British Forces in Germany

7. November 2019 18:15

Hugh Pierson, British Army Officer

The talk is based on research over the last 3 years on the history and development of British Forces in Germany 1945-2019 and will follow this history briefly, looking at the themes of Occupation, the move from peace to Cold War, living in Germany, and the changes after German Unification. The talk will also look at some of the challenges for the British Army in the 90’s and the first two decades of the 21st Century leading to the departure of the last formed unit in August this year. Finally, the talk will touch on what the British Government has decided to retain in Germany, and how this might develop in the future.

Hugh Pierson was born into a military family, and joined the British Army after attending the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst at the end of the 1970’s. His first posting was to Paderborn as a tank troop leader. Other postings included Münster and Bad Fallingbostel from where he commanded a squadron of tanks in the first Gulf war. After marrying his German wife Ortrud in 1993, Hugh left the Army, and after a period of retraining at London University, began working in Germany, first in a small engineering works near Hannover and later in Hannover for a British business, before joining the British Forces Liaison Organisation in Germany as the Services Liaison Officer in Bergen-Hohne in 2000. There he was able to put his experience of military and civilian service to good use. During his time in Bergen, he was the link between the British military community of nearly 12000 personnel, with the local German authorities, the regional Bundeswehr command, and a wide band of state and federal politicians. He has gained an expert view into developments within the British Army in Germany, and developments within German political and social institutions over the last two decades. In 2016, with the closure of the final British base in Niedersachsen, Hugh was selected to research and publication for a book on British Forces in Germany 1945-2019 – The Lived Experience which will be launched on 31st October 2019; the assistance to the National Army Museum in London and their exhibition beginning 14 February 2020 – 75 years of the British Army in Germany 1945-2020; and is covering the scope of a follow-on-documentary on the British Army in Germany. Hugh was awarded the Bundeswehr Ehrenkreuz in Silver in 2009 and the Niedersachsen Verdienstkreuz in 2015. Hugh is currently deputy chairman of the Hannover-British- Society, and when he has time free, enjoys many country pursuits, particularly connected to dogs and horses.