MHG37682 - Site of Prisoner of War Camp, Watten


No summary available.

Type and Period (2)

  • PRISONER OF WAR CAMP (In use, Second World War to 20th Century - 1945 AD to 1948 AD)
  • MILITARY BASE (In use, Second World War - 1943 AD to 1945 AD)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Created automatically by NMRS Register Utility
User: Admin, Date: Wed 13 Oct 2004
ND25SW 78 centred 2385 5450

A Prisoner-of-war camp has been identified from post-war RAF vertical air photographs (106G/Scot/UK 70, 4050-1, flown 9 May 1946) at Watten village on the S side of the main road, immediately NW of the junction of the A882 and the B 870. Clearly visible is the double line of fencing surrounding the prison compound with the rows of Nissen huts inside and the huts for staff and guards ranged outside.
The site has since been cleared and is now occupied by modern housing in streets comprising Bain Place and Achingale Place, with a playing field approximately on the site of the football pitch within the camp.
Information from RCAHMS (DE), November 2001

"This is the site of Britain’s most secretive prisoner of war camp, the temporary address of top Nazis.
The camp opened in 1943 as a base for local military operations and then for Polish troops. The first prisoners of war arrived in 1945.
Two years later 2800 men lived in the huts whose corrugated iron roofs and concrete floors made them stuffy in summer and freezing in winter. The men were well treated despite complaints about the food. Easily spotted in the flat farmland, the few escapees were soon defeated by hunger and weather.
The men who posed no threat worked and sometimes lived on local farms. Hard-line Nazis were kept within the camp fence. They included Otto Baum, one of the Third Reich’s most decorated soldiers; Paul Schroder who helped develop the V2 rocket; 40 U-boat captains including ace Otto Kretschmer; Max Wunsche, Hitler’s one-time personal assistant and concentration camp commandant, Paul Hoppe.
People soon made friends with the handsome, blond strangers. They enjoyed concerts and plays in the camp put on by the prisoners, some of whom attended the local church.
Camp 165 closed in March 1948. Most men were free to return to their homeland while some were tried for war crimes. One or more stayed on to marry local girls.
The huts were demolished although a few foundations remain. Gardeners still unearth broken bottles, pottery and barbed wire, the last reminders, other than memories, of this extraordinary incident." Main text from Interpretation Panel due to be placed at the site of the POW camp. <1>

More information available on the Secret Scotland website. <2>

Sources/Archives (2)



Grid reference Centred ND 23849 54500 (100m by 100m) (2 map features)
Map sheet ND25SW
Civil Parish WATTEN
Geographical Area CAITHNESS

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (2)

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.