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Castleside, Prisoner of War Camp (1916-)

Healeyfield Working Camp

Type: Prisoner of War Camp

Established 18 August 1916, Healeyfield Working Camp, Castleside, the prisoners were extracting ganister from a nearby quarry. Inspections of several working camps were carried out including Castleside. At the time the inspection was carried out on 18 September 1916, it was under the command of Captain L Bellew (regiment unknown) and at this time held 110 German military prisoners.

The parent camp was at Handforth, Cheshire, where the prisoners’ accommodation had been in brick buildings. In the covering letter to the report, it is stated that the prisoners found the move to tented accommodation a “sharp contrast”, however, it also notes that in all the camps visited “…there is no difference to be seen between the camp of the guard and the camp of the prisoners, except that the prisoners are surrounded by a barbed wire fence.”

The inspection of Healeyfield shows that the prisoners were housed in bell tents, though dining huts were provided, prisoners preferred to eat in their tents. The report gives information of the daily routine of the prisoners, food and sanitary arrangements, discipline and medical services and mentions that a Roman Catholic priest visits occasionally. It also includes complaints by the prisoners which mainly refer to the provision of blankets and clothes.

German prisoners in British or British Empire custody, The National Archives, FO 383/164

Civil Parish: Healeyfield

Contributed by Durham County Record Office