The National Archives Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU
UK Government Files
Having visited Hampshire in order to photograph a number of former PoW sites and to locate others and take part in an organised photoshoot I included a trip to the site of former PoW Camp 144 Ruskin Road.
This site is now the location of the UK National Archives.
During my on-line research I had come across references to a number of government files held by the UK National Archive on various PoW Camps. Prior to my visit I completed an on-line application process in order to obtain a reader’s ticket and I pre-ordered a number of files without direct knowledge as to what I would find in these files. Specifically, I ordered one file that the National Archive Search facility stated contained a list of the various camps. I also ordered five or six separate files that the search facility said related to specific camps. As I say I had no idea as to the exact contents of these files until I read them.
The site was relatively easy to find although as I found the security around access to the documents is tight in order to ensure that documents are not damaged or stolen. The documents as it turns out were from the Foreign Office and date back to around 1947.The basics and purpose was for inspection reports from the camps in view of repatriation of the PoWs hence the doc’s originating from the Foreign Office and not the War Office. The document that listed the various camps ONLY contains details of the camps still open in February 1947 and included multiple corrections in blue pencil / pen on top of typed sheets.
This this contained the address and basic details such as phone and telex details, but it did NOT include map coordinates of the camps – just addresses. These addresses whilst accurate do not contain more modern features such as post codes and thus whilst good enough at the time are not detailed enough to pinpoint the location down to a few metres.
The Camp inspection reports like the list documents include details of the camps including how many PoW they held, accommodate types and the names but not address or location details of subcamps, hostels and billets.
Camera Images of the site of former PoW Camp 144 Ruskin Avenue
Example files from UK Foreign and War Office PoW Camp Camps and Photo of Information Board detailing the role of this site in WWII…