Warth Mills Prisoner of War Camp, Bury, Lancashire

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Warth Mills Prisoner of War Camp, Bury

This photo shows Monkey Bridge (which carries the Bury – Manchester line) over the River Irwell at Bury and the eastern corner of what was Warth Mills POW camp. Not easy to see in this light, but by the water’s edge is a small section of the original perimeter wall. This was my stomping grounds as a kid.

The conditions at Warth Mills Internment Camp for ‘enemy’ civilians have already been described here.


Prisoners of War

After the camp was considerably ‘reconditioned’, German and Italian prisoners of war started to use it. Initially the prisoners were U-boat crews and Luftwaffe crews but after Normandy there was a huge surge in Heer (Army) and SS prisoners. By the time the camp was decommissioned in 1947, over 100,000 prisoners had spent time at Warth Mills.

POWs were categorised according to the strength of their political views and also their role within the Wehrmacht and they wore a patch on their uniform to show that. Those deemed ‘White’ were considered less extreme, Grey POWs were somewhere in the middle and Black POWs were ardent Nazis; SS, paratroopers and U-boat crews were automatically graded Black. Their grading also determined where in the country they went. Those considered to be a greater risk were sent further north (or to North America).

POWs were put to work earning the going union rates for their labour and received the same rations as British servicemen meaning they were better fed than British civilians.

Escape attempts from Warth

There were several attempts to escape but no German prisoners managed to leave the country. One got as far north as Kendal, while two others made it to London before being caught.

In 1942 a couple of prisoners were recaptured ‘on the moors crouching behind a stone wall’ according to the Bury Times. A Mr Tom Milburn apprehended them. One of the Germans spoke a little English. He grinned and said, “A bit of luck!” Mr Milburn said the German asked him the name of the town they had come from. Mr Milburn told him it was Liverpool. “They both laughed because they knew I wasn’t telling the truth” he said.

In researching Warth Mills, I read through every copy of the Bury Times from August 1939 to August 1945 on microfilm at Bury Library. This is my favourite headline;


It is from November 1944. The Bury Times said “A shepherd named Nutter, who noticed the two suspicious looking characters on the moor notified the police who threw a cordon round the area and recaptured the two men. Unshaven and grimy, the airmen had taken refuge at Grane Heights, Haslingden”.

A third prisoner was recaptured at Stubbins. They were Karl Hanickel, Ernst Geller and Ottomar Kruse. They had used moorland tracks and the thick fog which had descended on Lancashire to avoid capture, planning to head east with the hope of finding an airfield and stealing a plane.

POWs and the public

The people of Bury had some awareness of the prisoners. The odd escape attempt was reported in the Bury Times (which by 1945 was identifying Warth Mills by name) and people would have seen the camp from the train to Manchester. Some people will have also seen, especially after D-Day in 1944, German POWs being marched from Knowsley Street Station down Manchester Road and turning right at Radcliffe Road (at the corner of which there was a public air raid shelter which we used to play in as kids, but it has now been filled in) and on to the camp. Other civilians would have worked alongside some POWs.

The Bury Times of 1st March 1945 had the headline NAZI POW KISSED NURSES IN KITCHEN OF BURY HOSPITAL adding that one had even proposed marriage. Some of the nurses at the Florence Nightingale Hospital in Bury were Irish but all 5 involved were still bound by and prosecuted under the Internees Access and Communications Order of 1942. Most were fined and/or lost their jobs. The prisoners were moved to other camps.

In October 1942, a young lad told his pal that he had seen Italian prisoners with their hands tied behind their backs at Bolton Street Station in Bury. His mate informed the police and he was fined £1 plus paid 15 shillings expenses. Alderman Whitehead told him “You ought to have more sense and be careful in your conversation about war. You never know who is listening.”

(That the same year a mother of 9 children aged between 4 months and 13 years was fined the same amount for neglecting her children, the NSPCC reporting her for going out at night and leaving them all – babies as well – alone in front of an unguarded fire and also for generally not providing adequate food, clothing or maintaining their good hygiene)

Below; Sample of a note for threepence used at Warth camp from this fascinating source for old and rare banknotes


Below. This is about as good as I could get this photo from the Bury Times of 21 June 1944. After the invasion of Normandy, many POWs arrived at camps throughout the UK. The caption beneath read
“Some of the Nazi prisoners captured in Normandy as they lined up (in Bury) before being marched off to the camp. The two youngsters at the front turned their heads away when the picture was being taken. One of the prisoners is still wearing snipers camouflage.”

