Researchers have conducted an exciting historical discovery at the site of a new road layout in Oswestry.
While excavating the site of Mile End’s new dual roundabout, archaeologists discovered traces of a POW camp that housed roughly 2,000 German prisoners during and after WWII.
The discoveries, including a loaded German pistol and a lead toy camel, have clarified “comfortable” conditions at the camp and provided a glimpse into the daily lives of the prisoners.
Wessex Archaeology unearthed a range of building evidence on behalf of Shropshire Council and WSP, revealing a wide camp made up of scattered barracks on a vast sports field surrounded by agricultural land.
The dates of the accompanying artifacts and documentary evidence show that the camp was in use from 1940 to 1948, some years after the end of the war in 1945.
“The study of these remains enables us to understand what life would have been like for internees and prison guards,” said John Winfer, project manager at Wessex Archaeology. “What we’ve discovered revealed that they had pleasant conditions.”
A spent.303 cartridge indicates that a rifle was fired at the site at some point. The discovery of a loaded German pistol near one of the buildings – considered a Sauer 38H pistol, a German Second World War pistol regularly issued within the Wehrmacht – adds to the mystery.
Through the artifacts found, researchers understand more personal insights into the lives and stories of those who lived at the camp. A lead alloy toy camel and a make-up tin provide a look into domestic life, while Brylcreem and San Izal disinfectant containers retrieved demonstrate self-care and cleanliness in the camp.
Archaeologists are very enthusiastic about one item: a German soldier’s aluminum metal identification tag, which includes a serial number that they intend to use to track down the individual and their story.