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Lewes P.O.W. Uckfield, P.O.W. Peasmarsh P.O.W. Northiam P.O.W.

The timber being cut was for the useLewes German Prison Camp 1917-1919.

The former Royal Navy prison in North Street, was used in World War One as a German prison camp.. The site is now occupied by the new Lewes Police Station, NHS premises called Springman House, the Ambulance service & a public car park. Photo shows all that is now left of the prison.

It was originally constructed in the 18th century as a county prison, but acquired by the military when the present Lewes Gaol was built to replace it in 1853. There were two main naval prisons, the other at Bodmin, the Bodmin prison was taken over to house PoWs in WWI.

The prison was demolished in the 1960s. The foundations of some of the cells came to light just last year in archaeological studies carried out in advance of the construction of the new police station.

Northiam Prison Camp 1917-1919.

During the First World War milk churns were brought by rail to Northiam station, a hand bell being rung from the signal box to warn of the approach of a train. The trains also carried German Prisoners of War to the village for forestry work in the area around Plashett Wood; at the end of the day, the prisoners were marched back to the station where a train would take them back to their camp.The camp in question may have been Uckfield,but according to the National Archives at Kew, a camp is mentioned in Northiam itself. Details about this camp are scare at present, more research may review more

Photo kind permission of Tom Burnham ,Kent and East Sussex Railway Trust.

The wood being cut was used as pit props, and trench supports in France at the front lines.

A narrow gauge simple railway was used to transport the timber to the station.

Nothing of this survives.

One Comment
  1. Mike permalink

    I am interested to learn that there were POW Camps at Northiam and Peasmarsh and I wondered if you had any more information about them and could tell me the source of your information.

    Somewhere I have an old photograph which my late dad had which shows some men posing in front of a War Department threshing machine or combine harvester with some soldiers and have often wondered if the photo had been taken somewhere in Sussex showing German POWs gathering in the harvest under the supervision of their Army guards.


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