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TUESDAY 16 JULY  2024

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NAAFI visit that went down like a bomb

How two Daily Star men got arrested by Redcaps

LOOKALIKE: Rick Blake, left, and Ernst-Volker Staub

By GEORGE DEARSLEY

As we skipped down the steps of the Lufthansa plane, Daily Star photographer Rick Blake and I were excited to be on a foreign trip.


We had been sent to a huge British Army base near Düsseldorf to seek reaction to a report that divorce among squaddies was around twice the national average in Civvy Street.


We headed to a large NAAFI where I began interviewing some women.


But minutes later I felt a hand on my shoulder and turned to find myself confronted by three Military Police officers.


Attempts to plead we were on a job for Her Majesty’s Press fell on deaf ears.


The Redcaps gave us two options: we could come with them or be handed over to the German police.


“Take my word,” said the Windsor Davies clone, “you would not want that. Better if you come with us.”  


We were carted off to the British Military Police HQ, where a sergeant took our Press cards, claiming he’d  never heard of the “Daily Star”.


After several hours (and well past copy filing time) we were released.


It transpired the base had been bombed by the Baader Meinhof a few weeks previously and Rick was a dead ringer for the terrorist group’s leader Ernst-Volker Staub.


The Ministry of Defence offered interviews with some handpicked (happy) couples but the copy was lame and unusable.


There was nothing for it but to retire to the four star Hotel Nikko, order a cocktail and dive into the rooftop pool.


The Star’s cartoonist Bill Caldwell supplied a memorable (private) drawing.

7 December 2023