Captivated by history

These fields, once worked by Italian prisoners of war, show no sign of their history.

I had this great email from David Evans recently.

Hi Bob

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?

kind regards

David Evans

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!


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2 Responses to Captivated by history

  1. dieta says:

    Although a symbol of military success these prisoners created a multitude of problems for the authorities throughout the war. The capture of half a million Italian prisoners by the British.military during WWII offered both problems and opportunities in the.larger prosecution of war aims. Chapters look at their initial capture in North.Africa the controversial decision to disperse the prisoners across.the Empire the interrogation of prisoners to gain military and.political intelligence and the use of POWs for propaganda purposes.Annotation c.

  2. David Quinn says:

    I used to live in King Street, Chasetown and heard from several sources that the road was built by Italian POWs during WWII. I had always assumed that they would have been shipped in from quite a distance but it seems they were more local than I thought.

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