1984/06/23 – 1984/06/30 – 700 Jahre Rattenfänger – 71 Amph Engr Sp Sqn

© Derek Mitchell, Glen Goodfellow

In 1984 the town of Hameln celebrated the 700th anniversary of the Pied Piper legend, while I was OC 71 Amph Engr Sp Sqn, part of 28 Regt. The town invited Hameln sports clubs, local towns and villages and associated organisations and us to play a part in the celebrations by having floats in a parade. My CO decided that the Robin Hood legend was of a similar date and ordered me to design the 28 Regt float with that as its theme.  Having done some research, we reckoned that the Robin Hood story is a compilation of a number of different folklore tales but many may indeed be of about that date. Our float depicted the trees of Sherwood Forest with the Sheriff on his horse, a prisoner in tow, with Maid Marion, Friar Tuck and Robin’s merry men roasting a sucking pig on a BBQ on the deck of the Bedford 4 tonner. A likely suspect was being “hung” from the tree overhanging the tailgate!  Though wearing a full harness under his costume and with a safety break link in case his neck was actually stretched, he found the ride so uncomfortable that he only did the hanging for short periods. The trees were a “pi” shaped construction of Christchurch Cribs with playwood “cartoon” trees on either side. The fire was real. I instructed the guys that they had to keep the spit turning by hand and that they were not to eat the pig before returning to barracks. The procession took far longer than planned but my instructions, with theatrical effect in mind, luckily resulted in a delicious slow-cooked suckling pig – eaten in the Sqn bar afterwards. You will see the front of the truck had a sign “ROBIN HOOD 1584”, in case of doubt to its relevance. We had collected the wrapped boiled sweets from Army Compo Rations for weeks beforehand and these were thrown to the children lining the several km route. These photos were taken from the balcony of a hiring overlooking the road approaching the Weser bridge.

1984 feierte die Stadt Hameln das 700. Jubiläum der Rattenfänger Sage! Örtliche Vereine, Institutionen, umliegende Dörfer und Gemeinden wurden eingeladen um an den Feierlichkeiten teilzunehmen und sich auch aktiv daran zu beteiligen! Natürlich auch die in Hameln stationierten britischen Einheiten. Derek Mitchell bekam von seinem damaligen kommandierenden Offizier den Auftrag einen Umzugswagen zu gestalten. Als Thema bekam er “Robin Hood” denn diese Sage hat ein ähnliches Datum wie das der Sage aus Hameln. Derek seine Männer bauten einen 4t Bedford um mit einer Szene aus der Robin Hood Sage. Auf der Ladefläche wurde aus Pappe und Sperrholz der Sherwood Forest dargestellt und Bruder Tuck, Robin und Maid Marion und einige andere wurden durch Männer der 71 Amph Engr Sp Sqn dargestellt. Ein Geächteter wurde sogar live aufgehängt. allerdings natürlich mit den nötigen Sicherheitsvorkehrungen, das dem armen Mann nichts passiert. Er trug unter seinem Kostüm ein Hosenträgergurt, der die Schlaufe um seinen Hals vollständig entlastete.

Während des Umzuges wurde auf dem Fahrzeug ein Spanferkel gegrillt. Welch Folter, denn Derek warnte seine Leute nicht von dem Schwein zu essen, bevor sie wieder in der Kaserne sind. Weil der Umzug länger dauerte als geplant, hatten die britischen Streitkräfte ein wohl gegrilltes Ferkel, welches sie dann in der Kaserne zur Feier des Tages verspeisten.






In 1984 as part of the Royal Engineers’ contribution to the Rattenfanger 700 celebration, the famous Robert Browning poem “The Pied Piper of Hameln” was read by Maj Noel Mulliner RE (OC 64 Amph Engr Sqn) and my wife Mrs Jill Mitchell – both in black. The British children were the rats and our families were the citizens of the town.  Regrettably I cannot remember the name of the British Pied Piper – perhaps someone can?
Auch die britischen Kinder beteiligten sich aktiv an der 700-Jahr Feier. Sie studierten das Rattenfängerspiel ein und das Gedicht von Robert Browning wurde durch Maj Noel Mulliner RE (OC 64 Amph Engr Sqn) und Jill Mitchell, Derek seiner Frau vorgetragen. Derek konnte sich aber leider nicht mehr daran erinnern, wer den Rattenfänger gespielt hat, vielleicht weiss es jemand von Euch?




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    • Pauline Groves on Februar 20, 2019 at 7:17 pm
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    My dad, Hugh Pope was at 28 Amphibious Regiment at this time. We moved to Hameln in 1983 x 1986. Unfortunately he passed away in 2007. I have so many wonderful memories of Hamlen. I was one of the children and my sister a rat for the 700th anniversary. It is all very vague but the photos help.

    1. Thanks for your comment here and I am really sorry for your loss! I am glad you found some great memories here!

    • Danny Holliday on Juni 7, 2017 at 10:07 am
    • Antworten

    I was the Officers Mess caterer at the time and organised the bar and buffet for the invited dignitaries in the upper floor of a bank in the town square which overlooked the route of the flouts. I was presented with a commemorative tie by the Brigadierfor my efforts and still have it.

  1. Robin Hood float = 1284 (not 1584). I was the official photographer for 28 on the day 23 June ’84 published in the RE Sapper magazine. See My 28 Facebook page for close up of fifth image above – I am in the image walking in front of float with sandy coloured trousers. I have some more close-ups you can have though they may need scanning first. Kind regards. Steve

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