Trumpington Prisoner of War Camp Recollections

Ken Fletcher has summarised information about the Trumpington Prisoner of War Camp from a publication Hauxton in Times Past and an interview on Radio Cambridgshire .

This is one of a number of pages about Trumpington PoW Camp . including a number of personal recollections.

In Hauxton in Times Past (1993)*, Ivor Jordon, writes that the camp was a collection of prefabricated single storey buildings surrounded by barbed wire aloft a high wire fence. It originally housed Italian POWs; as time passed, they were seen as non-aggressive and were dispersed. Some worked on farms and lived at the farmer’s house. Salvatore Bellisimo stayed at Manor Farm, Hauxton, and worked there for Bob Howard. Some did not return home. Although consorting with POWs was generally frowned on, some did develop relationships with local women and eventually married them. Ivor Jordan says that the Italian prisoners were followed by Germans, who did not have the same degree of freedom, although a few were eventually released from close custody to work in agriculture. In the main the Germans only came from the camp under escort and they would be marched through Hauxton under guard on Sunday afternoons.

Ken Fletcher also has notes of an interview on Radio Cambridgeshire , 10 January 2000, when Christopher South talked to a former German POW. The prisoner was in his early 20s when he was captured by the Canadians while serving in Normandy. After a period in hospital in Glasgow, he was sent to Canada for internment. He said that the Trumpington camp was used to de-Nazify young soldiers (he had been a member of the Hitler Youth). There was a relaxed atmosphere with no barbed wire and the prisoners signing an agreement not to escape. The interview had been prompted by a television documentary about German POWs. Many had been held in the US and were moved to the UK at the end of the war. They were subjected to a questionnaire assessment to determine the degree of Nazism and were graded white, grey or black. Greys and blacks were sent for de-Nazifying courses before repatriation. The UK government delayed repatriation, arguing that the POWs should help with British post-war recovery. Some were used for road building, but most were used on farms. Conditions in Germany also delayed repatriation, as there were food shortages and many had lost their families and they were becoming aware of conditions in the Russian zone. The parents of this POW had written to their son advising him not to return. He had heard that ex-prisoners who had returned earlier had disappeared or been barred from good jobs.

* Audrey Elliott and Ivor Jordan (1993?). Hauxton in Times Past . Page 58. [copy at Great Shelford Library, no publisher information]