Prisoners of War

During the war years a considerable number of prisoners from the prison camp in Holsworthy were requisitioned for work on the farms of the parish.

German prisoners at Lower Worden in 1943

German prisoners at Lower Worden in 1943

Initially these were mainly Italian, but as the war progressed they were joined by Germans who generally despised their work shy allies.

The prison camp was at Stanhope Square and the prisoners were dropped off daily at the farms where the work was mainly land drainage and harvesting.

Towards the end of the war some prisoners were boarded - although at times they absconded, and the police had to be called in to track them down.

In 1947 the Parish Council asked for a POW to clean up the Square - the request was not granted. In 1948 the POWs gave a concert in the Chapel.

Lorries Collide
No one, fortunately, was very seriously injured when two motor lorries collided at Stowford Cross, Bradworthy, on Tuesday morning. One lorry, belonging to the Devon War Agricultural Executive Committee, was conveying POWs to work on farms in the neighbourhood, and the other, owned by the Torridge Vale Dairies, was on a milk collecting round.

The lorries were proceeding at right angles to each other, one along the Lympscott-Bradworthy road and the other the Kimworthy-Blatchborough road, when they converged on the four-crossway, where the impact occurred. Both vehicles were badly damaged.

Mr. F. Harris, an employee of the DWAEC, and some of the POWs, who appeared to be suffering from bruises and shock, were removed by the Holsworthy Ambulance. The drivers of the lorries were practically unhurt. (August 1947)

Evidence of the old prison camp still exists on many local farms - after the war the perimeter fencing of the compounds was used to make iron farm gates and fencing stakes.

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