POW camp 18 -
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
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."
Here are a couple of old pictures from this website They show the walls
and entrance which still can be seen to this day
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.
The reason most people come now is fishing for salmon. Here is the weir.
and here is the castle
A lovely oak just beginning to turn into autumn infront of the old POW gates and with the castle
And this aerial view which gives a good idea of the size of the camp
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.
Correspondence with a German officer who ended up at the camp. see
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
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.