I had this great email from David Evans recently.
Italian Prisoners of War
Following David Oakley’s revelation amazing in the ‘Tanking Along‘ articles that there were Italian prisoners of War locall, something I had no knowledge of, I casually mentioned this in a family conversation this afternoon and it appears that there was, indeed, a considerable camp ‘on the way from Lynn to Shenstone’ and ‘on the outskirts of Shenstone’. There were some 20 Nissen huts there. My sister in law and her friends used to cycle past there on their girls’ wartime cycling expeditions around the lanes of Stonnall and Hilton. It wasn’t just young lads who noticed things during the War, then!
I wonder if other readers are able to add more information on this, please. Where exactly was this camp? By the present South Staffs transport industrial site? Do any readers have memories of these men working on their farms? Are there any photos?
I wonder if the Stonnall history group or Walsall Wood or Brownhills readers can throw some light on this?
That raises some really interesting questions. I realise this has been covered in the splendid Julian Ward-Davies/Gordon Mycock article, and also in the excellent contributions by David Oakley, but I think it’s worth pulling into the light. Cannock Chase, of course, has a well known history as the site of a First World War POW camp, but what else was around? Was it just Italians, or were there other nationalities stationed nearby?
The excellent Memories of Old Stonnall article has this to say:
A POW camp was set up for Italian prisoners in Lynn opposite the garden nursery. A house has been built on this site since then.
None of the Italians at Lynn were any threat whatsoever and it was a real pleasure for them to play with us kids. It appeared that many had been conscripted and did not want to know about the war.They worked on local farms and were allowed out of camp.
As usual, please comment here or BrownhillsBob at googlemail dot com. Cheers!