When darkness loomed

While looking for interesting stuff for the weekly pictures from the past feature, I happened upon a wonderful selection of pictures taken in or around Cannock Chase during either the Great War or Second World War. The Chase back then bore little relationship to the site of outstanding national beauty we know today; it was far less wooded and more scrub, for it wasn’t until after the last war that the Forestry Commission was formed to revive our hitherto abused and lost woodlands. Being as it was – pretty much unfarmable wasteland – the Chase was heavily used by the military during both conflicts. Many know of the POW camp at Brocton, and of RAF Hednesford, but these pictures tell a story of a lost, perhaps less formal history. All come from the book ‘Cannock Chase: The Second Selection’ by June Pickerill. It’s a wonderful work, please buy a copy if you can.

I’m interested in the instrument this gentleman is using. It looks like a cross between a sextant and a telescope. He was clearly engaged is life or death work – anyone know who he is? Taken from ‘Cannock Chase: The Second Selection’ by June Pickerill.

Now, heres a thing. Tank testing. This is a great, fascinating image, but I’m also aware of tank testing at the quarry at Shire Oak, Brownhills. Has anyone got any more information? I think the tanks came up from Castle Bromwich. Anyone know how they came, and why they were tested there? Taken from ‘Cannock Chase: The Second Selection’ by June Pickerill.

This is a mystery for me. Why the YMCA hut, and where was it, exactly? Look carefully and you can see soldiers against the building.Taken from ‘Cannock Chase: The Second Selection’ by June Pickerill.

This made me very, very sad. At least if it was 1918, he had a better chance of surviving until Armistice. Who was the writer of the verse, credited as C.F.P.? Achingly sad. Taken from ‘Cannock Chase: The Second Selection’ by June Pickerill.

This is just incredible. Who knew that DeGaulle visited Cannock Chase? Taken from ‘Cannock Chase: The Second Selection’ by June Pickerill.

This one caught me off guard. I knew there was a prisoner of war up over Brocton Field way, of which there is now little trace, but I never realised stuff like this went on there. Such a shame it wasn

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6 Responses to When darkness loomed

  1. jim says:

    Have you seen this website Bob plenty of info on the Brocton Camp and Rugeley Camp


  2. CC says:

    You probably know this already, but the re. the YMCA hut – throughout both First and Second World Wars the YMCA supported soldiers, sailers, airmen and their families on the front lines and back home. This included huts at transit and training camps, for deployment and on the front line. They provided similar services to the NAAFI (selling tea, cake, biscuits etc) but also provided free writing paper, entertainment (eg. concerts, piano), education (lectures, libraries) and also free services to walking wounded after going over the top.

  3. Pingback: The quarrymen « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

  4. i have just found out my grandad moved to stafford to test tanks in ww2 times for english electric, thanks for the information

  5. Pingback: Unearthed | BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

  6. Mary Campbell says:

    I am studying an old war record for a Scottish regiment which includes Normandy and Belguim and also the POW camp at Cannock. Was there an incident of prisoners being executed which included Dutch which came in after years 1970’s to the Hague for trial?

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