Welcome to Island Farm
|(1)Tin can||(2)Screwdriver||(3)Clay balls & Wire||(4)Clay Balls||(5)Cotton Reel||(6)Barbed wire||(7)ID Plate ?||(8)Jointing strip|
|(9)Brick 1||(10)Brick 2||(11)Fixtures & Fittings||(12)Shelf Brackets||(13)Electrical fittings||(14)Electrical fittings||(15)Electrical fittings||(16)Cable|
|(17)Brackets||(18)Boots||(19)Boots||(20)Fixtures & Fittings||(21) Fittings||(22)Fixtures & Fittings||(23)Coat Hook|
|(24)Lamp Shade||(25)Lamp Shade||(26)Enamel Bowl||(27)Enamel Bowl||(28)Enamel Bowl||(29)Klim Tin||(30)Electrical Insulator|
|(31)Fuse Box||(32)Fuse Box||(33)Lock Box||(34)Bed Boards||(35)Bed Boards||(36)Lamp|
|Many of the items above were recovered when I excavated the
clay once held behind the false wall that was released after 50
years. The wall had already been demolished after PC Reg Dodson had
discovered it in the mid 1980's due to local vandalism, or the
weight of the clay finally pushing the wall out of it's way.
Armed with an entrenching tool from the US Army I set about digging my own tunnel. Various items were found on the way down to the ground, but the "waste" at the bottom of the false wall beneath the clay gave up the best treasure.
A tin can shown in picture (1), the remnants of a screwdriver(2), could this be the first tool used to cut the concrete entrance to the tunnel ? Many clay balls(3) & (4), many of them with fingerprints from the tunnelers were found, compressed tightly to pass through the small opening in the false wall. A cotton reel(5) found was in remarkably good condition. Some barbed wire and glass(6) were found in the tunnel debris; history tells us that POW's helped construct the fences at the camp, so raw material was always available.
Other debris from the camp included an ID plate (7) from a piece of electrical equipment, and jointing strips (8) from plasterboard walls. The two Bricks (9) & (10) show that the camp was built from ;local brickworks at Tondu and Bryncethyn. Pictures (11) to (17) show the various fixtures and fittings rescued from the camp buildings.
At the very bottom of the clay was an item that needed verifying, so armed with a rucksack I travelled to The Imperial War Museum in London with my find. I had spoken with Robert Jackson many times in the past regarding Island Farm and other pieces in my collection. He verified what I had found, a pair of U-boat officers boots(18) & (19), cut down to wear around the camp as shows. Worn out and encrusted with clay, this pair of boots is my prize from my Island Farm collection.
Pictures (20) to (23) show other fitments from the camps, (24) and (25) show a lampshade from the external lighting that surrounded the perimeter of the camp. The enamel bowl (26) to (28) was found near the mess hall/German Bake house. A klim tin (29) is yet to be certified from the era, but again was found near the German bake house. Picture (30) shows an electrical insulator found on the ground near the generator room, along with the GEC fuse box shown in (31) & (32). The lock box (33) was found in the same block as the escape tunnel.
The bed boards (34) & (35) where both discovered within the clay excavated from the tunnel behind the false wall. It is unsure why they were there, they show crude word working marks, a handle for example has been fashioned at one end. It is understood that initially, there wasn't much concern with shoring up the tunnel, and because of this, is this why this precious timber was discarded in the opening stages of the tunnel ?
Picture(36) shows another prize find, a paraffin lamp with blue glass, possibly hung in an area that had to be permanently lit, but low light because of blackout ? Found near the Administration buildings or Guardhouse, it's a good bet this was its purpose.