Welcome to Island Farm

Background to my interest

 

I first became interested in the Prisoner of War camp in my town when, as a small boy, I was taken there by my father and a family friend, who was living near the camp at the time. This friend had spent a lot of time around the crumbling camp, walking and watching the wild life there. He had stories of hardened German prisoners, stories of escapes and typical "Boys Own" adventures that I had read about in books such as "The Colditz story", "The Password is Courage" etc.

That trip around the camp made me thirsty for more, and when I was old enough, myself and groups of friends would spend hours exploring the camp, climbing through windows to access the dark and dank huts of the camp, their entrances being blocked by tress and rubbish. Long conversations with librarians, locals and my history school teacher then followed, and slowly, a picture of life in the camp as a home to prisoners of war built up. Up until recently, the author Herbert Williams' book, "Come out wherever you are" was the definitive published history of the camp and it's escape. Peter Phillips'  publication "The German Great Escape" is an outstanding book about the whole genesis of the site, from hostel for munitions workers, temporary home to American GI troops, to home for German soldiers, and finally to the home for the highest ranking of Hitler's officers preparing for trial at Nuremberg.  

On virtually every visit I would take my camera and photograph something. This  built up to almost 150 images in my collection. On many visits I would take tools and shovels to rescue what I knew one day would be lost forever; liberated items have been photographed, the items themselves will be available to the Historical Trust responsible for maintaining Hut 9 for the future.

The images shown on the site here are taken over a period of nearly 30 years, and some of the early shots are very poor.

 

Photograph of the author of the website over 20 years ago, digging through the clay excavated when the POW's tunnelled out. Note the US army entrenching tool !

 

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