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Lancing,(Sompting ) WW1 P.O.W. Camp. East Preston P.O.W Camp,

  • Lancing / Sompting P.O.W. Camp.

  • Double Click photos to enlarge.

Post code area, BN15. Double click photo to enlarge.  All 3 camps would have been work camps, one camp was most probably an interment camp , they may have been tented camps. No,s not known, but around 50 is the usual no.  All low risk prisoners, the conditions within the interment camp would have been poor by all accounts.

The location of the Lancing Camp is the area of Rectory Farm Road, Dankton Gardens, Dankton Lane, Millfield Road.

         Double click photo map too see details.

Great photo found, of the quarry beside the camp in Sompting.

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German P .O. Ws working near the Lancing Camp. By kink permission of Phillip Fry collection

German P .O. Ws working near the Lancing Camp.
By kink permission of Phillip Fry collection


Lancing January 1917.

Soldiers and Sea defences.

The East Lancing sea defences committee at a meeting in Shoreham, were told that soldiers that were to be employed on sea defence work were no longer available.

Some forty barrows and seventy shovels had been purchased for this work; the committee was told that the soldiers were required for the War effort elsewhere.

But prisoners of war where available for this work, the committee would look into this proposal.

Sea Defence Work, Lancing reported February 27th 1918.

When the East Lancing sea defence commissioners met last week, it was reported that the works committee, had considered a suggestion made by lord Leconfield, the Chairman that German Prisoners should be obtained for the reported work that needs to be undertaken on the sea defences on the beach, instructed the clerk to get twenty or so prisoners if possible. (Lancing Camp.).

This interesting note found in a 1930s local newspaper is of interest.

Worthing Gazette, 5th March 1930.

The mystery surrounding some human bones, which were found in a gravel pit at Sompting ( Upper Cokeham ) on Friday, was not cleared up yesterday, when the West Sussex Coroner (Mr. F. W. Butler) held an inquest upon them at Worthing Fire Station.

Evidence was given by Police-constable Abbott, that the bones were found by a man named Dunk about two feet under the ground.  The police had made extensive inquiries in the district, but could not form any conclusion as to how the bones came to be there.  A German prisoner’s internment camp was in a meadow adjoining the pit in 1917 and 1918, but Police records showed no prisoners as having escaped from this camp, and two who escaped from a similar camp near by were recaptured.  They could not ascertain that any prisoner had died and been buried there, and no person had been missing and unaccounted for in the neighbourhood for the last 40 years, one man who disappeared having been found a week later.  There was no information available as to how the remains came to be buried.

Dr. W. O. Pitt, who examined the bones, said they were the remains of two human beings, probably a man and a woman.  Their state showed that they could not have been buried for more than ten years, because had they been ancient bones they would have been well preserved or would have crumbled on being handled; actually, they only partly crumbled.  One of the jawbones had been fractured, and he believed it to be an old injury, which might have been caused by a blow.

Dr. Pitt added that it would be interesting to have the view of an expert like Sir Arthur Keith.

The Coroner said there was nothing to show the cause of death, or how the bones came to be buried, and made an order for burial.  This, it was stated, would probably take place in Sompting Churchyard.”

East Preston. P.O.W. Camp.

German prisoners were billeted in what is now Preston Hall in the Street, East Preston. At the time of WW1, it was still known as Preston Place. In those days the Angmering boundary extended over the railway line down to Worthing Road – just across the road from Preston Place. Quite probably the prisoners worked across the road at Preston Place Farm which was located in Angmering. We know that POWs there were extensively employed on local farms and nurseries, at one point there were some 160 prisoners,  POW’s were returned to Germany in October 1919.



  1. Simon Fothergill permalink

    Does anyone know who is in the picture marked ‘Offercers in Charge of Preston Camp’? I have this picture in an old family album and one of the men is a relative, but I have no name. Thanks.

  2. Alan permalink

    I’ve no idea who is in the photo, but there’s only one Officer, centre front. Next to him front left is possibly a Sergeant and a Corporal centre rear. Not a clear enough copy to be certain.

  3. Hello Simon, if you contact Rustington Museum we might be able to help you – call 01903 788478. We are open 10am-4pm Tuesdays to Saturday.

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