Bad Eilsen Reunion

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It is now known that several former service personnel made private visits to Bad Eilsen in the years following the departure of the RAF in 1955. However, it was not until 1998 that the first seeds of what has become known the Bad Eilsen Reunion were sown.

In that year Brian Pugh, from his home in California, sent an email to the Bad Eilsen municipal office recalling his days there with the RAF. Its arrival coincided with a visit to Bad Eilsen by Charlie Garrad who was staying at the home of Deputy Mayor Dagmar Soehlke. Dagmar showed Charlie the message and before returning home to Canada he asked Dagmar, Mayor Horst Rinne and others to alert him if they became aware of any other contacts or visits by ex-servicemen or women.

Thus, when Terry Maher and Ken Regan visited Bad Eilsen in 1999 they were interviewed by Mayor Rinne and by the local press and Charlie received details.

Contact was made between Brian, Charlie and Terry and it was decided to find out whether there were other “Bad Eilseners” who would be interested in forming a Reunion.

Following advertisements in various publications there was an enthusiastic response.

Thanks to Mayor Rinne and the Soelkhe family in Bad Eilsen who looked after local events, and to Terry who organised travel arrangements from the UK, the first “Return to Bad Eilsen” took place in August 2000 when a party of 30 (ex-servicemen and women, spouses and guests, plus German former civilian employees) gathered for a very successful week resulting in an annual return ever since.

Geoff Lipscombe assumed the role of Return Organiser in 2001 and started a Newsletter and now produces the Bad Eilsen Reunion Gazette (BERG) four or five times a year. Charlie created, maintained and improved the annual directory of members – which has now reached 350 in 10 countries – up to and including the 2006 edition. This task has now been taken over by George Marshall. Michael Barry oversees the advertising for new members.

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