PoW Camp 8A Mile House

The former Mile End PoW now sits as field with crops between a Service Area on the A5 and a Golf Club

Location

Mile End, Shrewsbury Road, Oswestry, Shropshire

Site Visits

May 2019

Material

DSLR Photos
UK Foreign Office Inspection Report

Description

This site was as I had expected it from previously looking at Google and OS Maps, there is no trace of the former PoW Camp. This site is now a simple field next to a golf course and close to a Service Area off the A5. The field had been planted with something like Wheat or Barley these being some 30cm high when I visited the site. As the field had been set with crops, I was restricted to a short walk around the field boundaries taking a small number of photographs.

From Shropshire History:

Mile House POW Camp 8 (SJ31172825)

Prisoner of war camp near Oswestry used in the First World War. One of the German prisoners, Friedrich Thomas, recorded in his diary that it hadn’t been so bad but there were privations in winter such as wading through the ankle deep mud to the privy at night, frozen water in the wash house and the lack of acceptable cocoa. The rank and file prisoners were used as work parties on the local farms or plantations but the officers tended to keep to their camp, usually making their own entertainment. They set up a choir and put on recitals, organised art exhibitions, played football, handball, hockey and tennis and organised a festival of sport. They were also allowed to drink beer and wine and read English newspapers. There were about 600 officers in the camp and around 6,000 in total. In 1919, Admiral von Reuter and his naval comrades who scuttled German warships at Scapa Flow were bought here and in July 1919 a prisoner named Oster was shot by a sentry at Park Hall army camp while trying to escape. The last prisoner was repatriated in November 1919. During the Second World it became a prisoner of war transit camp holding around 2,000 PoWs before they were sent to North America.  There were mass breakouts from this camp, which was used until 1948.

Validation on this site has been made by and since I took my photos by Malcolm Sanders. On his website Mr Sandars shows a very very large sight, one that extends not just to the location opposite Mile House but through to Mile End Service area and with markings visible on Google Earth on the opposite side of the A5. In terms of land area this may be one of the largest camps in the country and a revisit to this site is needed.


Camera Images of the site of former PoW Camp 8A Mile House


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

FO 939/91 PoW Camp 8A Mile House – Narrative Report