PoW Camp 100 St Martins

This former PoW Camp is in poor condition and is in the process of being demolished

Location

Bank Top Industrial Estate, St Martins, Shropshire, SY10 7HB

Site Visits

May 2019

Material

DSLR & Drone Photo
UK Foreign Office Inspection Report

Description

My visit to thing camp was extremely rewarding as well as timely. The site may be said to be divided into several areas:

  • A modern industrial unit made up of a large long and single-story building exists to the side of the former PoW Camp.
  • A modern storage yard is to be found to the rear of the former PoW Camp.
  • Derelict huts used to accommodate PoW are located at the rear of the site

A few huts in very poor repair are to be in the middle of the site and are in use by a scaffolding company for the storage of scaffolding and support equipment. The PoW Huts at the front of the site including an ablutions block and a very large brick build watering tower are in the process of being demolished to make way for a new industrial estate.

I arrived to find that not only is the site due to be cleared to make way for a modern industrial estate, but the site was being cleared NOW. I got to watch and photograph the demolition of one of the huts. It is likely that the entire site will be cleared as soon as the scaffolding company completes its move off site, Thus the images I took using a DSLR as well as a drone may be the last every photos of this former PoW Site that actually shows the huts used to house the PoWs.

From Shropshire History:

Second World War prisoner of war camp for around 600 Italians until Italy surrendered in 1943, after which it was used for Germans. On February 18th 1945, a number of German PoWs escaped and one managed to get onto Rednal Airfield, a big Spitfire training base. He fell asleep in a Spitfire cockpit and was discovered in the morning by a WAAF flight mechanic called Margery Lamb. “One of our jobs was to empty the planes of petrol every night. In the morning the first thing we did was to fill them with petrol again. I struggled up this icy wing to open the cockpit and there he was, a very beautiful blond German pilot, who was asleep. I let out a blood curdling scream that brought everybody running to the spot and also woke up the fugitive. While they awaited the arrival of the Military Police, the Group Captain invited the German into the crew room for a drink of hot cocoa. He conveyed to the Group Captain he would not go until he found me. By this time I was hiding at the back of the crowd. He found me and beckoned me. He said ‘You cocoa with me’. So I found myself drinking cocoa with a German escapee. As I left, he clicked his heels and bowed. He gave himself up without a fight and on being searched was found to have in his possession a half pound of black pepper in a tin and a knife handle sharpened to a razor’s edge. The prisoner was returned to the POW camp. Later in the day it was reported that all the escaped prisoners had been recaptured.” The camp remained in use up until 1948 when it became a light industrial estate that uses many of the original camp buildings.


Camera and Drone Images of the site of former PoW Camp 100 St Martins


Extracts from UK Foreign Office Inspection Report from UK National Archives Kew:

FO 1120/183 PoW Camp List 20Feb47