Stobs Camp Graveyard

During its many years of service as a Prisoner of War camp, and internment facility for foreign-civilians (or ‘aliens’), there arose a small cemetery within the grounds of Stobs Military Camp. In the shade of a small coppice, a set of moss-covered and long-overgrown steps lead up to a mound of rubble, all that now remains of a once-well-kept graveyard and memorial stone, dedicated to the German lives lost at Stobs Camp. The names of those buried there were recorded on the stone, along with an inscription: ‘To our comrades who died far away from their country’. The memorial was erected using stones carried up from the Slitrig by one Mr. Oliver, the farmer at Winningtonrig. In the years following World War I, local Mrs Borthwick recalled the habit one German man made of visiting his son’s grave every year, until his own death.

Some thirty-six POWs, and six civilian ‘aliens’ died whilst interred at the camp over the course of the two world wars, and thus were buried in its cemetery. Their graves were tended to by locals until 1962, when an agreement was made between the UK and German governments to move all non-Commonwealth German war-graves to a central location, the newly-established cemetery at Cannock Chase, Staffordshire. And so, in 1962, the cemetery at Stobs was cleared of bodies. The fate of the gravestones and memorial at Stobs remains unknown, though it is possible that they were buried in place of the soldiers, when the graves were emptied. There now exists the Stobs Project, an organisation chronicling the history of the camp, who hope to be able to investigate the cemetery-site in future.