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Information and history about the British Military Hospital Berlin in Germany:
BMH Berlin was one of several BAOR (British Army On The Rhine) army hospitals in Germany. It is now closed though the building remains in use as a Krankenhaus.
The photo of BMH Berlin below was how it looked in 1969.
The new BMH Berlin building was opened in May 1967 (cited in the book Sub Cruce Candida: A Celebration of One Hundred Years of Army Nursing).
Address of BMH Berlin
The old BMH Berlin was sited in the Spandau borough of Berlin and the new built BMH Berlin was in Charlottenburg area. The old hospital is now a police barracks and the new hospital continues to be a community hospital. You can view the area of BMH Berlin on Google Maps by typing Berlin into the search box, then Dickensweg. It is the block surrounded by Dickensweg to the North, Ragniter Allee to the East, Heer Strasse to the South, and Passenheimer Strasse to the West. There are lots of streets around there named after British authors and poets. The military post code for Berlin was BFPO 45.
The best directions to get there recently is to not go by it being in the Charlottenburg district, as maps suggest, but by the closest s bahn Olympia steady.
It is said of the old BMH Berlin that what was above ground was also below ground, ie. a bunker. More about this underground hospital is written below with some photos of the sub-basement emergency hospital.
Ambulance Train Squadron RAMC (V) were based here.
Sadly none of the QARANC.co.uk team had a German posting and would love to expand this page with more details about this former army hospital and include a photograph. If you are a former or serving member of the Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps we would love your help.
If you would like to contribute any info, photographs or share your memories of BMH Berlin then please contact me.
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Memories of BMH Berlin
Millions Like Us: Women's Lives in War and Peace 1939-1949 has memories of a QA who was posted to a military hospital outside Berlin and remembers the food shortages caused when the Soviets severed communications into the city. She continues by remembering the Berlin Airlift, Operation Victuals, by the British, Canadian and French and having to scavenge for firewood to keep patients warm.
Re your piece on BMH Berlin. I served as an Infantry Medic with the Royal Hampshire Regiment from 1983 to 1985 and BMH Berlin was well known to me. Yes it did have a full hospital complex underneath the main building with external access provided by sloping ramps from the MT pool on the north side and if memory serves me right one on the south and east facing the main highway the Heestrasse.
The hospital was accessed internally through the sub basement via 4 foot thick blast doors with submarine type locking wheels and air filters for NBC/CBRN as its now known. All along the floor were luminous lines of different colour indicating where they led i.e mortuary purple building above was designed for in the event of a nuclear blast to collapse like a house of cards to give more overhead protection from the deadly radiation released. Richard Tyne
I worked at BMH Berlin as a civilian ("Labourer, General - 14 Indep PCLU") during 1969 and 1970. Administrative Officer in those days was Major D.P. Bullough, RAMC.
Indeed there was an emergency hospital under the main building, as Richard Tyne rightly says. This was there "just in case", and it was only used once or twice a year as part of the usual military exercises.
I remember these exercises as particularly pleasant because most BMH staff (including the sergeant in charge of us civilians) disappeared behind the thick bunker doors for hours, sealed off from the outer world - which meant leisure time for the rest of us, e.g. enjoying the extra cup of tea in the TocH, sunbathing on the roof of the main building, from where you had spectacular views over neighbouring Olympic Stadium or the skyline of Berlin. Those were the days ...
Dr. Christian H. Freitag
Qaranc.co.uk would like to thank Dr. Christian H. Freitag for the photograph of BMH Berlin at the top of this page and of the two hospital bunker photos. The signs inscriptions can still be seen on the corridor walls and read Wards 1 2, Theatres, Reception, Command Post and Ward 1 Command Post Male Staff.
I was in the Intelligence Corps in 1961 serving with a small army unit at RAF Gatow, Berlin. My wife and I lived in Charlottenburg and our daughter, Susan, was born at BMH Berlin on 29th September 1961. She owed her life to the close attention of the Queen Alexandra nurses, as the umbilical cord became wrapped round her neck in the course of labour. She was delivered by Caesarean section ( Kaiserschnitt!) by Major Shaw, obstetrician. Don Alexander
I also remember BMH Berlin, the sub-basement hospital-bunker was used by the stag guard whenever Hess was in for treatment, it was an arduous gig, with 18 hours on, 6 off, sleeping in the basement.
It was also used as a base for medivac exercises, the Doctors and Nurses making-up the wounds and injuries using surplus store clothing which could be cut, ripped and burnt. The troops - usually borrowed from the infantry - were given a broken arm, smashed-up face or asphyxia make-up, internal bleeding 'grey' etc...and sent to the 'battle field' in out-going ambulances, snuck into the scenario, treated with first-aid and sent back (often in the same ambulance! After it had gone round the corner to join the 'front end' of the exercise).
On the occasion I took part we worked out that if they gave me a pair of very large combat trousers I could fold my leg up inside, they then cut the leg at the knee, put a pink plasticine 'crater' over the knee, ran a catheter tube from the knee to a blood-bag at my waist/belly, stuck some bits of smashed bone and bacon in the plasticine, smeared it with a maroon gelly, blocked the catheter with a bit of goo and liberally coated the area in red ink before sending me out in the ambulance.
