WW2 relics at Stainton Grove Military Camp, Barnard Castle, DL12 8UJ, UK

People who were here - Ray Smith

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The first occupants
Regiments
1946 aerial photograph of Stainton and Blackbeck Camps
A post war plan of Stainton Camp
Military Heritage Trail
Stainton Grove - The Military Camp
Barnard Castle - A Military Town
Royal Armoured Corps - From Stainton Grove to El Alamein
Life on the Home Front
Stainton Grove Military Camp - After the War
Gilbert Knott - 1946 Photographs
People who were here - Ray Smith
People who were here - Brian Nimick
People who were here - Walter Cowans and family
People who were here - Mike Rolls and family
First four civilian families 1979
People who were here - Eddie Connelly
People who were here - Martin McKechnie
People who were here - Len Rogers
People who were here - Mrs Deasey
People who were here - Neil Turner
People who were here - Mike Linden
People who were here - Edward George Howard
People who were here - Joan Leslie
People who were here - Josef Dagner
People who were here - Alan Armstrong
People who were here - Fred Burgess
People who were here - Ray Turner
People who were at Barford - Frank Barry
People who were at Barford - George Yalden
People who were at Barford - Barrie Corkill
People who were at Streatlam - George Carpenter and John Smailes
People who were at Streatlam - Terry Rourke-
People who were at Streatlam - Eddie Wolfenden
People who were at Streatlam - Ken Keld
People who were at Streatlam - Tom Waller
People who were at Streatlam - Stan Sudron
People who were in the area - A. Leslie Palmer
People who were in the area - Tomas Morgan
People who were in the area - Nigel Fletcher
Local Memories - Margaret Teward
St. Mary's R.C. School
Tank Tracks
The Gatehouse
Romney / Nissen Huts
Huts
More Huts
Even More Huts
Southern Edge
The Green
The NAAFI
The Aliwal Cinema
Blackbeck POW Camp
Warcop Camp
Launch Event 3rd November 2007
Celebration Event 1st November 2008
Celebration Event - photos
Celebration Event - wartime recipes
Pride in our Landscape project
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Dear Ms O'Hara, 

I am now 80 years old and was an 18 year old national serviceman in the winter of 1946/7 at Stainton Camp. As you probably are aware, that was one of the worst winters in living memory, made worse by a national coal shortage. Most Army units had been sent home on indefinite leave by February '47 as there was no fuel to keep the sleeping huts warm. Stainton was kept open because we youngsters were being deployed to dig out the roads and keep the trains moving. There was no fuel anywhere in the camp - except for the cookhouse and the Church Army Hut. Fire buckets froze solid overnight and our wet denims were stiff with ice in the morning.

I was detailed, just once, to guard the local P.O.W. camp. This was a four hour night shift and I was unarmed, but issued with a long wooden stick as my symbol of authority. After I had been left standing, frozen, at the gate for half an hour a German came out of a hut, and sympathising with me, invited me in to warm up. To my great surprise he had a key to the gate and I gratefully followed him to stand in front of a roasting stove. The irony was that it was mandatory that the POWs, under the Geneva Convention, be kept warm in captivity. We squaddies had to tough it out! Like a number of others, I eventually succumbed to the cold and wound up in Catterick Hospital with pneumonia.  The happy ending was to be posted from the hospital to the RAC Gunnery School at Lulworth Cove in Dorset, to convalesce through a divine summer by the sea.

Yours, 

Ray Smith

click here for more about Blackbeck POW Camp

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Dear Eileen

Thanks for your interest and speedy reply. As you seem interested I will tell you how I got to Catterick Hospital. Because of poor nourishment, no heating, and the freezing temperatures, lots of troopers became ill. In those days, if one did feel ill, it meant attending a sick parade at 7 a.m. on the Barrack Square. (It was supposed to weed out the malingerers). One was then marched to the M.I. room - an uphill distance of about a quarter of a mile - and waited for the Medical Officer to arrive. This, I did, and the last thing I can remember is someone shouting Ambulance!

I woke up in bed in the hospital, warm and cosy, which was one of the most glorious feelings of my young life...

Out of interest, one of the other N/S youngsters in the camp was the son of General Montgomery - so the old boy evidently believed in making sure his son suffered along with the plebs.

Of course it's OK to use this material as you think fit

 

Ray

 

P.S. I didn't even know until now that the camp where I did guard duty was Blackbeck!!

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

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Dear Eileen

Fascinating stuff and you have my imprimatur. I was interested to see the reference to Broomielaw (did I get the spelling right?) Station. On Christmas Eve, 1946, a special train was organised to depart from there, taking us soldiers home on leave. The weather was absolutely atrocious, points were frozen, and at one stage, South of Sheffield, the train was unable to get up a steep gradient because of ice on the lines and another engine had to be found.  My home was in Bristol. I got as far as Gloucester on Christmas morning, to be told that I could either walk home the remaining 30 miles to Bristol or catch the next train, which delivered me to Bristol on Boxing Day!

 Two names I remember from those days, both of whose homes were, I think were fairly local, were Sgt Barham, our squad sergeant, and Corporal Woods, our squad corporal. I wonder if they're still alive. By the way, did anyone ever dig up any of those tanks that were reputed to have sunk in the moors? 

Best wishes

Ray

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Our heritage is who we are today; we are the only ones who can protect it.

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The Memories of Stainton Grove Military Camp Project was one of a number of community-led projects along and nearby the route of the proposed South West Durham Heritage Corridor. 

 

The South West Durham Heritage Corridor will be a multi-user route along the former Bishop Auckland to Barnard Castle railway line. 

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Share your memories with us!  We want to make a record of life here before it is too late.  Please get in touch.  All your memories are important to us.

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The Memories of Stainton Grove Military Camp Project is being led by Stainton Grove Community Association and coordinated by Groundwork West Durham and Darlington. It is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund through the 'Your Heritage' grant programme.

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