POW CAMPS

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Stanley
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POW CAMPS

Post by Stanley » 19 Oct 2018, 06:23

POW CAMPS


During World War Two the army took prisoners and under the Versailles Convention, which we adhered to strictly, these POWs as they were called had to be housed and treated humanely. Ideally it was felt that it was best if they were housed as far away from the fighting as possible and in small numbers as this made them easier to supervise. The consequence was that all over the country small hutted barracks were erected and carefully selected prisoners installed in them. This selection was founded on how glad they were to be out of the fighting and conditions for the most trusted were very relaxed and they were often used for local farm work. It may surprise some to learn that quite a few were kept in the Craven Area.
I first learned about local POWs when Cyril Richardson at Little Stainton told me that they had a live-in prisoner during the war they called Yup and that he was a good worker and no trouble at all. Then I was told by Jack Platt who drove for Wild's in Barlick that he drove a coach and had a regular contract moving prisoners to and from work each morning from a large camp at Skipton which is now a caravan park.
Harold Duxbury told me that Briggs and Duxbury built several small camps in the area for the War Department. There was one at West Marton but the one that really interested me was one at 'Gisburn Corner'. He let me copy the plans for this and it was only then that I realised I was looking at the site of what was later to become the Coronation Hotel at Horton. The camp was built and occupied during the war by prisoners and later, as they were repatriated and the camp became redundant, the site was bought by Vaux Breweries of Sunderland who built a large coaching inn to cater for the holiday and lights traffic heading for Blackpool. Remember that in the days before the motorways the Preston road was the direct route from the North East to Blackpool which was at the height of its popularity. I knew the Coronation well because in the 1960s, when I was working out of West Marton Dairies I delivered the Coronation milk each morning and got to know Bunty Heaton who ran the place and her husband Fred very well. Morning coffee and a bacon butty were always waiting for me!
Later still, using the internet, I got in touch with men who had been POWs in the area and they had very happy memories of their enforced stay with us. They all told me the same thing, that they were treated well and formed long-term friendships with the people they worked for. This pleases me because it contrasts so much with the experience reported by our soldiers who were held captive in Germany.
So, next time you are at Horton Corner look at the housing development on the old Coronation site and think back almost eighty years.

Image

Briggs and Duxbury's plans for Gisburn Corner.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

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