Historical Background – The Prisoner of War Camp
After D-Day and the Allied advance through France, many German soldiers were captured as prisoners of war. Some of these prisoners, over 1,500 of them, found their way to Island Farm and Prisoner of War Camp 198, as it was then renamed. This plan shows the facilities at the camp, which included a concert hall, a coffee shop and a football pitch. You will also notice two escape tunnels indicated on the plan. More of them later.
As the months rolled on, the German prisoners of war at Island Farm planned their escape. They shared their knowledge and gathered intelligence to draw this fairly accurate map, on soldier Karl Ludwig’s handkerchief.
The German prisoners of war dug two tunnels at Island Farm. The first tunnel was discovered, but the second tunnel, dug from Hut Nine, pictured, offered the prospect of freedom.
While the German prisoners of war dug their tunnel from Island Farm Hut Nine, they sought to distract their guards. These drawings, of ‘Erika’ and ‘Cora’ worked because by March 1945 the tunnel was ready and the escape could commence.