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What might Fulney Park Camp have looked like?

Fulney Park Camp:

NGR: TF 272 222

52” 46’ 56” N

0” 6’ 55” W

Type: GWC (German Working Camp)

Officer in Command in 1947: Lt. Col. C T Ingle

Phone & Telex: Spalding 2198, priswar Spalding

Train Station: Spalding

Camp class 3

Status: Commercial Market Garden

 

 

The Classification of the condition of POW camps in the UK is as follows:

1 = complete

2 = near complete (50-80% intact)

3 = partial remains (less than 50% left, ranging from structures to paths or roads)

4 = removed (no structures, but footprint might survive)

5 = unresolved (evidence is invisible or inconclusive)

 

There are 372 identified sites in England and the Channel Islands, and 31 unidentified ones. In Lincolnshire, there is one class 1, two class 2s, five class 3s, six class 4s and one class 5. Fulney Park Camp is a class 3 Camp. The original camp entrance remains on Kellett Gate Road with some of its road.

Fulney Park Camp was most likely a standard-type camp.

Standard camps housed about 750 prisoners and had a tented camp, a guards’ compound, prisoners’ compound, prisoners’ garden plots, recreation ground, and a sewage disposal works. An outer wire fence supported by concrete posts and an inner barbed wire fence surrounded the prisoners’ compound and recreation ground. A “sterile” area would be between the inner fence and another coiled “Danart” barbed wire entanglement. There weren’t usually guard towers at a lot of the camps as the prisoners were often “low risk”. The camp would have been accessed by a public road using a single-track spine road.

The guards’ compound would have around 15 huts – admin offices, soldiers’ quarters and ablutions huts, officers’ quarters and the mess, a fuel store, detention block (or “calaboose”) and a brick water tower, all in a rectangle of land to the north of the main gate to the prisoners’ compound. (The water tower is often the only part left at a number of demolished camps as the water towers were more robust.)

The prisoners’ compound was usually in a 6 acre square with 35 huts including a cookhouse, grocery and produce store, 2 dining huts, 2 recreation huts, a drying room and showers, 2 ablution and latrine blocks, a camp reception station / sick quarters, a living / carpenter’s hut, and 23 more living huts.

MoWP huts were ten-bay, built with pre-cast reinforced concrete frames and wall panels.

Eight of the huts would be Laing huts, composite timber-framed ones clad in weather-boarding and lined with plaster-board on the inside. (Secondary cladding with bitumised, corrugated iron sheets came later.) The huts that weren’t for accommodation but used for domestic purposes (e.g. the cookhouse) were made of hollow clay bricks or bricks laid on their sides instead of concrete panels.

Both MoWP and Laing huts were 60 feet long and built in ten 6ft bays with windows in alternate bays. There would have been outward-opening doors with paddock hasps in each gable wall. Inside, they were open-plan, heated by two cast-iron pot-belly stoves. One living hut would be half for the camp leader and half for a carpenter’s workshop.

Nissen and Laing huts were used more often in south-east England than in the north.

The largest free-standing structure would be the Camp Reception Station (CRS) or the sick bay / hospital / Red Cross building. This would have been 3 interlinked MoWP huts – the left hand one was an 8-bay range containing the Medical Officer’s Room, Dental Surgeon’s Room, Orderly Rooms and store rooms, showers, and lavatories. The twelve-bay central range was the main ward and isolation wards. The 7-bay range on the right-hand side was the boiler room, pantry, kitchen, and Medical Officer’s Bedroom. The CRS was in almost all POW camps, though not always made of the same hut types.

Hollow clay blocks were used as “nogging” in most guard-compound buildings, CRS, cookhouse and dining hall, ablutions, latrines, and showers in the prisoners’ compound. The accommodation huts, however, had concrete panels as nogging, and so far no explanation has been found for the difference.

In many camps there was Italian graffiti, often in pencil, on the base coat of paint, the lining paper, or on plasterboard surfaces, usually setting out marks, translations of construction terminology, English phrases such as “Hello I love you” and poems, names and doodles. There was often more formal artwork ranging from Gothic script signs to fancy murals. The subject matter varied but recurring themes were landscapes, cartoons, and women. Communal buildings (rec. rooms, theatres, chapels) had architectural decoration e.g. geometrical painted wall panels, mock curtains, pelmets made of hardboard and painted to show plaid or gingham patterns. Chapels were often drab especially if the building had a secondary purpose, but if only used as a chapel, the decoration was often elaborate, Gothic, or Baroque in style. Objects like the altar rail, piscina, altar and reredos were often made by the POWs.

Later POW camp sites had “knot gardens” and formal flower borders, which do not appear on British military sites. Fulney Park Camp, now a commercial market garden, may have the market gardens built on the hut bases.

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