Garrison Information - Catterick Garrison

By SPP Reporter


The name Catterick is derived from a fall or cataract on the Swale which runs near the Garrison. This natural feature was originally incorporated in the name of the Roman Garrison – Cataractonium the remains of which can still be seen near the Catterick racecourse.

The original concept of a permanent military camp at Catterick goes back to before the First World War. The building of what is now the principal military centre in the North of England stems from recommendations made in 1908 by the General Officer Commanding the Northumbria Division, Lieutenant General Sir Robert Baden-Powell, hero of Mafeking in the South African War and founder of the Boy Scouts Movement. The actual site for the camp was selected by the Director of Fortifications and Works, Major General Sir George Scott-Moncrieff. The first huts were occupied in October 1915 and the camp railway line was opened, linking the camp centre with the Richmond-Darlington line. The new ‘semi-permanent’ Training Centre was initially known as Richmond Camp but due to confusion with Richmond in Surrey it was retitled Catterick Camp in November of that year.

The camp was originally designed to house two complete Divisions worth of troops – 40,000 men, though the maximum number accommodated at any time during the Great War was 42,000. Towards the end of World War 1 the role of the camp changed from being just a Training Centre to include that of a Prisoner of War Camp for up to 5,000 POWs. After the war ended the camp became a demobilisation centre, a training centre, thereafter a Command Depot and then a dump for war materials. At one time 50,000 artillery pieces and 78,000 wagons stood wheel to wheel here awaiting disposal!

Following the partition of Ireland in 1921 it was decided to make Catterick a permanent Military Training Centre to replace lost facilities and a mammoth building programme was begun in 1923 and large tracts of land were purchased for training.

In 1924 the Signals Training Centre STC was moved here from Maresfield in Sussex and this was the beginning of a long relationship between Royal Signals and the Garrison which has developed over the years.

In the mid 1930s the Camp, as it was then called, was re-developed and many of the more substantial buildings such as the ‘Sandhurst’ Blocks and Garrison Headquarters were built. As a protection against the perceived air threat of the time the barracks complexes were dispersed and this largely accounts for the present layout of the Garrison.

During the Second World War Catterick was again expanded to meet the training requirements of the war time army and as well as a divisional sized administrative headquarters commanded by a Major General there were 4 brigade size field units and training organisations based here. Again a POW camp was established in the Garrison. After the war, Catterick once more settled down to peacetime soldiering. For many years it became an important centre for the training of National Servicemen with amenities and barrack accommodation being renewed and restored.

In 1955 the Signals Training Centre was re-titled the Training Brigade Royal Signals and all Royal Signals officer and soldier training took place here. In 1967 the School of Signals moved to Blandford leaving behind soldier training. On 01 Jan 1973 the ‘Camp’ officially became a Garrison once again. On 01 Jan 1977 Commander Training Brigade Royal Signals took over command of the Garrison and the Headquarters was redesignated Headquarters Training Group Royal Signals and Catterick Garrison and the Commander’s post became a Royal Signals Brigadier’s appointment. Headquarters Training Group Royal Signals and Catterick Garrison was closed on 03 Dec 1993 and Headquarters Catterick Garrison opened. In April 1996, on the formation of HQ 19 Mechanized Brigade, Catterick Garrison became part of that HQ. This was to last for the next three years until 01 April 1999, when Headquarters 19 Mechanized Brigade and Catterick Garrison split into two separate headquarters. In January 2005 Headquarters 19 Mechanized Brigade became Headquarters 19 Light Brigade as part of the future structure re-rolling. In 2008 19 Light Brigade moved to Northern Ireland and were replaced by 4 Mechanized Brigade from Germany. With the cessation of “Arms Plots” under Future Army Structures (FAS) this means that 4 Mechanized Brigade is here to stay. Recent and future developments will make Catterick Garrison a fantastic posting for Soldiers and their Families in the 52 major and minor units that make up the Garrison.


