Keys to the Past

Prisoner of War Camp, Featherstone Park (Featherstone)

In the early 1940s, a training camp for American troops was built at Featherstone. They called it 'Death Valley' because of its isolated location, but the Americans soon made way for Italian prisoners of war and then German officers. Between 1945 and 1948 some 25,000 Germans were housed at Featherstone. There were many compounds surrounded by barbed wire and watch towers. The camp was highly regarded and was one of the six most successful rehabilitation camps in the country, known as the 'camp of confidence'. The regime was relaxed in 1945 when Lt Col Vickers became Commandant; the divisions, watch towers and barbed wire disappeared to be replaced by parole, voluntary labour outside the camp, workshops and political or cultural courses. The role of Captain Sulzbach, the camp interpreter from 1946, was important in the success of the camp to rehabilitate prisoners. He founded the Featherstone Park Group to foster Anglo-German friendship. Remains of the camp survive today as foundations and a scattering of brick buildings in the parkland.

Reference number:N6141
Historical period: Second World War (1939 to 1945)

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See also:
Source of Reference
Local History of Featherstone

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Please note that this information has been compiled from a number of different sources. Durham County Council and Northumberland County Council can accept no responsibility for any inaccuracy contained therein. If you wish to use/copy any of the images, please ensure that you read the Copyright information provided.