Officer Cadet Squadron
I only heard about this unit in September 2012, when I received this email from Mike Gator -
Hi Gordon, Gordon Barracks was situated on the site of Gillingham Business Park. It was the home of the Royal Engineers Officer Cadet Squadron from 1950-1961. Over 3000 Sapper Officers were commissioned there after field engineer training. Instructors regarded Bailey Bridge panels, etc., as FOUR man loads as far as O/Cs were concerned as opposed to the normal six man load for sappers! I still have a bad back!!! Units of RSME moved to Chattenden in 1966 and the site was flogged off to Gillingham Borough Council for redevelpoment in 1978. The barracks were built in the 1930s when they provided training and accommodation for an Army Apprentices School. They were known as Darland Hutments. Between 1940-1946 they were used as a Military Detention Barracks with the name Fort Darland. I understand that one of the prisoners died as a result of harsh treatment and the detention centre was closed. The name was then changed to Gordon Barracks. In 1949, 11 HQ Regiment at Ripon was renamed 11 SME Regiment, reorganised to provide HQ, Training and Officer Cadet Squadrons and moved with the Field Engineer School to take up accommodation at Gordon Barracks.