Raising damp

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These huts, in all probability, were not a Prisoner of War camp. Imagery from Apple Maps.

The question of Prisoner of War camps periodically arises here, and the subject, hugely illuminated by Peter ‘Pedro’ Cutler, still seems shrouded in mystery and folklore.

There is a common belief, seemingly groundless, that Italian POWs were stationed near Walsall on the Mellish Road and even might even have worked on road gangs during the war, but I can find little hard evidence.

In the course of recent discussions, we think a reader mentioned POWs in Sutton Park, but we’ve been unable to find the comment – at the weekend, Peter found the clipping below from the Birmingham Gazette of August, 1940, which helps light things up a bit.

He. said:

Hi Bob,

We have had a few articles on POWs and the sittings of the Camps. I remember that a reader, possibly Linda Mason mentioned Sutton Park.

My aunt also maintained that there was a Camp there, but until now I could not find much info.

Perhaps the cutting from the Birmingham Gazette of August 1940 will answer a few questions!

Peter

Cheers for that Peter – so they were internees, not POWs – little by little things become clearer.

Peter similarly helped with the question of wartime POWs around Stonnall, and his researches didn’t find a Staffordshire camp nearby; but that’s not necessarily conclusive as one can see in the article.

Anything you can offer on this subject at all is welcome: comment here please or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

fullsizerender

Can’t have been terribly pleasant I guess. Clipping from Birmingham Gazette, August 1940. Click for a larger version.

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3 Responses to Raising damp

  1. Russell says:

    My Father lived in Four Oaks and remembers an American Base around the Streetly Lane entrance (in fact they introduced him to Jazz and as the start of his musical career) he remembers Italians and Germans working the fields around the area .

  2. Michael Marlow says:

    My mom lived in the butts and as a twelve year old child she can remember the Italians being up at the top of Mellish road and marching passed her house to st marks church hall for there food.

  3. David Spiers says:

    I was born in 1938 and lived on Lichfield Road Walsall. There were American forces billeted at the top of Mellish Road during 1943/44. They left soon after D Day, I presume to fight in France. Perhaps Italian prisoners of war were sent there after this. My late brother in law told me he saw film actor Mickey Rooney more than once coming from The George Hotel in Walsall well oiled. One day in the summer, probably at a weekend I happened to be at the junction of Mellish Road and Lichfield Street around mid-day. I was about 5 or 6 years old and an amazing sight occurred. A bicycle appeared coming down Mellish Road. On it were 4 American soldiers. One on the handle bars. one on the cross bar, one pedalling and another on the back luggage, going hell for leather towards Walsall. This sticks in my mind after all these years.

    David Spiers

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