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POW camp 18 - Featherstone

***New pages - actual transcripts of meetings at the camp during April 1946 ***

 The valleys around Featherstone are really quiet and tranquil. The tourists tend to keep to the military road alongside Hadrian's Wall or they speed past on the A69 between Carlisle and Newcastle. Very few make it over to Featherstone and Lambley. Walking along the byways here you can easily imagine yourself slipping back into earlier times and it is with some surprise that we then come across an old POW camp beside the river. The most died in the wool Nazis went down to a camp at Salisbury plain, but a lot of the less "committed" officers came up here...here is their story...

 Just a short way outside Featherstone castle and along the South Tyne lies this memorial to POW camp 18.

To quote from English Heritage

"Large hutted camp consisting of a guards' compound, two prisoners' compounds and a sports field. Site footprint still decernable. " 

It was opened in 1944 to accommodate Americans arriving for the Normandy invasions.Subsequently used for Italian POWs and then rehabilitating Nazi officers it was then closed in the summer of 1948.

Details as follows. quoted from Pegasus archive

Camp 18, bordering the South Tyne river and stretching across a mile of Featherstone Park, was constructed in 1944 to accommodate US personnel prior to their departure to Normandy for the Invasion of France. Read the rest here

 

  And here are the details from the memorial to Herbert Sulzbach, one of the translators and people who helped to integrate the POWs back into a normal world.

 "Here was the entrance to POW camp 18 where thousands of German officers were held in the years 1945-48.The interpreter since January 1946 was Captain Herbert Sulzbach O.B.E. who dedicated himself to making this camp a seed bed of British German reconciliation.
Our two nations owe hm a heart felt thanks. The friends and members of the Featherstone Park Association of Former Inmates of Camp 18, 1982."

pow camp 18

Here are a couple of old pictures from this website They show the walls and entrance which still can be seen to this day

pow camp 18 old picture

and

pow camp 18 haltwhistle

The erosion here might well have washed away a lot of the remains? You can just see the two stone gates where the memorial is. Immediately to the right of the gates are some low level foundations which are all I could see of the old POW camp.( stone gates are also seen in the old images above)

This picture of the camp in the snow is courtesy of Les Hull and included here under the CC licence.

pow 18

 

The reason most people come now is fishing for salmon. Here is the weir.

and here is the castle

featherstone castle

 A lovely oak just beginning to turn into autumn infront of the old POW gates and with the castle behind.

And this aerial view which gives a good idea of the size of the camp

pow camp 18 aerial 

 

 

on this Google map you can see the outline of the POW huts

  

View Larger Map 

What other material is there on the web?

Well Pegasus archive have a list of UK POW camps here

and this German site has old pictures and stories

A story about the German officers writing to the farmer who helped them during their time at Haltwhistle.

Read more here

Correspondence with a German officer who ended up at the camp. see here.

And our PINTEREST Board which we are using to collate all the images across the web.

 Other POW camps in Northumberland?

See this link http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/publications/prisoner-of-war-camps/prisoner-of-war-camps.pdf

POW camp 69, Darras Hall, Ponteland. Standard workcamp on the outskirts of Newcastle. Now a very wealthy suburb.

POW camp 105, Wooler. Standard German workcamp. Now part of a school. Also one at Hetton House, Chatton. In the Kyloe hills between Wooler and the coast.

POW camp 291 at Kitty Brewster, Blyth. Now part of an industrial estate

POW camp 635, Lord Mayors at Amble. Now part of a caravan park.

POW camp 667, Byreness, Otterburn in Redesdale

POW camp 699 at Gosforth, Newcastle.