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Report - POW Camp (116) - Hatfield Heath, Essex - November 2013

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by whitelighter, Feb 8, 2014.

  1. whitelighter

    whitelighter 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

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    Finally got round to editing and posting my pics. Late report but here goes:

    What else do you do on a cold(ish) wet(very) November day? Trudge round the countryside looking for old stuff. Obviously.

    Visited the POW camp at Hatfield with friend and urbexing buddy 12318. He had already visited the site but was keen for a second look and so we found ourselves trudging up a puddly track in the Essex countryside.

    Camp 116 was set up to house Italian prisoners of war, but it later held German and Austrian captives.

    Prisoners were expected to work on the nearby agricultural land.

    Some further history from 12318's post, for those who haven't already seen it.

    Prisoner of War Camp 116 was set up in 1941 to house Italian prisoners of war. From 1943-1944 it mainly held German and Austrian prisoners. The POW's were allowed out to work on the nearby farms.

    From a Harlow Star article in 2008:

    Many people may not be aware that the area we now call Harlow was once a place where captured soldiers were sent to work the land.

    German and Italian troops caught during the conflict had the opportunity to break from the incarceration of prison camps to feel some sense of normality working on the farms which dotted the area.

    The work was totally voluntary and the lifestyle quite enjoyable in comparison to the life British POWs endured in German hands.

    There were a lot of Italians at the main camp in Hatfield Heath, which was built for about 750 people. The camp was non-Nazi, so it was classed low-risk and there was a War Agricultural Committee which arranged for Land Girls to pick up prisoners and take them to allotted farms and then take them back again.
    There were also two satellite camps, one in Matching Tye and one in Bishop's Stortford, which were on a smaller scale and the prisoners at the Matching Tye camp were sent to work on land which is now Harlow.



    A grim day in November gave probably the appropriate atmosphere to visit this place - damp, slightly dark and a bit depressing.

    On with the pics:

    Signs of an agricultural past:

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    But definitely an military camp:

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    Big hall, with what appeared to be desks at one end. Perhaps for booking 'guests' in:

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    Inside the huts:

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    Some detail shots, just because...:

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    And finally some of the stuff that is just, lying around outside getting all nice and rusty!

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    #1 whitelighter, Feb 8, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2014

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