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A bit of the Berlin Wall in Kent

Hannah Ratcliffe
BBC Kent

Dismantling Berlin Wall
Royal Engineers 38 Squadron removing the Berlin Wall along city's British sector

After the historic breach of the Berlin Wall on the 9th November 1989, it was a long process to take down the whole wall.

The Royal Engineers 38 Squadron dismantled the part of the wall which ran along the British sector of the city. They left the city in 1994.

After the Second World War Europe was split between East and West. Winston Churchill described it as an "iron curtain" down the middle of the continent.

Berlin Wall in Kent
Part of the Berlin Wall now in Gillingham

The Berlin Wall was built in 1961 was the most visible element of the so-called Iron Curtain. It divided Berlin into East and West sections. The East section was given over to Russian control while the West section was split between Second World War allies Britain, France and the United States.

The Royal Engineers 38 Squadron were based in Berlin from 1957 to 1994 carrying out maintenance work for the military known as garrison works.

Once dismantled, the Wall was considered scrap, unwanted in Germany because of its connection to the old days when Berlin, Germany and Europe were divided.

Dismantling Berlin Wall
Royal Engineers 38 Squadron dismantling Berlin Wall

The squadron kept part of the Wall they dismantled from the Staaken Checkpoint area and brought it back to Gillingham to mark their involvement in removing the wall to reunite Berlin. It now stands at the Royal Engineers Museum.

The 38 Squadron was disbanded when the British military left Berlin in 1994.

The Royal Engineers have been based in Medway since 1812, when the Royal School of Military Engineers opened in Chatham. This was added to with a museum, archive and library in Gillingham in the 1850s.



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