Situated on 90 acres of land at the entrance to Glen Artney, in the Perthshire countryside, Cultybraggan Camp has a broad history dating back to 1939 when it originally opened as No. 21 War Training Camp. Currently consisting of just under 100 Nissen Huts, Cultybraggan was known as a “black camp” and housed around 4,000 “Category A” Prisoners of War, who were thought to be the most extreme Nazi prisoners at the time, requiring a maximum security camp. Interestingly, the first prisoner to be held at Cultybraggan was a sergeant from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, who was captured and marched under escort to the camp, for going AWOL from Stirling Castle. Apparently he had done this due to concerns for his pregnant wife..
In 1944 a German prisoner was wrongly accused by fellow inmates of being a British spy, and was taken to a shower block, beaten and hanged. Eight prisoners were taken to London and tried for the murder, all plead not guilty, two were found not guilty, one sentenced to life imprisonment and the final five were hanged in what was reported to be the biggest ever mass execution in the history of the UK.
Rudolph Hess is alleged to have been held at Cultybraggan for one night following his plane crash in Scotland, however this tale has been put down to the tabloid press, he was in fact held some 40 miles away at Buchanan Castle.
In 1945 the camp was disbanded, only to reopen as an Army Training Centre in 1949. Apart from an area of huts to the Western side of the camp, which were demolished in the 1970s to make way for a firing range, the rest of the Nissen huts remain, having had the original WW2 Pot-Bellied stoves swapped for LPG powered heaters at some point. Most traces of the camp’s former role have now disappeared, with the exception to the isolation block, which was converted into a storage facility.
Along with the 1970s firing range and assault course, a modern Officer’s Mess facility has been constructed on the site. To the north of the site a now defunct underground Regional Seat of Government bunker and Comrie ROC post were constructed during the Cold War era, these shall be covered in separate reports.
The MoD thoroughly stripped and then abandoned the site in 2004, and in 2007 Comrie Development Trust purchased the site for Â£350,000 using charitable donations, through Land Reform legislation. Plans to develop the site to the benefit of the community are underway, which is a definite better alternative to the entire site being snatched up by a property developer!
I visited with a group of Flickrites who kindly let me tag along, they were leant the keys in return for making a donation to the Trust. Big thanks to Comrie Development Trust and “equso” et. al of Flickr fame! Security is otherwise tight throughout the site, should anyone be interested in visiting, please PM me and I will liaise with the Trust. I know that having permission (and the keys) to enter a site is not the Urbex norm, but maintaining security is helping the people of Comrie maintain what must be the finest remaining example of a World War Two PoW camp in the UK.
On with the shots, of which there is quite a few. I've tried to select the best ones, but the huge scale of the site makes this a difficult task..
View of the camp from the Vehicle Yard
Firing Range Store office
Cultybraggan had two sets of kitchens and dining rooms, the original being a Nissen Hut arrangement, and the later a much more modern, newly constructed Officer's Mess
Evidence of "Pikeying" of some sort was evident in several areas of the camp, where plumbing has been ripped from the walls, the insulation left discarded in their place..
A messy wall where a disposal unit used to sit within the new Officer's Mess, and the gloves to clean the mess up..
The modern dining rooms were could be divided by long, curtain style walls
The isolation block, which later served as a storage facility. The original window bars and cell doors remain.
Inside the huts, mostly stripped:
Some huts were beginning to deteriorate both internally and externally, hopefully the Community Buy-Out and Development Plan will help to put a stop to this.
Cultybraggan Camp, as viewed from on top of the Nuclear Bunker