https://insideDIO.blog.gov.uk/2015/08/03/rebasing-military-working-dogs-from-germany/

Rebasing Military Working Dogs from Germany

I’m Private Matthew Greig and I’m a dog handler in the Royal Army Veterinary Corps (RAVC). My current posting is with 102 Military Working Dog (MWD) Squadron, 1st Military Working Dog Regiment (1 MWD Regt), which is part of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps (RAVC). We’re located in Sennelager, Germany.

Private Matthew Greig of 1 Military Working Dogs Regiment, with Bracken. [Crown Copyright]
Private Matthew Greig of 1 Military Working Dogs Regiment, with Bracken. [Crown Copyright]
I’m currently a Vehicle Search Handler. My job is to search vehicles with my dog Bracken to find weapons and explosives. This is an exciting job and has given me the opportunity to travel and work in countries such as Cyprus and Afghanistan.

Harvey, an Arms Explosive Search dog, on operations in Afghanistan.  [Cpl Ian Houlding, Crown Copyright/MOD2008]
'Harvey' the Springer Spaniel is an Arms Explosive Search (AES) dog, pictured here serving in Afghanistan. [Crown Copyright/ MOD2008]

 Life in Germany

I have been in the Army for three years and after training, I was posted to Germany where I’ve experienced a great deal. Germany’s location within Europe puts us within driving distance of lots of countries and interesting places. Life is good out here and I’ve enjoyed my time in Germany, however, the Regiment is on the move as part of the Army Basing Programme.

A search dog trained sniff out explosives and his handler patrol through muddy fields with 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment in Afghanistan. (Sgt Rupert Frere, Crown Copyright, MOD2011)
A search dog trained sniff out explosives and his handler patrol through muddy fields with 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment in Afghanistan. [Crown Copyright, MOD2011]
1 MWD Regt is due to relocate to St George’s Barracks, North Luffenham. This will be an exciting change for many in the Regiment who like myself, have never had a UK posting. Changes outside of work will be massive. It will be far easier to keep in touch and see my friends and family and the language barrier that comes with living abroad will be a thing of the past.

A German Shepherd Military Working Dog (MWD) from 101 MWD Support Unit, Royal Army Veterinary Corps (RAVC). [Graeme Main, Crown Copyright/MOD2008]
A German Shepherd Military Working Dog (MWD) from 101 MWD Support Unit, Royal Army Veterinary Corps (RAVC). [Crown Copyright/MOD2008]

 Developments for Dogs

Our new home is currently in the planning stages but we have received regular updates from the Commanding Officer. The Regiment has been working closely with DIO on the plans for the barracks which recently received planning permission. DIO will be providing the facilities we need to be able to live, work and train at our new home.

The dogs will have a brand new, state of the art, purpose built kennel system, enabling the Regiment to set the highest of animal welfare standards - the kennel system will be the best within the forces. There is also a new Veterinary Hospital being built to look after any sick or injured dogs. We will have a variety of large training areas, scent discrimination rooms and even an abseil tower to simulate helicopter insertions with our dogs!

Development plans for St George’s Barracks, North Luffenham [Crown Copyright]
Development plans for St George’s Barracks, North Luffenham [Crown Copyright]

We will also have a purpose built Squadron Headquarters which will also house the stores, briefing rooms, showers and changing facilities. The camp is surrounded by rural countryside and is ideal for an outdoor lifestyle. Located in the East Midlands, North Luffenham is drivable from just about anywhere! One downside to living in Germany is not being able to go home at weekends. This will change once we’re back in the UK.

Benefits of the Move

We currently have two Squadrons based here in Germany and the other is waiting for us in North Luffenham. Being based altogether will change things for the better. Sport is an example of an area which will improve. We have talented sportsmen and women throughout the Regiment and rarely get a chance to come together in strength and numbers. Regimental sport is a huge part of Army life and I am very much looking forward to 1 MWD Regt being competitive in all areas.

Although the move will come with its logistical challenges, we’re looking forward to the change.

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