JUNE 21 1944

Please see comment below by DeeTee (3 April 2015) and the description of the camp.

Warth Mills on OS Map

This map shows some of the POW camps in Britain.

62 comments on “Warth Mills Prisoner of War Camp, Bury, Lancashire
  1. Tech Owl says:

    The changes always interest me, electrification and perhaps a bridge build or rebuild? And then the ‘hidden’ lines – like you mention. Nice work sir

  2. cgullz says:

    be assured I am reading this and will comment soon!

  3. Ian D B says:

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/cachelog] Thanks Bryan. Yeah I feel the same. The bridge hasn’t changed much though, none of it round here has changed much since I first clapped eyes on the place in about 1980.
    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/angwickham] S’alright. I am watching a programme about the Bronte sisters now. Appreciate you even just clicking on it!

  4. nondesigner59 says:

    Great work..

  5. cgullz says:

    ‘100,000 prisoners had spent time at Warth Mills’ – !!! astonishing !!! [in lil ol’ Bury no less!]

    ‘received the same rations as British servicemen meaning they were better fed than British civilians.’ – everyone appreciates their own being looked after, but you’d think that food rationing would apply to prisoners .. at least in fairness to the locals. is that mean of me? perhaps ..

    ‘Most were fined and/or lost their jobs. The prisoners were moved to other camps.’ – wartime romance, i think is sweet. for it shows despite all the bullshit going on, humanity. i wonder if these romances were ever re-newed after the war.

    ‘In researching Warth Mills, I read through every copy of the Bury Times from August 1939 to August 1945 on microfilm at Bury Library.’ LEGEND. regarding the title: guess there’s not too many places to hide on a moor? 😉 good on them for having a go to breakout, it was their duty to do so after all.

    ‘A shepherd named Nutter’ LOL .. could be one of my relations then %)

    Great work Ian, thoroughly enjoyable read. Well written, and excellent thinking to divide this into two posts: civilian / military tales. An astonishing amount of reading done on yr part, I can’t help but wonder when the bi-focals will yr best friend …

    • sarah kirk says:

      With regards to the romances, I know of one that continued after the war, my grandad was a POW at warth mill, married my grandma, had a few kids and are still together to this day 🙂 (If my memory serves me right, they used to send prisoners out for the day to local houses for tea? and that is how they met)

      • Ian D B says:

        That’s a lovely tale Sarah, thank you for adding it.

        Your memory does serve, many POWs were integrated with the community towards the end of the war and the years immediately after. Some Italian POWs from Burrs were allowed to wander about town in their uniforms and generally annoy the men of Bury, who in response wrote letters to the Bury Times about it.

        Inman & Helm in ‘Bury and the Second World War’ note that after the war prisoners were gradually invited into people’s homes but were “forbidden to enter into what were described as ‘amorous relationships.” Clearly your grandparents took no notice of that restriction!

  6. stiemer says:

    Very interesting, thanks for sharing.

  7. mick cooke says:

    yes very interesting Ian, another story to tell my dad when i see him today

  8. amyrey says:

    I didn’t realise the scale of internment…. especially in somewhere like Bury. Makes me wonder why Bury? And why further north? More remote? Bury hardly seems middle ground in terms of remoteness…

  9. Keartona says:

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/angwickham] Nutter is a surname very particular to Lancashire….can’t think why 😉

  10. Keartona says:

    I was quite suprised to read years ago about there being a camp near where I worked at the time in Styal near Wilmslow. It was the prisoners who constructed the cricket field amongst other things in the area.

  11. Ian D B says:

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/amybigkiss] Thanks Amy. Take a look at that map, they were everywhere. I don’t know why Bury was chosen though as one of just 3 (I think) internment camps, but later on POW camps appeared all over the country. But SS and U-boat crews and ardent Nazis were sent North, to Lancashire and Scotland and beyond, from where it was harder to get back to Europe.
    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/nondesigner] [http://www.flickr.com/photos/mick_cooke_wildlife] [http://www.flickr.com/photos/stiemer] Thanks chaps.
    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/27955898@N07] I shall look u Styal, thanks Andrew.
    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/angwickham] Too kind Ang, thank you. As Andrew says [http://www.flickr.com/photos/27955898@N07] Nutter is a very common Lancashire name. One of the Pendle Witches was called Nutter (have you heard of the Pendle Witches?)

