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Hounslow Barracks

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Hounslow Barracks

Hounslow Barracks redirects here. The London Underground station so named is now named Hounslow West tube station.

Cavalry Barracks is a British Army installation located north of Hounslow Heath in Hounslow, west London. The site, which has been used for more than two centuries by the British Army, is currently part of the Ministry of Defence's SLAM (single living accommodation modernisation) project to improve military accommodation.[1] Hounslow was one of 40 new barracks established around London to guard against possible French invasion in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

History

The area around Hounslow Heath has been used for centuries to garrison Armies of The Crown because of its proximity to London, Windsor Castle and Hampton Court. In the 17th century, Oliver Cromwell marshalled an army on the heath at the end of the English Civil War in 1647. James II also camped his troops here to hold military exercises in an unsuccessful attempt to intimidate the Parliament in London shortly before the Glorious Revolution.

In 1793 the area became a permanent barracks for troops using the heath when permanent buildings were erected because of the possible invasion by the French during the Napoleonic Wars. The barracks became a busy depot for the London military district. Florence Nightingale undertook some of her early training at Hounslow. By 1884 the barracks had its own railway station on the newly created London Underground.

In 2007 MPs expressed concern in a report that some of the Victorian buildings at Cavalry Barracks were so bad that troops staying in tented camps in Afghanistan had better living conditions than those at Hounslow. Between March 2010 and mid-2011, the MoD has built 396 en-suite bed spaces in six new accommodation blocks to house 354 junior ranks and 42 for senior non-commissioned officers (SNCOs).[1]

Cavalry Barracks remains today the home to the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards. The regiment is currently involved in public duties in London and also preparing for their next operational tour in Afghanistan.

Notable deployments

In late 1941 the 70th Bn. The Middlesex Regt DCO moved into Hounslow Cavalry Barracks. Known as the "Young Soldiers Battalion" because they were all 18 and 19 year old volunteers, they remained there at the barracks until they moved over the road into Beavers Lane Camp in 1942. Hounslow was the first time the troops had been formed together as a battalion since their formation in May 1940, having been scattered in small units in and around London guarding Vulnerable Points (VPs).

Until the 1970s, Cavalry Barracks was home to the (Army's) West London Communication Centre and the Hounslow Regimental Pay Office manned by members of the Royal Army Pay Corps.

From 1981 to 1986 Cavalry barracks was the home of the 1st Bn Grenadier Guards (1st Foot Guards). During their stay they mounted public duties in London and Windsor. They were also responsible for providing military support to the civilian services at Heathrow Airport at the time of high terrorist threat from the IRA. The Battalion also deployed from Hounslow to South Armagh in Northern Ireland.

Beavers Lane Camp, which was opposite the Cavalry Barracks, was the base until 1983 of 10 Signals Regiment, one of the British Army's communications Regiments. Beavers lane was later sold off and is now the site of a business park.

Last fatality from flogging

In June 1846 Private Frederick John White was flogged after a Court-martial sentenced him to 150 lashes for insubordination at Hounslow Barracks. He died a month later making him the last soldier to die after a flogging in the British Army. White was buried in nearby St Leonard's churchyard, Heston. Calls for abolishment of flogging were made in Parliament; it was eventually outlawed in 1881.[2]

References

External links

  • Hounslow HIVE
  • Fallen Leaves
  • The Keep Armoury
  • Former Officers' Mess

Coordinates: 51°28′10″N 0°23′21″W / 51.4695°N 0.3893°W / 51.4695; -0.3893

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