A vital supply centre in northern France during WWl has had its name re-used and enshrined in the most famous of all Army towns.The practice of naming barracks in large garrisons after famous battles dates back to the 1890s. During the 1920s and 1930s when Aldershot district was being extended, a number of First World War actions were commemorated by naming new barracks in Aldershot and Aborfield after them. These included Mons, Lille, Hazebrouck and Poperinghe.In 1939 a militia training area, previously known as "The Sands" became the site of St Omer Barracks. This was intended to be the new Army School of Cookery then administered by the Royal Army Service Corps and previously located at Mandora Barracks Aldershot. St Omer takes its name from a French town lying 26 miles south east of Calais, which became the headquarters of the British Expeditionary Force from October 1914 until November 1915.There was no battle of St Omer in the First World War, but following the battle of the Aisne (2nd-15th September 1914) General Sir John French, the Commander B.E.F., withdrew the British Force to support the Northern Flank of the allies and all formations concentrated around St Omer prior to moving east to form the main front line between Ypres-Le Bassee and Armentiers.St Omer continued to be the Army HQ until the end of 1915 and a major communications and supply centre throughout World War I. It was here on 14th November 1914 that the great Field Marshal, Lord Roberts of Kandahar and Waterford (who won an early VC in the Indian Mutiny) died whilst visiting troops in the St Omer area.The original barracks at St Omer, pictured above, were officially opened on 7th March 1941 two weeks before the ACC was formed. The Corps trained at St Omer from 1941 until 1993, when the Army School of Catering and army catering came under the control of The Royal Logistic Corps. Cookery training continued at St Omer until 2006 when all army catering training was moved to the Cookery Training Wing at Worthy Down.The 1941 barracked was demolished in the late 1960s and the new St Omer Barracks was officially opened by the Colonel-in-Chief, Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent on the 28th October 1971. The two picture below show the barracks with the tower block which contained over 60 kitchen-classrooms, together with lecture rooms, a cinema, a demonstration theatre and two 500 seater dining rooms Under the Allenby/Connaught Project, St Omer and the tower block was demolished in 2007 and the area was redeveloped to create modern and flexible living and working environments for soldiers.
St Omer BarracksThe home of the Army Catering Corps