  12. Highy says:

    Very interesting as usual, enjoyed reading that one more than the previous one which was a bit uncomfortable. Very impressed to see that you read every copy of the Bury Times, that’s a big undertaking; I read some of our local papers at the library and kept getting sidetracked.

    Very well researched mate, I’m impressed.

  13. cgullz says:

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/maycontaintracesofnuts] I’ve only heard of the Pendle Witches by reading Joseph Delaney’s Spook series [which i am fanatic over] .. set in your part of the world but in old days, he changes the names of the towns … view his books here … Now that I know they’re for real, Nutters and all, I’ll have to keep my eye out for further books – background reading 🙂 .. Incidentally Joseph Delaney went to Lancaster University. And the Spook series is being made into the movie: Seventh Son. as we speak, as it were …

  14. cgullz says:

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/maycontaintracesofnuts] and not at all too kind. I just clicked on that map: Holy Cow Batman! I see what you mean, there was one near you – cheeky tone jumping off the page. .. I see a few where my grandad is from [ironically he joined the war from my side of town though] .. and also one on the A44 near where I lived in Gloucestershire [i say lived, i was only 7].

  15. bazylek100 says:

    Great research and reportage, Ian.

    "U-boat crews were automatially graded Black" – ironically, from all the German arms U-bootwaffe presumably had the lowest number of Nazis in its ranks. However, I think the submariners might have been graded ‘black’ as some kind of elite troops considering their volunteer service and generally high morale.

    "’received the same rations as British servicemen meaning they were better fed than British civilians" – as far as I know, according to the Geneva Convention it was mandatory to give POWs the same rations as British servicemen.
    I even read somewhere, that some commandants of the Japanese POW camps who were accused after the war of starving their prisoners, were eventually acquitted when they proved that their Allied POWs were given the same rations as Japanese infantrymen (although this still meant starvation rations).

  16. pasujoba says:

    Blimey that map ! How many prison camps …..if they had realised they could have broke out and invaded us from within ! I believe we shipped a lot out to Canada too . Incredibly interesting , another great story supremely well researched and photographed.

  17. Billy Currie says:

    Funny, I never imagine us having pow camps

  18. salfordlad1 says:

    Just fascinating to read about – opened a new chapter in local history for me..I’m overloaded with works on Salford and Manchester, this wants me to start collecting Bury stuff now 😉

  19. crusader752 says:

    Having trouble keeping up at the mo’ Ian …..but great shot with those lovely reflections.
    Any idea why it’s called Monkey Bridge? (apologies if it says so somewhere …..but you know what I’m like! ) :-))

  20. Ian D B says:

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/highy] Thanks mate. Good to see you yesterday.
    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/angwickham] I don’t know those books Ang. I nearly got into Lancaster Uni tho. Ended up in Huddersfield however. Anyway. You are living at 7.
    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/bazylek] I read the opposite Robin, that U-boat crews were ardent Nazis? More research needed obviously. But yeah we stuck to the Geneva convention. The Nazis didn’t.
    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/pasujoba44] Thanks mate and for the mag. Odd that thre should be a piece on Glen Mill just as I was looking for it. It would have been a lot eaiser for me identifying bits on the ground with that mag but probably less fun!
    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/25305713@N04] Glad to have got it on your agenda Wilf!
    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/29288836@N00] Hi Rob. It is called Monkey Bridge because of the metal framework had kids like me clambering over it like monkeys.

  21. David Sykes says:

    When I was a kid I lived in the Waterloo Hotel on Manchester Road and well remember German war prisoners being marched from Knowsley St Railway Station down Manchester Road to the camp. After they had passed, me and other kids would go to the railway station and search the slope where they had been held and used to find money and other articles which had been dropped by the prisoners before they were searched. I also remember a shop called Blakes Cakes on about 135 Manchester Road which had fake wedding cakes etc on display so the prisoners would write home letting their kin believe that conditions were better with us than in fact they were. I also remember having my hair cut in one of the guard towers at the camp, I think by guards. The prisoners who died on the camp were buried in Bury Cemetary and I can remember seeing their graves in the fifties, the bodies must have been re-interred as I cannot find the graves nowadays. I can quite well remember the prisoners even though I was born in 1940 the prisoners used their bed boards to make a fence around Bury Sports Club at the top of Radcliffe Road.I also remember visiting the cells in the centre of the complex which were painted with pro nazi graffiti.

