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Report - POW Camp 116, Hatfield Heath, Bishop's Stortfotd, Essex (March 2014)

Discussion in 'Military Sites' started by upright_ninja, Mar 17, 2014.

  1. upright_ninja

    upright_ninja Picture of Stealth
    28DL Full Member

    Oct 1, 2013
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    Well, after seeing other reports about this place I decided to take a trip there to have a look myself. Early start this morning and it was a bit fresh... especially on a m/bike at 0600hrs!
    I can't find a great deal of history about the place and I don't like to just "copy & paste" someone else's hard work, so I'll try and put together what I can find out.

    The camp at Hatfield was originally commissioned to house Italian POW's c.1941 and there were two other smaller camps at Matching Tye and Bishop's Stortford. The camp at Hatfield Heath accommodated approximately 750 Italian POW's who, because they posed no risk as Nazi's, were collected by transport daily and taken to various areas of farmland to assist with agricultural work. By 1943, however, this had changed and the camp now housed German and Austrian POW's. Like their Italian predecessors, the POW's were also taken out of the camp each day to 'earn their keep' by working the local farmland. This must have been a welcome break for all the inmates who more than likely found POW life quite monotonous. The conditions in the camps within the British Isles were in total contrast to what 'our lads' were enduring while incarcerated elsewhere in Europe and the rest of the world.

    On a lighter note, while I was looking for information about this site I stumbled across a very interesting quote from an American Government Issue pamphlet on how to behave when in mixed company with British citizens (I can provide the link for this particular source if anyone would like it). The area around Hatfield and in particular, Bishop's Stortford, saw a huge influx of American GI's in the latter years of the war and they were pretty much conditioned on how to behave whilst guests in our 'foreign land'... here it is:

    Care should be taken on swearing in mixed company, the word ‘bloody’ being one of their worst swear words. Don’t call their money ‘funny money’. They sweat hard for it (earning much lower wages than Americans). Don’t mock pounds, shillings and pence. American soldier’s pay is the highest in the world. Don’t brag about the fact to the British ‘Tommy’. Don’t be misled by the British tendency to be soft-spoken and polite. If they they need to be, they can be plenty tough. The English language didn’t spread across the oceans and over the mountains and jungles and swamps of the world because these people were panty-waists.

    Sound advice... the Yanks were always quite wary of the Tommy's and still are to this day!

    Anyway, here are a few of the shots I managed to get from today's visit... I apologise for the 'full-on mono assault' but I am a bit of a sucker for mono and considering the type of site this is, I felt it fitting to have them in black and white. Enjoy!

    I think this is the main mess hall for the British troops stationed here to look after the POW's. This looks like a serving counter.


    Troop accommodation I'm guessing? There's not much left, just empty buildings.


    Tower block. This was empty except for a couple of large diameter pipes and valves and the upper stories are inaccessible due to the ladders being blocked. Another time maybe, the view from the roof must be worth checking out!


    Steam/water valve from inside the tower block.


    The main concourse between the buildings.


    Through the window.


    Farm machinery inside an old Nissan type hut.


    Even graffiti artists prefer correct grammar!


    More machinery.


    Solitary resident.


    Another view inside the mess hall.


    An old tea-trolley, perhaps?


    The back end of a badly decomposed Hillman car... anyone know the model?


    Bombed out..!


    Lots of doorways.


    The inside of the Hillman car... I think that'll 'buff out'...!


    Thanks for looking... and again, apologies for the 'mono-overload'... I just can't stop myself.

    #1 upright_ninja, Mar 17, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014

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  2. Els

    Els Obsessed with BS7671
    Regular User

    Aug 6, 2008
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    It's a good report.
  3. Special Brew

    Special Brew 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

    Dec 17, 2012
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    nice stuff there my friend
  4. upright_ninja

    upright_ninja Picture of Stealth
    28DL Full Member

    Oct 1, 2013
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    Cheers, dude! :Not Worthy
  5. 12318

    12318 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

    Jun 6, 2013
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    Home Page:
    You can get up to the top floor (2nd I think) inside with a bit of effort despite the boards. However the roof is only accessible via an outdoor rusted-to-hell ladder, so didn't fancy the climb myself (it's also on the wall facing the active farm, so rather exposed)

    Some decent shots there
  6. Mr Sam

    Mr Sam 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Jan 24, 2007
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    ahaa the graffiti, i like the old machinery too
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