The World War Memorial
Huthwaite War Efforts
A Foresters Drill Hall
Huthwaite Remembrance
WW1 Full Roll of Honour
LDV - A Home Guard
Huthwaite PoW Camp
Victory Celebrations
WW2 Full Roll of Honour
Huthwaite War Veterans
Heroic Sergt T Lee DCM
Wartime Memorabilia

Huthwaite War Memorial

Prisoner of War Camp

Unembellished fact often heard retold - Huthwaite sited a World War Two prisoner of war camp. Although commonly recalled from living memory, this had surprisingly escaped any mention by our local historians, and is still widely unrecognised. National archives helped researchers plot locations for hundreds of British based PoW camps, but a 2003 English Heritage report clearly realised incomplete records couldn't fully account for large gaps and variances between sequential numbers. The unidentified Huthwaite compound may therefore be like many other smaller or shorter term enclosures, only now given localised historic recognition.

There's no trace left of the barbed wire fenced compound that stood below Common Road. Inquisitive sightings among my parents generation offer last living memories of the gated PoW camp, beyond those given by passing elders working New Hucknall Colliery. The sight of soldier guards regularly escorting uniformed prisoners to work farmlands was however, commonly witnessed. Simply noting their dark jackets had one of two distinguishing coloured symbols on the back, nobody actually knew why they differed.

German Prisoners of War

Thanks must now extend to Mr Fredrick G Pote in Cornwall for authoritatively adding enlightening information. Quoting from his correspondence with kind permission is clearest way of relating his own humble self introduction, furthermore qualifying his very descriptive 1946 soldiering experience eventually being stationed in Huthwaite to perform Prisoner of War armed guard duties.

I was called up into the army in 1941 and my first posting overseas was to Algiers. From there to Malta, where we took part in the landings on Sicily July 10th 1943. Arriving back in the UK in 1944, to then take part in the D Day landings in Normandy, and then on to Germany until VE Day.


  In 1946 I was sent home to the UK to a P.O.W. Camp which was situated at Common Road, Huthwaite, I think almost opposite a coal mine. I spent about six months there and was very happy.

  I made friends with some people living in that road and was invited by one family for a cup of tea on more than one occasion, the name I cannot remember after all these years. The man of the house was a coal miner and we often went to a pub called the Miners Arms. These were times of great shortages and they often ran out of beer and sometimes not enough glasses to go round, so some were left drinking out of jam jars. We got our newspapers from a shop at the top of Common Road, the owner was I think a Mr. Jones.

  The Huthwaite camp was a detachment from our main camp situated at The Hayes, Swanwick, Derbyshire. We had about fifty PoW's, whom we sent out each morning to work on farms in the area. I often took prisoners to a radio shop on the road to Sutton-in-Ashfield, and they would carry back batteries and accumulators for our radios. They were only allowed out under escort, and they were all Germans.

  All prisoners were German ex-soldiers, but gave very little trouble to the guards. We only had to threaten them with a return to The Hayes to bring them into line. They wore army battledress, which was dyed brown with a red circle on the back of the tunic and a patch on the trouser knee. Very distinctive indeed.

  The camp was enclosed with barbed wire, with a large gate almost opposite the Pit Road. The gate was manned all and every night. The camp huts were all wooden construction, I think six in total. One large one in two sections, one end being the cookhouse and the other end the prisoners dining area. There were nine soldiers to look after them, and our hut was the last one at the bottom of the camp (nearest the gate.)

  We were all well fed, a typical days menu would be:- porridge for breakfast; very little for lunch as the camp would be empty; plenty of bread and sometimes cake and individual fruit pies. The main evening meal would consist of canned stew or corned beef, of which there was plenty, and all prepared by German cooks. We had no M.O. (medical officer) and in case of sickness the Prisoners of War were taken to the surgery at Huthwaite to be treated. The soldiers reported there also.

Italian Prisoners of War

Contrary to common belief, Mr. Pote confirms his six months were spent guarding German prisoners. They wore the distinctive red circles. Everyone felt sure the Huthwaite camp only held Italian prisoners of war, remembering most earlier tunics alternatively displayed a yellow diamond. The experience of young twins James and John Sterland, born 1938 on a small Huthwaite farm presents similar heard encounters. Another memory is on Threshing days, which only happened once a year, around November. A contractor used to come to the farm to thresh the summer's harvest. The contractor had Italian Prisoners of War working for him. One of these Italians made a ring out of a truepenny piece for my sister who was one year older than my brother and me.

The HayesThe Hayes main security compound allowed transferal of prisoners into the Huthwaite PoW work camp after being individually classified low risk and trustworthy of performing farm work; albeit under armed escort. Unsure if secrecy accounts for the revelation that Germans were safely held here, but the undated siting of our temporary work camp would doubtfully predate VE Day, which did mark end of European conflicts. Majority of prisoners were shipped to British camps after 1944. They began fulfilling very much demanded farm labouring roles until safe release. Considering villagers remember friendly Italian speaking prisoners does suggest they joined and finally outnumbered an initial German workforce. Voiced consensus remained impressed by polite cheerfulness, good work and handicraft skills of the Italians, claiming an unnamed few chose to stay and locally marry.


Mr Paul Keeling shares these dated portraits that his father received as a friendly keepsake. Sent by this former POW worker signing himself Constantino, who'd been employed in Huthwaite under his grandfather.

