Camp 2 - Toft Hall Camp, Knutsford, Cheshire

Discussion in 'UK PoW Camps' started by Pete Wood, Aug 29, 2019.

  1. Pete Wood

    Pete Wood Member

    A Second World War Base Camp located in parkland, North East of Toft Hall.

    Grid: 53°17'10.01"N 2°22'0.67"W

    It consisted of 20 huts in a guard's compound and 58 huts in the prisoner's compound enclosed by a double perimeter fence with watch towers.

    It held a maximum capacity of 1500 men and is known to have held both German and Italian prisoners (though not at the same time). Italians were held at this camp, first. By the end of the war, and after, it was a camp for German PoWs.

    It also served as a transit camp for the American forces who kept their prisoners here before they were deported to the United States. It is referenced as being in use between 1942 and 1948.
  2. Pete Wood

    Pete Wood Member

    18 February 1947 - In the the House of Commons, replying to a general question abut the camp, the Secretary of State for War (Mr. Bellenger) answered; "There are 1,516 prisoners of war held at Toft Hall Camp, claiming 26 different nationalities. Ninety-five per cent. of these prisoners of war are German, or of German racial origin, with residential qualifications in the countries to which they wish to return."

    Mr. Stokes M.P. replied that; "Is my right hon. Friend aware that the prisoners of war themselves complain that they belong to 38 different nationalities, and that the majority of them were pressed into German service against their will? Will he please hurry with the examination of their individual cases?" House of Commons Debate, 18 February 1947
  3. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    2 Base Camp, Toft Hall Camp, Knutsford, Cheshire. Also includes reports for No 2 Bomb... | The National Archives
    Reference: FO 939/85
    2 Base Camp, Toft Hall Camp, Knutsford, Cheshire. Also includes reports for No 2 Bomb Disposal Company at Richmond Park, SW London (March 1948) and No 2 Bomb Disposal Platoon at Hursley Park near Winchester, Hampshire (October 1947)
    Date: 1947-1948
    Related material:
    See also:
    FO 939/293
    Held by: The National Archives, Kew
    Former reference in its original department: CO Files 152/4
    Legal status: Public Record(s)

    Series FO 939 - Prisoner of war camps

    Hopefully the POW's had left before it was turned into a Bomb Disposal base

  4. Pete Wood

    Pete Wood Member

  5. Pete Wood

    Pete Wood Member

  6. Pete Wood

    Pete Wood Member

    Please feel free to add information on this camp.

    If you have PoW mail to and from Toft Hall, please post the dates - so it can be worked out when this camp was operational as an Italian Camp, and when it was in use for German PoWs. Thanks.
  7. Pete Wood

    Pete Wood Member

    No 2 Bomb Disposal Company and Number 2 Bomb Disposal Platoon had no connection, at all, with the Base Camp at Toft Hall. It seems that any camp, with the same number (Eg 2) was thrown into the same folder. It has caused much confusion, over the years.

    I will be posting details of the Bomb Disposal PoW camps, later. All these chaps were Post-War volunteers, who were PoWs trained by the Royal Engineers, and received better accommodation and food as a result.
  8. Osborne2

    Osborne2 Well-Known Member

    I can confirm that No2 Bomb etc. was in the wrong folder, as I found it and reported it. Toft Hall was built for the Italian Prisoners brought over for agricultural work and was used by them until they were turned out of it and it was taken over as the Lucky Rear camp of General Patton's HQ, barbed wire and all. Lucky was 3rd Army HQ call sign and his headquarters was divided into two, forward and rear, to allow him to have one operational while the other moved. Lucky Forward was at Peover Hall After they moved out on 24 October 1944 Toft Hall was reopened as a prison camp number 190. It held onto its number until the new year when this was transferred to a camp in Northern Ireland, IIRC, and then took its Camp 2 number. It was never a German Working Camp and retained its Base Camp status into 1948 when it closed. There is not too much in the FO 939/293 file, but what there was shows it was Britain's Guantanamo Bay, holding prisoners nobody wanted back in their country of origin after they had served in the Wehrmacht. However, like some Base Camps, it did have prisoners working in the community, including some on local farms, but it did not have billetees as far as I can tell and no attached hostels. The British Camp management was poor in comparison say, with Featherstone, Norton and Shap and re-education never really ever got off the ground.
  9. John C Fox

    John C Fox New Member

    I am not sure this will help with dating but amongst my late uncles wartime items is a letter dated 30/8/45. It was posted by a man named Noel Parmentier of Kortrijk, Belgium. It is in broken English but he writes "maybe I will come back to England but as a Belgian soldier" He mentions his uncle was also in England but is now back home. My uncle gave me a sort of rocking horse which he told me was made by an Italian prisoner. I was born in October 1944 so it may not have been made specifically for me. My uncle was discharged on the 15 October 1945 from PO Camp 2
  10. Osborne2

    Osborne2 Well-Known Member

    The writer and his uncle both seem to have served voluntarily (or forced to serve) with the German army. Toft certainly did have many nationalities as prisoners and seems to have been the dustbin for those non German nationality soldiers whose governments were slow in allowing repatriation. After the General Election of 1945, the labour government started to try to get one aspect of the national debt down - the military and Western Command HQ records show that de-manning of POW camp guards were one source of this.
  11. Martin Richards

    Martin Richards Active Member

    The Hall its self is now a Party Rental Property and permission Access to the woods is not too easy as its almost impossible to contact the owners.
    People staying at the place on sort term rental are paying for private locations so will quite oftern refuse.
    My own images of this are on my systonimages website PoW Camp 2 Toft Hall

    I cannot give the links at the min to the final site bangedupabroad as they are not stable
    I took my pics with a drone over the woods.
    There is a limitthough with drones of flying at 400ft.
    You can get around the 400ft limit by taking lots of photos and joining them together - HOWEVER Adobe Software has problems doiung this over woodland !
    Osborne2 likes this.

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