Catterick Garrison sits on an elevated plateau 2 mileswest of the A1 and 2 miles south of the market town of Richmond. The main Garrison area consists of some 2,400 acres of land with the surrounding training areas of Feldom and Bellerby adding a further 19,000 acres. Together, with the Catterick Training Area, the Garrison has responsibility for a sizeable slice of North Yorkshire. Since the takeover of RAF Catterick, now called Marne Barracks, there are 19 separate barrack complexes, accommodation for over 9,600 single service personnel Garrison Information Catterick Garrison and around 2,388 SFAs spread between Catterick, Darlington, Marne, Topcliffe, Dishforth and Ripon. Catterick Garrison is in many respects unique amongst military garrison towns. It is virtually self-sufficient, has its own infrastructure, owning and operating its own water supply system, a high voltage electricity ring mains and is of course responsible for all its property and estate maintenance.

The Garrison now includes the outstations of MDHU Northallerton, Alanbrooke Barracks, Topcliffe, Dishforthand Claro Barracks, Ripon.

The Garrison lies within the boundaries of the Richmondshire District Council and has developed close and well established links at all levels of Parish, Town, District, County Government and the emergency services.

The Garrison takes every opportunity to develop, improve and consolidate relationships with local organisations and the local population, both formally and informally, by holding regular briefings, presentations and hosting visits and extending invitations to the civil community to military and social events in the Garrison and is very strongly supported by the local community. Between 1992 and 1995 the Garrison experienced a significant expansion in military manpower and also, therefore, the infrastructure required to support them. Simultaneously a major building modernisation programme was completed at a cost of Åí140 million. Not only is Catterick Garrison the largest British Army garrison in the world, it has now been recognised as a town in its own right within the Richmondshire District Council’s Local Plan. Under Future Army Structures (FAS) the Garrison has the capacity for further expansion. The Garrison Headquarters is supporting plans for such expansion.

Recently, Catterick Garrison has undergone a further major programme of investment and redevelopment to improve the quality of life for Service Personnel, their families and the local community.

In September 2009, the new Catterick Leisure Centre was officially opened. It provides three pools, a sports hall and fitness gym alongside a new Regional Rehabilitation Unit and a County Council library.

Other recent developments include the Richmond Centre Catering, Retail and Leisure facility which caters for the majority of Junior Ranks (JR) in Mnster Barracks and a combined Officers’ and SNCOs’ Mess situated in Richmondshire Lines along with over 1,500 SLAM bedspaces. A much needed Sergeants’Mess Annex has also enabled the two regiments in Marne Barracks to accommodate their SNCOs on site for the first time. At Gaza Barracks there is a new Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants Mess’, an Officers’ Mess Annex, new Technical Accommodation which includes the Regimental HQ building and LAD and more recently a new SLAM block providing 394bedspaces. The Catering, Retail and Leisure facility will be delivered mid 2012 Discussions also continue with a developer to deliver a modern town centre and The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) has signed an agreement with Birmingham-based Lingfield Securities to carry out proposals for the development of the latest phase of a new town centre at Catterick Garrison, in the area of the Central Sports Ground.

The project, with a development value in excess of £25 million, will see the creation of up to 120,000 sq ft of much needed retail and leisure floorspace spread across approximately 20 units, as well as circa 300 car parking spaces and a 60 to 80 bed hotel within the 3.50 hectare site.

Community Engagement – Military Civil Integration Partnership (MCIP)

The Armed Forces Covenant expresses the enduring principles that govern the relationship between the Nation, the Government and the Forces Community.Its principle is that nobody should face disadvantage in the provision of services compared to other citizens as a result of being part of the Armed Forces community. Special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have given the most.

Armed Forces Covenants are voluntary statements of mutual support between civilian communities and their Armed Forces community, and have been signed by all of our local authorities and many businesses in the region.

The MCIP is a working partnership between the British Army, local authorities, statutory bodies and other civil organisations in the region.MCI aims to maximise the mutual economic and social benefit to both the Armed Forces community (serving, reserve, families and veterans) and our civilian community.

The long term aim is to ensure the Armed Forces community in Yorkshire and the North East, particularly those in and around the Garrison area, improve their quality of life which will benefit the whole community.

Enquiries relating to Community Engagement or the MCIP can be directed to the Staff Officer responsible for building and maintaining engagement mechanisms with MCP civil partners, military stakeholders and third sector organisations in the region:

Hazel Bright, HQ 4th Infantry Brigade & HQ NE, Building 11, Bourlon Barracks, Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire, DL9 3AD Tel 94731 6136Civ Tel 01748 542136

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