school. Some of the large dormitories we knew have been broken
down into smaller rooms but enough remained to be familiar. The actual room I
occupied for over a year, is now a linen store.

We had a good meal in the canteen the layout of which was as it was but changed in
detail. The bar had now become a classroom. For me, the place suddenly became full
of ghosts and I found it very hard not to feel sad about  what had been and what had
gone. I also remembered those people we knew who have now passed on. 

I had been back to Wintereberg twice before but never had access to the Tower or the
Domestic Site. I had not been as moved on those two occasions as I was on this one. 

As a break from Winterberg we also made a trip to the Mohnesee. This was a chance
to see and remember the vast area of tree covered hills surrounding Winterberg. We
stopped off at the Ruhrquelle, source of the river Ruhr, and enjoyed cake and coffee
in a small village in a converted water mill.

One of the highlights of the whole trip was a visit on the second evening to the
Schutzenfest. here we had our own table and the beer arrived in crates. We even
merited a mention on the loudspeaker system and applause from the crowd.
Schutzenfest seemed however a little less wild than forty years ago or maybe we were
just seeing it through older eyes.

John had given us a printed sheet explaining the origins of the festival and the
purpose of the rather long tedious process of shooting at a wooden eagle until it was
destroyed. Interesting that it took over forty years to work out what the Schutzenfest
was all about.

While in Winterberg, we met up with Rex Demster who now lives in Winterberg and
who served in the camp from 1960 until 1962. He is now a time keeper at the Bob
Run and he showed us over the run including all the technical aspects. Events from
the run are often televised on the satellite station Eurosport and I will watch some of
these transmissions next winter with extra interest especially as they use some of the
cameras permanently fixed along the track.

On our last evening we enjoyed a meal together in the Hessenhof and took leave of
John and Mia Welsh after presenting them with two bushes for their house as a
momento of the visit. The following day we made the long drive back to Amsterdam
and went our one ways back home.

A group of us in the South will be meeting up in a month or so time to go through
photographs we have taken and I hope that we will have a reunion which everyone
can attend somewhere in the UK in the year 2000. 

For myself, I have to say that the trip was well worth the effort and special thanks
must go to John Welsh and his wife Mia, Jim Hooper and Rex Demster whose inputs
made the whole trip work so well.
 

Those making the trip were

Ted and Kate Gittins
Terry and Joan Henson
Jim and Barbara Hooper
Peter and Elaine Hoyes
John and Sheila Loder
Keith Mason and Faruk Valera
Johnny and Sandra Walker
John and Mia Welsh
Philip Welsh
Edward and Angela Wilks
Rex Demster

Plus our driver ‘Ton’

MAIN INDEX
CONTACTS
WINTERBERG PHOTO ALBUM 1
WINTERBERG PHOTO ALBUM 2
'EXTRA PAGES'
IBURG
NORDHORN
UCHTE
LOOKING FOR
LETTERS
NEWS
STORIES
FULL EMAIL LIST
NATIONAL SERVICE
REFEXIONS ON A CHAIN
POEMS
HISTORY OF CHAIN
JOHN DEVEY'S DIARY
IN MEMORIUM
1999 REUNION WINTERBERG
1999 REUNION PHOTOS
2000 REUNION.
RONS PHOTO ALBUM

Top of page

www.RAFWinterberg.co.uk