German Prisoners of War, Brocton Camp, Cannock Chase

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Date:1917 - 1919 (c.)

Description:As the stalemate of the trench warfare on the Western Front was starting to be broken, more German Prisoners of War were being captured and they needed to be housed. Brocton was chosen for a number of reasons, mainly as it was never fully occupied due to the constant movement of troops. Therefore, five Battalion Lines were converted into a PoW Camp. "A", "B", "E" and "F" Lines housed the able bodied prisoners whilst "C" Line was a 1000 bed hospital. The first POWs arrived in April 1917 and the numbers steadily increased as time went by. To guard and treat the POWs the Commandant of the Camp had members of the Royal Defence Corps for security and the Royal Army Medical Corps to run the Hospital. They were all housed in Battalion Line "D", just outside the perimeter fence. The hospital was responsible for saving many lives of the wounded prisoners who arrived at the Camp with terrible injuries. At times prisoner exchanges were carried out and soldiers unfit for service would be returned to Germany, or able-bodied ones to a neutral country and Britain would receive the same number in return. They had to be kept busy, and those that were able to were put to work in local farms, gardens, stately homes, and quarries to replace those called up.

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Donor ref:13_061r (215/36496)

Source: Mr Jake Whitehouse

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