ISLAND FARM
CAMP 198

The Americans weren't there long before they departed for the invasion and once again the camp was empty, but this time it wasn't for long. Soon large scores of German prisoners were being taken and accommodation needed to be found to house them. Island Farm was thought to be suitable and was given the name of Camp 198 and held almost 2,000 prisoners by the end of the war.

The camp though was far from being secure and if any of the prisoners had been escape minded they would have had little trouble. However, the early prisoners were mainly
"other ranks". These Germans were docile and little trouble and were soon set to work securing the camp; most of them glad that they were out of the front line and would at least be alive at the end of the war.

When the camp was secure, the war office decided that the camp was too comfortable for the
other ranks and soon the population changed. A large contingent of German officers arrived one evening in November 1944 with shouts of "Heil Hitler". Finding that there was no transport to take them the 2 miles to the camp and that they would have to carry their own luggage, they stubbornly refused to move. It was then that the Stationmaster arrived on the scene dressed in the uniform of a senior stationmaster, i.e. long coat, and gold braided peaked camp. It is believed that the German officers mistook him for a high ranking officer, perhaps even a general, because as soon he instructed them to move they picked up their luggage, formed up, and singing, they goose-stepped all the way to Island Farm.

 
The Vanquished. A seemingly endless column of German prisoners are marched under guard

 



Modern Day Aerial Photo.
(Click Photo to Enlarge)

 
Model Of Camp Which Is Now Kept In A Bridgend Reference Library

Life In The Camp
The noise from the camp was very loud and had a very disquieting affect on the people of Bridgend. The singing never seemed to cease and night after night the surrounding air would be filled with singing which seemed to be full of defiance and hate. The noise from the camp, even when there was no trouble, resembled that of a bad tempered football crowd. Violence against prisoners who held doubts about Hitler's final victory was commonplace and there was little the guards could do to prevent it.

Two navel officers were so severely beaten up that they were taken to Bridgend General hospital. When they were question as to the reason for their severe beating one of them said that they had refused to send Hitler a birthday card !

Many of the guards were shocked at the arrogance of the ardent Nazi prisoners who noisily protested their Geneva Convention rights. A group of prisoners accosted the Roman Catholic padre, who was also a prisoner, and told him that if he didn't surrender his church hut, so that it could be used as a gymnasium, that it would be taken by force. The priest informed the camp Commandant who posted guards to protect it but, because the threats continued against the padre, he was moved to another camp for his own safety.

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