PW Camp51 1943 Is it Marbury Hall?

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by Osborne2, Mar 26, 2016.

  1. Osborne2

    Osborne2 Active Member

    I am researching Marbury Hall Cheshire. It was a PW Camp for German prisoners from October 1944 until 1948, when it was one of the last camps in the UK to close. Its camp number in '44 was 180, changing to 189 in '46 (from memory).

    Anecdotal evidence says there were Italians there as prisoners in 1943. I have a German PW document mentioning that the camp had Italians there at some time before themselves. Finally, the daughter of a Polish soldier is certain that she was told by him that he was a guard there in 1943.

    However my current search in Western Command and other FO/WO docs at TNA has shown nothing so far, except one doc. that gives in the WC ORBAT for 1943 a list of camps by number only. It shows a camp 51. The English Heritage list only shows Allington Camp Grantham Lincolnshire as Camp 51 later in the war and Allington is not in Western Command. I think everyone respects the work that went into the EH listings and the difficulty even during the war that was had in following the camp numbering system, but to publish (the ORBAT was not typed but printed) that Camp 51 was in Western Command is not a contemporary error surely, even if EH can be forgiven. The ORBAT does show Camp 50 in the list and this is known to be Garswood Park, and it too like Marbury Hall was a PW camp post Normandy. All the other camp numbers in the 1943 ORBAT seem to tally with EH.

    My questions are these:

    1. Does anyone have any documents or proof that in 1942/3 Marbury Hall was a PW camp?

    2. Does anyone have any other idea where I might find evidence?

    My supposition at the moment is, MH was a PW camp for Italians for a while who were brought over possibly as buidling labourers to build/rebuild/extend Cheshire army camps as part of the Bolero build up or build hostels/PW camps for more Italian PWs who were predominantly to work the farms.

    Any help or thoughts would be welcome
  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    This document shows it as camp 180 -

    Further info here - - its camp number is 180 or 189
    There were about 20 camps in Cheshire including Marbury Hall Northwich, which was known as
    Camp 180, although it is also referred to as Camp 189. Marbury Hall Northwich was a ‘cage’
    where Germans, Russians, Poles, Italians and Austrians were sent direct from Camp 9
    (Kempton Park Racecourse) for further sorting.

    A little more here -

  3. Osborne2

    Osborne2 Active Member


    Thank you for the reply. I am very aware of the work done by the Friends of Anderton and Marbury which you have kindly posted links to. I have not made my request clear enough. I believe that separate to its history as Camp 180/189 it has an unknown history, I suspect, as Camp 51 in 1942 (?) and 1943. Roger Thomas/English Heritage, your link one, I think indicates that it may not be a complete listing and Thomas/ my research shows a series of re-numberings of the same site. An example. Toft Hall was 190 in 1944 and 2 by 1946 and not all listings have picked that up.

    My questions above are really, does anyone else have proof of Marbury Hall being an Italian POW camp in 1942/3 and are there references to the fact I could see or know about?

    Thank you

  4. Osborne2

    Osborne2 Active Member

    More work done. It was not per se a POW camp in 1942-3. It was under reconstruction and expansion for later use by US troops under the aegis of the Bolero build up. However, it is possible that some Italian POW labour was used for the building work. More yet to be investigated.
  5. Bernhard Schlösser

    Bernhard Schlösser New Member

    My father was a pow in this camp from 1944 -1949 i mean. The number of the camp was already 189. I have some letters from that time he sent by prisoner of war post. He never wrote anything about italian pow there. But i dont know anything about the time before.
  6. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi Bernard

    Welcome to the site

  7. Osborne2

    Osborne2 Active Member

    Hi Bernard,
    As Tricky Dickey says, welcome. Would you be prepared to share any of the information, if necessary by Personal Message. I am writing a history of the POW camp. The camp, and all British camps holding German prisoners closed in 1948. If he was sending letters from the UK in 1949, he may have stayed on after the camp closed. There were arrangements made to allow this, as long as he had a job offer. I do not speak German but I have access to translators. I have a great deal of information on the camp.

  8. Bernhard Schlösser

    Bernhard Schlösser New Member

    Thank you TD and Osbourne for your welcome here !!
  9. Osborne2

    Osborne2 Active Member

    I have been contacted about an exchange on a local history site which is beginning to cite this post as evidence that there were Italians at Camp 51. I want to make it clear that there is no evidence yet that Marbury Hall was Camp 51 or held Italian prisoners. However there is evidence in WO files that Italian prisoners were used to build their own camps and hostels and were used on building projects for the War Department, the most famous being the barriers blocking channels leading into Scapa Flow.

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