    • Ian D B says:

      David many thanks indeed for your comment. Where else can you get history about things like the fake wedding cakes in the shop window and the graffiti in the cells, than from the people who were there! Loved reading that. Great that you can recall details like the names of the shop.

  22. Ann Elizabeth Holleran says:

    could someone please guide me on trying to find my brothers farther. my mother a few years before dying told us who my first brother Keith’s dad was, and he was an italian prisoner (down Burrs ) from Bologna. My brother would realy like to fin out. regards Ann
    i live in Italy but born in bury.

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi Ann,

      Greetings from Bury!

      Someone called Hannah made a similar request for help last year on this site. See this story which is about some Italian PoWs at Burrs. I suggested a couple of resources where she might find some help (see near the foot of the comments section). I could e-mail her if you wish, put you in touch with each other, she may have found out more since?

      Good luck with your research.


      • Ann Elizabeth Holleran says:

        thank you so much Ian for replying, yes if you could give me hannahs email.etc. the guy was called Agostino and was moved to Ashton-under-line. my mum had wrote to him afew times but no reply, mum found out many years later that Agostino had wrote back to her but my step grandad did’nt give her the letters and through them away. please keep in touch
        kind regards

        • Ian D B says:

          Hi Ann,

          I have e-mailed Hannah and passed on your contact details. It is a long shot but you may be able to share ideas and info.

          Most searches on the internet throw up results which relate to tracing British servicemen who were PoWs but this recently added page at the British Library which may help? It looks like it references only Italians held prisoner in India, but the contact at the library may be able to point you towards some other records?


          Or you could also contact the Anglo-Italian Family History Society, I read somewhere they were helpful;


          Though your best bet will probably be with the National Archives (link below) and what they still have from the Prisoner of War Information Bureau (PWIB) which kept records through to 1948.


          Sad but not uncommon story about Agostino’s letters not being passed on. Was it the Melland Camp at Gorton he was moved to?

          Best regards Ann, hope you find what you are looking for.


          • Ann Elizabeth Holleran says:

            Dear Ian,thanks for quick reply, also for email addresses. I dont know if Agostino went to Melands camp at Gorton. Well when my mum became pregnant,( you can imagine those days )she stayed in her bedroom for 9months until keith was born then after a few months she married my dad. We knew Keith had a different surname but we never thought about it, my dad treated Keith as his son and Keith always called him dad and loved him. The strange thing is that i came to Italy marrying my husband 43 years ago and my mum never said anything about Agostino. Its abit like those programms you see on the television but it has happened in your own family. Well i will close now, i lived in Hulme st Crostons road. kind regards Ann Holleran

          • Ian D B says:

            Hi Ann,
            Hannah has been in touch, will e-mail you her address. Hope you find out some more info about your brother’s Dad. It is odd that you ended up in Italy!
            Best regards,

      • jeanbarlow says:

        When I was a toddler my mother used to walk us past the wire fences where the prisoners were saying football. It was rumoured that they got imported fruit which was unobtainable to us.

    • Roy Sanderson says:

      Hi my father was an Italian pow at burrs or wharfe camp. I’m also looking for any information, have you had much luck or found any records. My fathers name was Vincenzo. I have been to bury library there are no names listed. I was also born in bury and now live near Preston. If you could drop your email or your brothers that would be great.

  23. Ann Elizabeth Holleran says:

    Thanks Ian, for your email and for contacting hannah for me which she has already emailed me. My mum had a photo of my gramma in a frame, when mum died my sister has the photo. Last year my sister was changing the frame and what was hidden at the back? a photo of Agostino (which there is writing onthe back but has fadded, so we cant understand what is wrote) so i just cant understand how long that was there. My brother is a shy person, he came here to Italy for christmas. He has the photo and asked me to try to investigate about his dad. thanks once again Ian Kind regards Ann
    p.s. do you live in Bury? My dad was a scrape metal merchaint and his works was near Bury Bridge, he also showed shire horses.

    • Ian D B says:

      Thanks Ann, yes I’m in the Bury area. What a fiind that photo – we found one of my dad taken during the war which had long been lost, it had been tucked between the pages of a book and forgotten about.

