Camp 105 - Wooler Camp, Brewery Road, Wooler, Northumberland

Discussion in 'UK PoW Camps' started by Pete Wood, Sep 5, 2019.

  1. Pete Wood

    Pete Wood Member

    The site of a Second World War prisoner of war camp at Wooler, known as Camp 105. This was a purpose-built, standard type camp. Common buildings and facilities at standard type camps included water towers, offices, officer's mess, a canteen, guard rooms, barrack huts, ablution blocks, cell blocks, a camp reception station (medical facility/hospital), a cookhouse, dining rooms, recreation rooms and living huts or tents. Wooler Camp held at first Italian and then later during the war German prisoners. It functioned as a work camp, where prisoners were sent to work as labourers in the local area. It could have been in use up until 1948. The camp has since been demolished and the site is now occupied by a school.

    Lat/Long: 55°32'43.32"N 2° 0'14.81"W

    Aerial photos, in the last 15 years, show signs of hut foundations (North of the school and to the East of the site).

    The view, below, shows the school reused the camp's entrance and road.... Camp 105 Wooler.jpg
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2019
    Martin Richards likes this.
  2. Pete Wood

    Pete Wood Member

    This camp was the scene of a Postwar Murder, by one Prisoner of War against another.

    On the 8th November, 1947, the body of Eugen Merganthaler was found bludgeoned to death and his face badly battered. Merganthaler had previously been reported missing and the police had been sent to question the 400 PoWs at the camp, when the body was found by Weetwood Bridge. Merganthaler was due for repatriation in December 1947. He is buried in Cannock Chase.

    Burial and death records, plus newspaper clippings, show Merganthaler. But the headstone is spelt Eugen Mergenthaler

    Karl Kneissler, aged 22, was convicted of the murder (though he always protested innocence) and sent to Lincoln jail. In 1948, Kneissler was sent back to Germany, to finish his sentence.

  3. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    When did this camp open?

    I'm curious whether it occupied the site used by 161st Infantry Brigade in 1940.

    The grid reference might allow me to find out. Does anybody have a road name?
  4. Pete Wood

    Pete Wood Member

    The latitude and longitude are listed above. It converts to NGR of NT 99838 27961

    The road name is also listed in the title - Brewery Road. There was another PoW Camp, nearby, which allegedly shared the same number (Hetton House Camp, Chatton, Wooler, Northumberland - NGR: NU 041 296).

    The Brewery Road Camp opened, judging by the number, around 1942. A lot of PoW Camps took over existing establishments/locations.
    Charley Fortnum likes this.
  5. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Sorry, I was typing quickly. I meant to say, now that I have the grid reference it might allow me to find out.

    As to the road name--I was being blind.

    Appreciate the information.
  6. Martin Richards

    Martin Richards Active Member

    Nice blended photo peter.
    Have you seen my own pics when i was there last month?
    I visted heton house 1st and met the guy thqt lives on the site of the camp who has bases etc in his garden. He also said that he was told that his house and or hut where he has is garage was the med centre.

    As to the school there are two entrance gates. As you look at the school your image is of the gates on the right hand side.
    Those on the left have lions on them.
    I have drone shots of the woods at hetton
  7. Pete Wood

    Pete Wood Member

    Feel free to put a link to your website, Martin. I know visitors would like to see the photos.

    Perhaps you will share your photos of each site, as this part of the forum develops....? it will be good to compare then/now images.
  8. Martin Richards

    Martin Richards Active Member

  9. David Lauberts

    David Lauberts New Member

    Wooler Camp 1947 -1948
    Came across this thread and site while I was scanning my Dad's picture collection in and doing a little research on the places he told me about ( He was sent to Wooler Camp to work after coming across from Europe as a Displaced Person in 1947. He was Latvian, aged 21 at the time. ) He had some pictures of the camp , some in and around the camp and of people he was there with before he left in 1948. I'll post the two camp pictures, I think they were 1948, and show the layout and 'sports area' at the time and may have been taken from the brewery tower I think I can see in Pete Woods posted montage at the start of the tread looking North west towards Westwood Avenue. The layout must have been as it was as a POW camp, I can't believe they would have changed it, but what do I know :) If is is of interest I can share the camp life pictures but though at the camp they were post its POW camp days. Mum and Dads Pictures Wooler Work Camp 15 miles south of Berwick on Tweed 1948.JPG Mum and Dads Pictures Wooler Work Camp 2 15 miles south of Berwick on Tweed 1948low.JPG
  10. David Lauberts

    David Lauberts New Member

    Another picture of one of the Lions at the entrance that have been retained by the current school. - I wonder how many kids have sat like that on it since the school open. I think the car park at the front must have been used to park lorries to take the agricultural workers out to work. There was obviously a one way system in place as well. Mum and Dads Pictures dad OR Friend  wooler gate lion 1948.jpg ed:)
  11. David Lauberts

