Looking for 'The Arches' Felden / Polish Radio Intelligence Company

Discussion in 'Top Secret' started by Malcolm56, Jan 29, 2020.

  1. Malcolm56

    Malcolm56 Active Member

    I have had an email about the location of 'Camp 235'.

    From previous messages above - Clive found the location of 'The Arches / Widgeons' with the blue plaque in Streethanger Lane, Felden, NGR TL 0426 0546. This location is a large house. The War Establishment number and rank of the commandant shows that this was a fairly large camp – and this site would not have been large enough for such a camp. I therefore believe that this house may have been used as the HQ / postal address for Camp 235, with the actual pow camp located nearby.

    NEW INFO - Chris Whittle, a volunteer for the Box Moor Trust, has informed me that the camp was actually located at Howe’s Retreat Farm, (also shown on the attached map). The only remains are a large concrete area by the side of one barn, with a chamber below. On Google Earth the site of the chamber can be see to the north of one barn, at present there is an old trailer on top of it. The farm is located at NGR TL 039 050. (
    The Estate - The Box Moor Trust )

    Best wishes - Malcolm
    CL1 likes this.
  2. Capt.Sensible

    Capt.Sensible Well-Known Member


    A quick search on 'Britain from Above' using the NGR TL 039 050 brings up three oblique aerial photos dated July 1949. Photo ref. EAW024923 shows Feldon Lodge in the foreground, with the farmhouse beyond. North-east of the farmhouse is what appears to be two possibly three rows of Nissen huts. The photo appears to be orientated with north to the left-ish, so that the camera is pointing NNE.I haven't downloaded the detailed copy of the photo but somebody might wish to.

    Britain From Above

    Last edited: Nov 8, 2021
    davidbfpo, Malcolm56 and CL1 like this.
  3. Malcolm56

    Malcolm56 Active Member

    Well done CS!

    I can align the 1949 pic with the modern aerial pic and it shows that the location at Howe's Retreat is (was) correct.

    - Malcolm
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  4. Seeking information on a German POW, Walter Reeh, who was likely held at Camp 235, The Arches, Felden, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. A photo of a group of 13 prisoners, including Walter (seated front row second from left), taken 5 May 1946, with a placard at their feet that has the date, a large number “2” and the initials “OL.” The photo postcard was sent to Walter’s brother, Reverend A.E. Reeh, First Baptist Church, LaSalle, Colorado, via Prisoner of War Post, or Kriegsgefangenen Post. A stamp on the back of the postcard reads: “German P.O.W. (W) Camp 235 Gt. Britain.” Reeh, Walter, POW Group, Great Britain_small.jpg
    Reeh, Walter, POW Group, Great Britain (back)[541] (1).jpg
  5. I'm wondering if the structure behind the group of POWs might still be standing, and could provide a clue to where the photo was taken.
  6. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Hello John
    In that part of the world there are quite a few buildings of that ilk.
    When I am next in that area I shall have a drive around to see if I can get a match

    papiermache likes this.
  7. Thank you, Clive.
  8. Osborne2

    Osborne2 Well-Known Member

    The clothing of some of this group looks distinctively American (eg.back row, second left). I think that the 'Americans' are newly arrived in the UK. They started coming in about Feb 46 and were all here by August 46. Perhaps a photo of men that were together in the US and remained together on arrival. Quite often after arriving in the UK as a group they all went to an initial transit camp usually in the north west of England, before being sent on to replace Italians and Austrians who were going back to their homelands. They were not mixed in camps and hostels but either took over separate compounds in main camps where there were still other nationalities or hostels that had just been vacated by the previous occupants.
  9. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

  10. Thanks for responding to my post. When you mention 'Americans' in the photo, do you mean they are German POWs who had once been in American hands? Or do you think they are actually American military personnel? Recently received documents from the International Committee of the Red Cross indicate that Walter Reeh was captured in Domfront, France, by American forces on 8 August 1944, and was transferred to British hands, arriving in POW camp number 17 on 18 October 1944, according to a form dated 28 October 1944.
  11. Found this quote, "Prisoners wore old uniforms with black patches sewn on the legs and backs – allegedly, morbidly, to be used as targets should a prisoner try to flee..." at The Irish Times, The untold story of Britain’s POW camps. Notice the dark diamond-shaped patch on the pantleg of the man standing far left in the photo.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2022
  12. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    I am sure the patches were a cheap and quick way of making a POW stand out from crowd should they try to escape or make them more noticable.
  13. Osborne2

    Osborne2 Well-Known Member

    Patches. Possibly not black but red. I understand could be an effect of black and white film. Patches in trouser leg and back of jacket were of any available bright colour but whatever colour they were they look black or grey or pale grey in B&W. Patches were round or diamond shaped. There could have been other shapes. American PoW jackets just had that stamped on the back. No colour patches in US l believe. I can’t remember the date but later on prisoners did not have to wear ID patched uniforms in the UK.
    ‘Americans’ ‘Canadians’’Egyptians’ contemporary slang nicknames used by British Prisoner of War Department of the Foreign Office for the origins of prisoners arriving from abroad in 1946. Many Canadians discharged from POW a camps by the end of 1943 as it was first in (1939) first out for release when that started in autumn 46. Canada took most of early war prisoners on Britain’s behalf.
  14. Thanks! Very informative. Now I understand the reference to 'Americans.'
  15. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    A photo was here, except it was in the 2nd post, so removed. Tks to CL1.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2022
  16. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    David that is the link and detail the first post that started this thread off

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