POW Camp No. 44, Goathurst

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POW Camp No. 44, Goathurst

Postby mamos » Sun Apr 01, 2012 5:20 pm

Hello to you all,
I am from Germany. Doing a lot of genealocical research the last years I found out that my father was as POW from October 1944 until December 1946 in Goathurst-Camp. From January 1947 until December 1947 in a "sub-hostel" of Goathurst (where?). My father died when I was 13 years old, so I can't ask him any question about his time in Somerset anymore. The only thing I remember is that he had a little English dictionary. Which means to me that he/they were allowed to leave the camp. I guess he worked somewhere on a farm, because my grandfather had a farm here in Germany.
I would appreciate if somebody could help me to get more informations about this time. Are there books, photographs, newspapers, ... , collections in a museum?
Is there anybody who does research on this?
Thank you very much in advance!
Best wishes from Germany
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Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2012 4:53 pm

Re: POW Camp No. 44, Goathurst

Postby Bob » Tue May 01, 2012 10:34 am

The satellite camp to which your father would have been sent was Brymore Camp at Cannington, approximately three miles from Bridgwater, Somerset on the A39 road. Brymore House was taken over by the Government in 1939, being returned in 1947. In 1939 Malvern Ladies College in Worcestershire was evacuated to the property, later that year it became a POW camp taking Italian prisoners from Goathurst. In January 1944 it passed to the 535th AAA Battalion US Army, pending their going to France in June of that year. It than resumed as a POW Camp.
In 1951 the estate was taken over by Somerset County Council as a boarding school educating pupils with a syllabus based on an agricultural background. This school is still in existence.
There are still some people in the village who remember POW's working on local farms.
Cannington is now a village of some 900 houses.
I hope that this answers some of your questions.
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Joined: Tue May 01, 2012 10:08 am

Re: POW Camp No. 44, Goathurst

Postby mamos » Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:23 pm

Hello Bob,
thank you very much for your reply and the information about Brymore Camp at Cannington!
Sorry that I answer so late, but I have been in Normandy for three weeks to see Le Havre (where my father got a British POW on the 12th Sept. 1944) and the D-Day-places. Very interesting and very sad too!
Two days ago I got some informations from the IRC in Geneva about their visits in Camp No. 44, Goathurst: they estimated it as a very good camp!
One story from the visit on the 22nd October 1947 by Dr. G. Hoffmann:
"Escapes: One man was absent for five days on a "Volksfest" in Bridgwater, where he won 3 Pounds for beating the champion boxer in a match and was afterwards the popular hero of Bridgwater. Sentenced to 28 days detention."
The IRC mentions several camps "belonging" to Camp No. 44:
- Satellite Camp Wells (former Camp 107)
- Hostel Cannington
- Hostel Heathfield
- Hostel Ilton
- Hostel Wellington
- Hostel Houndstone
- and around 200 men as "billettees"

My father spent nearly three and a half year around Goathurst, so I decided to see this places next year!
It should be difficult to find out where they worked, on which farms, whether they were allowed to move free or under guard, etc.

I am still interested in informations!

Regards from Germany
and if it works: as attachment my father as POW! (the not so tall one one the right side)
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Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2012 4:53 pm

Re: POW Camp No. 44, Goathurst

Postby jerri Marsh » Fri Apr 25, 2014 1:00 pm

I believe the previous poster gns is wrong. Motor vehicles are only allowed on paths designated Road Used as a Public Path. Most, if not all, of these have been re-designated as Restricted Byways, which do not permit motor vehicle accesss without landowners permission. Any path that is either a Public Footpath or a Public Bridleway also does not permit motor vehicles. If you are in doubt you should consult Somerset County Council who decide Rights of Way issues. :evil:
jerri Marsh
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Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:58 pm

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