      • Ann Elizabeth Holleran says:

        Hi Ian, it seems as though alot of children where born those days, with English ladies and Italian men in Bury. I wonder how many Italian pows remained to live in England and Bury area. I know that when my mum worked at the Peel mills, she told me that there where alot of Italians worked there but i dont know if they came to bury after the war are they had stayed on. I have not had any luck yet with my research. If anyone else reading my emails would like to give me any ideas or just tell me ther story i would be so happy. well i will close now thanks Ian kind regards Ann

  24. Mel says:

    My grandfather was a german pow at warf in bury. Married my nan in 1951, had a big family and stayed in bury all his life. Both nana & grandad have passed away now. I wonder how many more pow families there are in the Area?

    • Ian D B says:

      Thanks for visiting and commenting Mel. Going off correspondence and from comments from other people viewing these pages, there must be lots, but the number can never be known as many men didn’t maintain contact for all kinds of reasons and similarly many women kept their relationships secret.


    • Pauline Wynne says:

      One ex-German POW lived on Chesham Road with his English wife.

  25. ianmcdonald says:

    I remember the POW camp well. I was six when war broke out and I remember that when my dad took me a walk down Radcliffe Road,you were not allowed to walk passed the camp and you to cross the road and walk on the other side.When I was older some restrictions were lifted and you could get quite close to the camp on the approach to the monkey bridge. My recollections of this time was how normal the prisoners seemed not as we were led to believe monsters. My other recollection was some prisoners(i was told they were Japanese ) arriving in chains at Bolton Street Station.I also recall Italian POWs walking round Bury and congregating outside a shop that sold non alcoholic drinks in Bolton Street.

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi Ian, sorry for the late reply and many thanks for your comment.

      Interesting to read of being made to cross the road when passing the camp, trying to imagine the place I grew up knowing as MacPhersons paints, was something you grew up knowing as a PoW camp! Do you remember the air raid shelter at redvales on the corner of Manchester road and Radcliffe road opposite the Staff of Life?

      I went to school at Derby in the 80s. The cross country running circuit took us past the old walls of the camp and across monkey bridge. Do you recall if the walls on that side of the camp along the backpath to the school are the original walls from the camp?

      Not sure if you have seen them, but on this site are also pages relating to air raids over Bury during the war and a piece about an Italian PoW at Burrs who drowned in the Irwell while saving the life of a young girl.

  26. June says:

    Hi. This is a great piece of research. I wonder if you could help me. I am trying to locate a POW by the name of Carsten Peter Clausen who was interned in Manchester do you know how I could find out if he was there? Thanks

  27. DeeTee says:

    I lived in Warth during WW2 in a cottage, since demolished, close to the Derby school alongside the Radcliffe Old Road which leads to Buckley Wells. In order to access Radcliffe Road from Warth all residents including children were issued with a pass issued by the military to show to gate guard.
    Another group of prisoners were in a sort of sister camp at Lowercroft, between Walshaw and Ainsworth.
    One of the German prisoners, kept in touch with my late parents and they attended his Silver wedding in northern Germany.
    Another inmate married our next door neighbour up to about ten years ago he was still living in the Bury area having outlived his wife.
    I have many memories of living there especially when I was taken to London by train by one of the Army personnel in 1947. We travelled on my birthday amongst many troops who passed a soldier’s cap round the whole train collecting pocket money for my visit in London. Whilst I was in London the Irwell had burst its banks flooding the Bury Amateur Football Club’s ground and the low land near Zion Methodist Church.
    A working party made of former prisoners awaiting repatriation built a dam or bund under the bridge adjacent to the church to stem the flow. When I visited Warth ten years ago the dam was still intact.

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi, thanks for adding your memories of the camp at Warth. Very interesting to read of the German PoWS staying in touch and forming friendships. Quite remarkable that your parents travelled to Germany in maintaining that contact and of others remaining in the area. I never knew that about the dam beneath the bridge; I shall take a look next time I am passing. I used to run under that bridge when out on cross country runs at Derby school. Pity our history teachers never mentioned all that which was on our doorstep.
      Re; Lowercroft, there is another site called Lancashire at War which has a lot about Bury. Its author Rick added this page which may be of interest?