    David Lauberts New Member

    Just come across another picture of Wooler camp. Guess its taken from Weetwood Bank looking west over the camp and Wooler . I think this is a picture my Dad (Paul Lauberts) must have sent to his soon to be mother in law (my grandma) to show where he was working. Guess from his letters at the time it must be 1948
    M and D pictures wooler may be a picture dad sent to Grandma wooler 1947.jpg
  12. S. Coxon

    S. Coxon Member

    I currently live right next to where Wooler camp 105 was. Love seeing these old photos of the camp - l got to knew a German pow who told me of his days spent at camp 105
    Osborne2 likes this.
  13. Osborne2

    Osborne2 Well-Known Member

    What did the POW tell you?
  14. S. Coxon

    S. Coxon Member

    He told me about the days spent out on the farms working and catching rabbits to eat etc and how he loved it here - so much so that he stayed in Wooler after the war - got married and had a family.
  15. Osborne2

    Osborne2 Well-Known Member

    He was one of over 25,000 who did the same thing. Britain was happy to accept these 'immigrants' as they are termed today, as it was then short of labour for agriculture. IIRC about 20% of Britain's food was produced by POW labour in about 1947. [A bit of deja-vu given the lack of foreign workers post Brexit for harvesting crops and working in abattoirs and food factories]
    S. Coxon likes this.
  16. S. Coxon

    S. Coxon Member

    I have a photo of him taken during war years
  17. S. Coxon

    S. Coxon Member

    I live right beside old Wooler camp 105 - do you have any other photos other than the ones you have already posted ?
  18. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    A snippet here:

    We were in Wooler when the Essex Regiment arrived in the district, as boys we thought this was great. What with all the Bren Gun carriers, army lorries and staff cars arriving, Westland Lysanders flying overhead, and a band – at the time the big bass drum player was the biggest man I had ever see – Wooler was buzzing.

    At the outset, a number of soldiers were billeted in the old derelict mill just behind the ‘Drill Hall’ – poor chaps! We watched them stuffing their palliasses with straw for bedding, they slept on the floors of the Mill, with Hessian sacks to cover the glass-less windows (perhaps it was still better than being under canvas). I think they used to march up to the church hall for meals.

    As time progressed, German prisoners came to Wooler to work on the farms. I remember they sculpted eagles out of cement or plaster and painted them. They were placed on the gateposts of the area where they were held, which I think was on the road to Whitsun Bank. Although this was all very interesting, because of homesickness and the lack of enemy bombing in North Shields, we persuaded our parents to allow us to return home. During our evacuation our parents had left the pub, my father being a qualified boilermaker-plater was back in the shipyards and we now lived in Kirton Park Terrace. We returned to ‘Shields’ just in time for the bombing to start!

    Preston Hospital was hit, and the streets were flattened down beside Smith’s Dock. As we had no air raid shelters at this time, during a raid we had to run the gauntlet from our house to Preston Park communal shelter. The ack-ack guns from nearby fields sounded as if they were in the same street – what a noise. Occasionally in the middle of the night we would just stay under the stairs, which was said to be the strongest part of the house. We did get our Anderson shelter in reasonable time and my father made it pretty comfortable.

    I remember one night during a raid, standing with my bike at the traffic lights waiting for the lights to turn green while bombs were falling! I must have been crackers, there wasn’t a car in sight. It just shows how we obeyed the rules in those days.

    They hit North Shields Goods Station that night. My brother who was now working at a gents’ outfitters and was also a fire watcher, went down to the shop to remove all the suits and goods from the shop window display because the glass had been blown out. He then cycled to the owner’s in Whitley Bay to inform him and was given a 3d bit for his efforts.

    As schoolboys, we used to hope that the all-clear siren would go off after midnight which allowed us to go to school late the following morning. Before midnight and we had to stick to normal times.

    At this time the WRAF occupied the old Tynemouth Golf Club-house. They were billeted there to man the barrage balloon which was situated on the golf course at Spital Dene. These balloons would occasionally break loose and spiral into the sky where eventually they would burst into flames. The barrage balloon material that did not burn fell to the ground to be snaffled by the first person on site. This spoil of war was highly prized as it was a wonderful waterproof material for covering garden sheds, our hen cree was beautifully watertight. As boys, we used to serenade the WRAF’s by singing harmony Mills Brother style.

    At the Fish Quay, many fishing trawlers were converted into mine-sweepers with Paravanes and Lewis Guns for exploding the mines. They were also equipped with their own barrage balloon to guard against enemy attack.

    Full Account Here:
    Wartime - Remembering the Past
    Osborne2 and S. Coxon like this.
  19. S. Coxon

    S. Coxon Member

    Thankyou for sharing - I just love hearing these stories about the war years in Wooler - l have lived in Wooler for over 50 years and live right beside what was camp 105 which is a school now with lions on gates made by Italian pows.

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