Welcome to Island Farm

Introduction

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Royal Ordnance Factory Dormitories

The site on which Island Farm was to be built was selected initially so that it was a fair distance away from the munitions factory that it was built to serve. The massive complex of what was The Royal Ordnance Factory in Bridgend would be a prime target for the enemy. The munitions factories would employ thousands of workers, which during wartime would be difficult to transport from the outlaying districts. So, Island Farm Camp was born to help this.

Island farm was constructed in tandem with construction of the ordnance factory and was completed in 1939. I t wasn't long however, after production started at the munitions factory, that the people working in the factory who were staying at Island farm preferred to travel from home every day, and back the next day, other than stay away from their families during war. Island farm camp then lay empty for a number of years.

Munitions storage

 

Billets for U.S. Army

The American's joined World War Two after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941. America was now our ally, and declared war on Japan and her allies. This was what Roosevelt wanted, an excuse to go to war. The Americans had been aiding us for a number of years, with programmes such as Lend-Lease, now Britain had the entire might of the United States to kick back at Germany.

The build up of American service personnel began slowly at first, then the numbers of soldiers, sailors and airmen began to swell the population. Over paid, Over sexed and over here became their slogan, and they brought with them a lively attitude that maybe Britain was losing as the war dragged on. They chewed gum, drove jeeps, danced the jitterbug and brought additional fighting spirit with them. Homes were found for these "Yanks" all around the country, in the Welsh valleys, at the seaside at Porthcawl and Island Farm camp. The American 28th Infantry Division landed in Bridgend, and went about their business.

Eisenhower paid a visit by all accounts, made a speech to the troops from the back of a jeep on the parade ground prior to D-Day. No photographic record exists of this, however, he made several of these type speeches during the build up to D-Day.

Eisenhower talks with his troops                                                 Hittin' the Beaches !

The Americans left Island Farm in April 1944, moved down south ready to assemble on their ships and landing craft ready for the invasion. They were reluctant to leave their very comfortable accommodation in Bridgend, they had been spoiled.

They were even more unhappy when they learned later on in the war, who the next tenants at their camp were !

 

28th Infantry Division in Action, Europe 1944

 

 P.O.W. Camp
With success after success in all theatres of war, from North Africa and the invasion of France, homes had to be found for the many thousands of German, Italian and Axis prisoners of war. Many were sent to the United States and Canada, and many came to Britain. Island Farm was also chosen as the new home for many of these defeated soldiers, airmen and naval personnel. Island Farm became Prisoner of war camp No.198
POW's in northern Europe
 

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