Johnstone Castle POW Camp No 188

Discussion in 'UK PoW Camps' started by wholly, Feb 9, 2020.

  1. wholly

    wholly New Member

    Where can I find the details about people in this camp


    (don't know where I got this data from originally)
    UK Transit Camp
    Gdn ID: 252
    National Grid Reference (NGR ):
    OS sheet no.:
    Camp no.: 188
    Name & Location, County, Country: Johnstone Castle Camp, Johnstone, Renfrewshire, Scotland
    County: Renfrewshire
    Country: Scotland
    Type 1945: Base Camp
    Comments: Scotland
  2. Osborne2

    Osborne2 Well-Known Member

    You are going to be a lucky man if you can find out who was there, either Italian or German, or even the guards. I have been looking for names for years for other camps. Here goes, you might find something. Look on the National Archives Discovery search engine and use it carefully. By that I mean read the prompts on the left side of the advanced search screen as the top line looks exactly and only for what you've written. A bit lower down you can use more generalised search words. Play around with your words, you'd be surprised how the catalogers varied titles.

    Use FO and WO in the references sections and fill in the years if you want between 1941-1948 as this is the max time the camp could have been open. (1945 transit camp sounds like Italians coming in or Germans going out to the USA, or both). I have found the names of some prisoners in FO 939 camp inspection records for some sites, but not many. WO ran the sites but FO policies on treatment in force, and were inspected by FO's PWE department segregators, teaching advisers (FO euphemism to disguise true function) and language inspectors. Camps were Base, Working, Transit, and sometimes ended being all three at the same time (in one case I know). PWE changed its name several times, get confused like the rest of us. There is a mass of material in FO which no one has really looked at. Sadly most lists of names and prisoner personal records returned to German Govt. I haven't bothered with them. Data protection. Nein. Individual Brit camp war diaries probably don't exist, I've not found one -yet.

    Many POW Camps were built earlier in the war as UK/USA military camps and with the June 44 exodus became available as POW camps when emptied. Camp number indicates to me based on other work I have done that it was probably founded in second half of 1944.

    Look through all the posts on this forum and use search engines to check out Pioneer Corps who were often BUT not always guards. Find which PC Groups (equivalent really to a battalion) were in Scotland and check their PC companies records which are on the Welcome to the RLC Digital Archive - RLC Digital Archive site. Some of these are summarised which saves a trip to Kew. Unlikely to have prisoner names but can set you on to other leads. Ten camps were guarded by Poles, 44-46. I know seven of these camps but three are eluding me. Other camps guarded by Brits and US guards (the latter 1944 especially). These were usually second line troops not combat, or combats recovering from injury.

    Red Cross inspections 1939-45. What we do look around here but their response times are painful. They inspected POW camps while the war was running so no inspections after May 1945. Can be enlightening but no names in the ones I have looked in. One FO file has a number of carbon copies of their reports sent to the FO as a courtesy. Can describe daily life and prisoner gripes. Inspection parameters 1929 Geneva Convention on POWs.

    Finally, read around books on the subject. You sometimes get mentions and you can see what the authorities were trying to do with the prisoners.M Kochan, M Sullivan and H Faulk are old but good books. The latter two men were heavily involved with POWs in WW2

    I also wrote this way to help anyone else who has the same kind of intention as you.

    Please let everyone know how you get on as others might learn from you and you might be able to correct my mistakes. We're only human

    Good luck.
    Tullybrone likes this.
  3. Martin Richards

    Martin Richards Active Member

    There are two places to look for this camp
    There is a Camore Report for the site:
    Johnstone Castle, Johnstone Castle Camp, German Working Camp No. 188 | Canmore

    Also as stated the ICRC only looked at the camps during the War.
    as soon as the war ended the UK Foreign Office took over the inspections these reports are at the Nationnal Record office in Key with the ones for German Camps being FO 939.
    I have found a referance below that may help:

    National Archives Reference FO 939/177
    189 Working Camp, Marbury Hall Camp, Northwich, Cheshire. Also includes an inspector's report (by James Grant,
    dated 11 October 1946) for 188 Working Camp, Johnstone Castle Camp, Johnstone, Renfrewshire.
    i have placed copies of the files i have read on line - but this is one i have yet to access

    My own notes as a whole for this site are as follows:


    The site and information relating to this PoW Camp is given by the Scottish History website Canmore and Wikipedia can be found at the site below:

    Johnstone Castle, Johnstone Castle Camp, German Working Camp No. 188 | Canmore

    NS 4330 6240

    A German Working prisoner-of-war camp noted in R J C Thomas, Project Report (Twentieth Century Military Recording Project, Prisoner-of-War Camps [1939-1948]), National Monuments Records Centre, English Heritage, July 2003 has been identified from a vertical air photograph (106G/Scot/UK 140 [Pt.II], 5167-5168, flown 3 July 1946), in an area to the NE of Johnstone Castle (NS46SW 16.00).

    The camp, built within the former estate grounds, forms an irregular rectangle between the Castle and the Kings Road to the E.

    It is bounded by a single perimeter fence and visible on the photographs are at least 155 huts of different types. There are a further 26 huts outside the perimeter fence, presumably for staff accommodation.

    Entrance to the camp was from the Beith Road.

    The camp has been completely removed as postwar housing developments, mainly Elm Drive and Willow Drive have been built over the site.

    Information from RCAHMS (DE), July 2005

    The OS Aerial Map view shows as per the comments and information from Canmore that the site has been lost to post war housing development with no trace remaining in the aerial maps of the camp boundaries or structures.

    National Archives Reference FO 939/177

    189 Working Camp, Marbury Hall Camp, Northwich, Cheshire. Also includes an inspector's report (by James Grant, dated 11 October 1946) for 188 Working Camp, Johnstone Castle Camp, Johnstone, Renfrewshire.


    Camp 188 is not included within the FO Camp list.

    Therefore, it is logical to assume that this camp closed prior to Feb47.


    From Secret Scotland Website, PoW Camp Summary WWII:

    Lost under modern housing development.

    Camp comprised of corrugated iron huts initially used for Polish soldiers.

    Possibly not PoW camp until end of war.

    See the Formative Years in Johnstone, near Clydebank, during War story on the BBC's People's War site.
    Osborne2 likes this.

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