Last signs of war camp set to go

A postcard home from a prisoner of war at Pingley Camp, dated the 18th August 1946-indicative of the fact that prisoners of war remained there after the war had ended in 1945.(picture courtesy of John Holland)
A postcard home from a prisoner of war at Pingley Camp, dated the 18th August 1946-indicative of the fact that prisoners of war remained there after the war had ended in 1945.(picture courtesy of John Holland)

With the news development at Pingley Camp is set to proceed, Brigg correspondent Peter Thompson looks back at the history of the camp in times of war and peace.

It is the end of an era - the last visible signs and memories of Pingley Camp in war and post war years are fading fast as the site is set to become a housing development.

Some of the town’s more elderly residents will have memories of the former Prisoner of War camp, while others will recall the days when it had an altogether different function.

In World War II, the camp was used to house mainly Italian prisoners of war, though Germans were also held there.

There were 35 huts on site with as many as 750 prisoners.

With the end of hostilities in 1945 the POWs were not immediately repatriated, as the postcard pictured shows; many stayed locally and some married local girls.

They were befriended by local families and treated in many cases as locals.

After the war, the camp was used for sheltered housing under the name of Pingley Farm Hostel, with many students and farm workers, both men and women, living there while working on local farms.

That continued through to the 1980s, after which time it lay derelict, though the remaining huts were still used by farmers for storage. One of its defining features in those days was a huge water tower.

The huts were of a standard pre-fab design and built by some of the prisoners of war themselves, mainly in 1942.

Even in the mid 1960s and 7os the walls of rooms were covered in prisoners’ art, ranging from goofy to nazi characters. By 2010, the old water tower was the last remaining building; Now even that has gone and the new development has already begun.