Mike Smith also recalled time when his Granddad Beresford had been ably assisted by one Italian PoW working his George Street garden allotment.

Ukrainian Hostel Workers

Most British held Prisoners of War gained release by 1948. This Huthwaite compound must therefore have barely seen out three years guarded use, and beyond wartime. Camp affairs were never publicised, so that leaves some uncertainty actually dating the length of service and removal of barbed wire fencing. Camp huts did manage to next rehouse other displaced foreign labourers.

A 1948 clipping exposes Fred Wield as warden of the Notts War Agricultural Executive Committee's hostel, assisting the war torn plight widely faced by Ukrainians. This little remembered Ukrainian hostel was reportedly accommodated somewhere on Common Road. It must almost certainly address the former PoW camp, having found how others were likewise widely adopted elsewhere.

Notts Free Press - March 5th, 1948

Ukrainian Choir Formed Locally

Determined efforts are being made in his locality to provide European voluntary workers, Ukrainian Hostel Choirwho are employed on the land, in factories and mines in the area, with recreational facilities and social contacts.
  Considerable progress in this direction has been made since Mr. F. J. Wield became warden of the Notts. War Agricultural Executive Committee's hostel on Common Road, Huthwaite. Before Mr. Wield came to Huthwaite there was in existence a mixed choir consisting of agricultural workers from the Huthwaite hostel, miners from the Mansfield district, and girls employed at Mansfield factories, with Mr. J. Marchewka, the assistant warden at the Huthwaite hostel, as conductor.

Ambitious Plans.

  The whole of the choir, which also includes a group of dancers, are Ukrainians, and recently gave a concert at St. Michael's Church Hall, Sutton. Ambitious plans are on foot to bring into being a concert party covering the whole of Nottinghamshire. It is expected that between 300 and 400 of these workers will be available to form a choir, which there are **** instrumentalists and dancers, ..., under the Chairman of Mr. F. Cookman, Mansfield, Labour Supervisor. S, Mary Church, Mansfield, run a class, the benefit of these workers, while at Huthwaite recreational facilities are available at the hostel, and the workers also use the Huthwaite Church Youth Club premises one evening each week.

English Classes.

  English classes have been provided at the Huthwaite and Sutton Evening Institutes, under Mr. Johnson and Mr. A. Hatfield respectively, while Mr. Wield and Mr. Marchewka also provide instruction in the English language on two evenings at the hostel. The Sutton class has unfortunately had to be terminated.
  When interviewed by a representative of the "Free Press," Mr. Wield stressed that the whole idea behind his work at Huthwaite was to bring the workers into social contact with English people. The Ukrainians had had a hard time, said Mr. Wield. During the German occupation they had to leave their own country to work for the Germans, and now they could not go back as the Russians claimed they had helped the Germans. They were waiting for the day when the Russians left the Ukraine or were driven out.
  Mr. Wield said there were one or two people in Sutton who invited residents of the hostel into their homes occasionally. He would like to see more of that kind of thing, and repudiated strongly the idea which some people seemed to have, that the European voluntary workers were of the same standard as Germans and Italians.
  All the residents of the Huthwaite camp are employed on the land, and are absent from 6.30 in the morning to 6.30 in the evening.

Tribute to W.V.S.

  Mr. Wield paid tribute to the help he had received from the Sutton W.V.S.- "They have a very capable person in Miss Miller; she is one of the best," he said - Mr. Johnson, Mr. Hatfield, Mr. Street of the Huthwaite Church Club, and the Nottingham Branch of the British Red Cross Society.
  Stressing that his main object was to get the men to mix socially with local residents, Mr. Wield remarked that the bigger proportion of them would become naturalised Englishmen. If local people would mix with them, it would be a big help in teaching the men the English language and about English government and laws, of which many of them knew nothing.

The Ukranian war refugees only temporarily used prisoner huts with desperate need for hostelry. Their willingness to assist farm labourers and form a choir may have gained some UK residency.   Dismantling the compound would find two of those redundant wooden camp huts still used in Huthwaite. The Edward brothers resituated their successful toffee factory into its off road Barker Street spot, claiming they'd cheaply acquired a couple of ex army prefab units. It must have been the past owner Alan Edwards who informed me the interior still retained a few hidden carvings originally made by prisoners.

Everest Crisp Factory

Returning use of the site to its former landowners discovers just part a larger Huthwaite estate long held by Quakers. 1953 Unbeknown interests came to light after recognising location next founding a factory manufacturing a once popular brand of Everest Crisps. That appears to have made use of sturdier concrete prefab units, before a 1953 NCB letter addressed to Quakers showed concern regarding possibility of subsidence damaging their Everest Crisp Factory.

Advertisement from that years Sutton Town Football Club Program No. 2281 reveals sales within those grounds. Many residents fondly remember Everest crisps included a small blue bag of salt, not just being a cheaper alternative to similar Smith bags, but actually as a much preferred locally favoured brand.


Location is shown opposite the former pit entrance lane that since sited a large Mill Lane housing estate. Modern security fenced compound adopted use of those sturdier factory buildings, after 1989 established a now past Huthwaite Roofing Supplies. A 2015 comparison updates latest yard transformation, replaced by one store outlet under the newly introduced corporate name Tippers.


11 Apr 12     by Gary Elliott       Updated 15 May 17