When we got to Ruleben Fighting City, I was carried into the back of one of the buildings (I couldn't walk very well and they wanted the wound to stay intact and laid out on the floor, a thunder flash was set off and I was told to keep screaming until I got in the ambulance, and start screaming again when we got back to BHM!
Medics ran in, saw the blood spurting from my missing leg and momentarily thought I was a 'No Duff'! dealt with me - Tourniquet and then ignored me while they dealt with the more complicated/serious stuff. By the time they got me and another amputee (arm) on stretchers the last ambulance (we had Unimogs in BB) had left so they chucked us both in the back of an open-topped Lanny.
Just after we turned off the Heerstrasse and were curling round the side of the Olympia Stadion my weight shifted or my arm fell across my stomach or something, anyway the catheter started pumping the dregs of the blood-bag which spread out the back in the slipstream and a young German woman following us in a silver VW crashed into the line of parked cars beside the stadium, whether it was due to blood on the windscreen or shock at what she 'thought' she'd seen we never knew as the medics had worked out what was happening and high-tailed it round to the hospital and shot down the ramp!
I also had 4 wisdom teeth extracted in one go under 'general' at BMH Berlin and was in and out in less than 24 hours. Hugh Walter, late 1 Glosters, Berlin Brigade 1986 - 1988.
I worked as a civilian at the BMH in Berlin in about 1971 working under Sgt Major Ray Martello whose senior officer was Major Saxton. It was a twelve storey hospital - six up and six down - which hopefully would virtually never be used. I understood that the holdout period for West Berlin was set at about 48hours whilst the expected time for the Russians to reach the Channel Ports was 36hours.
I was employed to work with German Staff of the Personnel Civilian Labour unit - I worked as a "Hygiene Control Officer" with one Rembert "Hans" Pallaske - a German Stalingrad veteran (Panzer driver). The secretaries in my group were Frau Mommert - an English woman married to a German- and Frau Ilse Winkler. I worked there for a year, during which we caught one rat!
We had a Land Rover and driver every day and went everywhere in the British sector including the observation post in the Reichstag, Spandau Prison which did a very good breakfast, Montgomery Base where we nearly set fire to the Ammo dump by mistake when killing a wasp nest . Hans filled the hole up with kerosene and was about to throw in a match when the MPs stopped us and took us inside to see what the "hill" actually was. We also went to Villa Lemm and all over the Olympic Stadium HQ - I kept a record of the number of ducks in the small outside swimming pool near the diving pool - I was bored. We drove there every day for six weeks to count them - no-one asked why I kept a duck ledger!
My co-workers brother drove a Beer truck in Berlin "Berliner Kindl". he had been on Hitler’s Chancellery Guard and met Hitler every day for some eighteen months. Sometimes I went across the Wall at Friedrichstrasse to see Berliner Ensemble Productions. I used to do little dances in the back of the Land Rover to see if I could make the Russian contingent in their Soviet Microbus smile. They never changed their expression for a moment, even at Checkpoint Charlie when my English girlfriend wasn’t too polite to the border guard inspecting the car - She was terrible at borders! Phil Clarke
The most infamous patient at BMH Berlin was the deputy leader to Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party Walter Richard Rudolf Hess who was captured during a flight to Scotland in May 1941 at the height of World War Two. He was tried at the Nuremberg Trials and sentenced to life imprisonment and was imprisoned at nearby Spandau Prison. During periods of ill health he was admitted to BMH Berlin where an entire floor would be shut off and secured for his treatment.
In her book Tales of a Lady in Grey with a Touch of Scarlet Lt Col Rosemary Sutton remembers the nursing by QAs of Rudolph Hess.
Rudolf Hess died on the 17 August 1987 by suicide at Spandau Prison. He asphyxiated himself with a cord attached to a window latch in a summer house within the prison. He was aged 93 years. He was called prisoner number seven of the Nuremberg Trials.
Another British Military Hospital connection with Rudolph Hess was when his aircraft crashed in Britain which led to his capture. This was near Eaglesham in Renfrewshire Scotland. There was a temporarily emergency hospital for the services here and the servicemen patients went to the downed aeroplane and collected souvenirs. There is a photograph in the collection of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Glasgow showing some British army patients placing the swastika from the plane wreckage onto their barrack block wall. This hospital was formerly the Mearnskirk tuberculosis convalescence hospital and after the war and the last Navy patients left in 1946 the hospital returned to its original function though as the incidence of tuberculosis reduced the building and staff turned to other specialities such as the care of patients with polio and then elderly care.
Photographs of BMH Berlin
The photograph below is how BMH Berlin looks now. It is a the cardiac treatment centre for Berlin, The Paulinenkrankenhaus. See www.paulinenkrankenhaus.de
View more Photographs of Berlin at
Do you know the address for BMH Berlin or have directions to get to BMH Berlin? If so please contact QARANC.co.uk so that we can add this info to the page. Thank you!
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