  28. DeeTee says:

    Towards the end of the war the prisoners were guarded by a contingent of US Army personnel. The local kids were welcomed into the camp by the Yanks and given treats such as chewing gum (some kids would beg for gum by asking a US soldier “have you any gum chum?”) oranges and nuts.
    I do not ever recall a wall surrounding the camp as my recollection is that it was completely surrounded by barbed wire fences. The camp extended beyond the present boundary of Macphersons paint works. On the south side of Warth Road there was a terrace of fourteen houses with a small schoolroom to the east. The schoolroom was requisitioned by the military and was used as an orderly room.
    Across the road from the houses to the north east was a barbed wire fence. The original line of the road turned opposite the schoolroom in the same direction, possibly between the present Padiham Close and Mellor Drive.
    To the west the fence continued behind allotments on the east of Openshaw Fold in front of the extant terraced cottages. The fence ran north east to south of the present Ribchester Drive, which was then farmland, where it turned south east to roughly opposite Lilac Avenue, it then turned parallel to Radcliffe road and ran to Warth bridge. The probable reason for pedestrians being forbidden to walk on the north west side of Radcliffe road is because the area behind the wire was the prisoners recreation area where they played games and generally associated. There was a very strict no fraternisation policy in force.
    Within the barbed wire enclosed area outside the former textile mill’s boundary was living accommodation for the guards, an officers’ mess, various stores buildings and also workshops.
    The wall you have identified in your photo of the monkey bridge I suspect is a much later addition as I do not recall seeing a wall there.
    The path leading to the monkey bridge I suspect is a long standing public footpath which was probably part of the old road from Bury to Radcliffe, with possibly a river crossing in the form of a ford at that point.

    • Ian D B says:

      Sorry for the late reply. Thank you very much for adding all that detail, will refer to this comment in the main text. I’m going to get a map and trace the perimeter of the camp. Pity about the wall, if it’s not from the camp.

  29. Roland Gehrke says:

    My father was a prisoner of war at Warth Mills, having arrived in 1944 via Normandy…from there he met my mother and the rest you might say is history.There were quite a few stayed on after the war after having met local girls. Life wasn’t all that easy having a German father, so soon after the war but we got on with it.

  30. Fred Brown says:

    I moved to Radcliffe Road in 1936, I was six at the time, when war started my mother was told that she had to have an officer billeted with her with his batman who cam every day to prepare his breakfast and get him of to the camp, he was in charge of setting up the prison camp so we new all about what was going on. I attended Zion Methodist Church, Warth and as the road to it went directly through the camp we all had passes, which eventually we never had to show as all the guards knew us. We had regular socials and dances in the Sunday school hall which were often attended by some of the camp guards. The school floor was very old and full of raised knots which made it difficult to dance on so eventually some of the soldiers arranged for a new floor to be fitted which we could never had afforded, I don’t know who paid for it but it must have cost a lot of money as it was beautifully polished and great to dance on. My mother had seven different officers billeted with her during that time, one of them was a write and wrote a book called ‘The Last to leave Paris’, which was his story of how he escaped from France when the Nazis took over, he gave my parents a signed copy which I still have. Another officer was some relation to Margot Fonteyn the dancer, he was a real great person full of fun with a fantastic personality. I could tell a lot more stories of life at Warth in those days, but enough for now. 3rd January 2016

  31. Lee says:

    I’ve been down in the cells which are still their under the main building! There are many names inscribed on the walls and it’s very eiri down there . It should be open too the public and maybe if someone contacted the owners this could be possible ..

    • Ian D B says:

      I would love to visit the place properly and see that.

    • Lindsay Haworth says:

      Hi Lee,

      Yes, i would love to go into the cells and have a look at the names on the wall. Maybe i could find my Grandads! He was an Italian POW at Warth Mill and Burrs and went back after the war. He had an amazing career in Italian Politics & Engineering – i’m so proud of him…let me know if you ever get access.

  32. Dave says:

    Is there anything left of the original site other than the wall?
    Thanks in advance

  33. Peter Dillon says:

    would like to know when the last prisoner left the Warth fold camp.I remember that I used to walk down Radcliffe road with some of my friends and watch them play football on a pitch that was fenced in, and just wondering what year it was.I was born in 1938 so would like to know how old I would have been then.

    • D Turner says:

      I was born in 1937 and moved to Openshaw Fold Warth in 1939 when the POW camp was being prepared to accept the German POWs. We lived not quite opposite the coal store.
      To get to Radcliffe road to go to school or the shops we had to have pass issued by the military up to VE day in 1945 when security was relaxed.
      For a short period after VE day the Army were replaced by a contingent from the US Army.
      Pending repatriation many of the prisoners drafted to gather in the harvest on nearby farms.
      The last prisoners to leave Warth, I guess would be in 1947, though some stayed behind and married local women.

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