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Fulney Park Camp (POW camp 153)

Visible on the 1950’s 6-inch Ordinance Survey map is Fulney Park Camp, or camp 153. The site is currently a market garden, but the Second World War POW camp used to be to the south of Fulney House, on Kellet Gate, Wheatmore Drove and Swindlers Drive. The original camp entrance on Kellet Gate and the camp road have survived, but apart from that all traces of the camp have vanished.

See https://repatriatedlandscape.org/england/pow-sites-in-yorks-humber-and-lincs/pow-camp-153-fulney-park/ for aerial photos.

It was 5 or 6 acres in size, and included a reinforced concrete communications bunker, a workshop for servicing vehicles with an underground tank for storing fuel, a cookhouse and a mess, an entertainment hall with a stage, a brick ablutions building and many Nissen huts used for accommodation. There was a hut made of insulated panels used as a medical and sick bay. The entire site was served by a purpose-built sewerage farm, and all the underground pipes were covered in concrete. It was a self-contained camp and did not suffer any major war damage. However, the area has now been restored to its pre-War condition and became a market garden.

Camp 153 was first built and used by the Army as a communications site, and did not become a POW camp until after the hostilities ended.

In 1947, the Camp Commandant was Lieutenant Colonel C T Ingle, from the Lincolnshire Regiment.

According to www.lincstothepast.com, the Camp Superintendent was called Mr. Godman. It was closed circa 1952 and the area was returned to its original landowner. Some of the ex-POWs stayed on and continued to work the farm, while others remained in the district. The POWs were mostly Germans and Ukrainians, but also included other displaced persons from Europe who the Nazis had conscripted during the war and were residing in the UK. (This information was from a resident whose family were employed at Fulney House, who lived on the farm and had personal knowledge of the site.)

After the camp ended, it was used for a while to house displaced persons, and as of 2019 the site is a huge plant nursery.

According to wartimememoriesproject.com, a German man named Heinz Bauer was held at Fulney Park Camp, and he wrote letters to his girlfriend in Finsterwalde, Brandenburg.

There are old postcards available at https://www.worthpoint.com/inventory/search?query=Camp+153+Fulney which were sent from Ogefr Klaus Labeth (at Fulney Park Camp) to Frau Amalie and Fraulein Charlotte Labeth in Dortmund, Germany.

The POWs made wooden toys and picture frames to sell for “pocket money” (similar to how the French POWs in the Napoleonic War near Peterborough made model ships from pieces of bone). Some of the POWs who stayed in the district may have married and settled here.

In 1952 – 1953, the manager of a bakery in Moulton used to take his unsold bread in sacks and give it to the prisoners of war at Fulney Park, when the camp had closed but some of the POWs were staying on.

A man named Luigi Passarelli, from Tirioli in southern Italy (aged 62) recently found his long-lost half-brother who was conceived in a World War II prison camp in Spalding. Luigi’s father Antonio was called into service on February 2nd, 1940, and was captured by the British Army on January 4th 1941, at the beginning of his departure when he arrived in Alessandria, Egypt. He was a private. After his capture he was sent to India, then to Spalding in the UK, where he worked in the fields.
Before he died in January 2016 (aged 96) the man mentioned to his son that he had had another child named “Tony” while he was a POW in England. “Tony” was born on November 17th – 19th, 1946. After Antonio came back home from the UK, he continued to have epistolary contact with Tony’s mother. His wife, Caterina, forced him to sever ties with the other woman and with Tony, and destroyed all the letters after their marriage in 1949. All that was left was a photo of the other woman and a photo of a young boy riding a toy tractor, which Luigi sent to the Spalding Guardian newspaper along with his story. Shortly afterwards, a man contacted Luigi at the email address he provided to say that he was the boy on the tractor in the photograph.
It is not known whereabouts in Spalding that Antonio was a POW, but he could have been at Fulney Park. There was also a POW camp in Sutton Bridge.

To find out more about the POW camps in the UK and to see a list of their locations, follow the link to this article https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2010/nov/08/prisoner-of-war-camps-uk#data

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