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World War II POW Camp Excavated in England

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

England German PistolSHROPSHIRE, ENGLAND—The Shropshire Star reports that excavation of a World War II–era prisoner of war camp in England’s West Midlands has unearthed a loaded German pistol, a spent .303 cartridge, and beer bottles from the Border Breweries in Wrexham, which is located in northeastern Wales. The site, where some 2,000 German prisoners of war were held between 1940 and 1948, is being investigated ahead of a road construction project. “What we have revealed is surprising evidence of some (relatively speaking) comfortable conditions for the inmates,” said archaeologist John Winfer of Wessex Archaeology. Records of a Red Cross visit to the camp noted that the prisoners had access to sports fields, musical performances, electric lights and heat, showers, wash basins, and enough toilets to accommodate everyone. Personal objects recovered at the site include bottles for personal hygiene and cleaning products, toothbrushes, a toy camel made of a lead alloy, wings from a German uniform, and a soldier’s aluminum identification tag. “In this case, it tells us that the German POW in question belonged to the 3rd Company, Landesschützen Battalion XI/I marking the capture of this prisoner early in the war, September 1939 to 1940,” Winfer said. The serial number on the tag should reveal more information about this soldier, he added. For more on the archaeology of World War II, go to "Letter from Normandy: The Legacy of the Longest Day."

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