Record Details

NHER Number:51904
Type of record:Monument
Name:Area of World War One and Two practice trench digging and possible prisoner of war camp on Mousehold heath

Summary

An area of heathland to the east of a quarry on Mousehold heath is visible on aerial photographs in various stages of military use from 1917 to 1951. A large part of the site was covered by a tented camp in 1917, perhaps serving as a training camp, or as accommodation for Mousehold Aerodrome (NHER 12415). Intense slit trench digging activity is visible on aerial photographs from 1944. This is likely to represent military training activity, although it is clear from later photographs that the area became used as a possible prisoner of war camp from 1946 onwards.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TG 2502 1010
Map Sheet:TG21SE
Parish:NORWICH, NORWICH, NORFOLK

Full description

November 2008. Norfolk NMP.
An area of heathland to the east of a quarry on Mousehold heath, centred at TG 2499 1014, is visible on aerial photographs in various stages of military use from 1917 to 1951 (S1)-(S8).

Aerial photographs from 1917 (S1) demonstrate that a large part of the site was covered by a tented camp at this stage during World War One, with four rows of tents centred on TG 2491 1016, and a further row to the south east centred on TG 2501 1012 with four rows of nissen huts, at the northern end of the site, from TG 2480 1019 to TG 2500 1035, presumably to serve Mousehold Aerodrome (NHER 12415). This has been mapped as an extent of area. An area of disturbed ground is also visible, centred on TG 2513 1007, and may relate to the digging of practice trenches in this area. The site appears to have fallen out of use for a time, and is visible on aerial photographs as an area of clear, open ground in the early part of 1942 (S2).

Intense slit trench digging activity is visible on aerial photographs from 1944-5 (S3)-(S4), centred at TG 2506 1013. This is likely to represent military training activity, and may have been associated with training which seems to have occurred at the anti-aircraft battery site to the east (NHER 12415), although it is clear from later photographs that the area became used as a possible prisoner of war camp by 1946.

The main body of the camp is visible by February 1946 (S5), comprising at least 21 Nissen huts of varying lengths and several ancillary buildings, centred on TG2506 1015. By the following month five rows of tents are visible to the north (S6), centred on TG 2504 1023 as temporary accommodation, for what later becomes an expanded camp (S7) with three rows of (at least a further 24) Nissen huts centred on TG 2504 1023 with pitched roofs, and the camp master’s house visible to the south at TG 2510 1019. Each of these changes has been mapped as a separate extent of area within the site.

Some of the structures related to the camp are still visible on later photographs (S8), but the site had been converted to sports fields by 1988 (S9).

Each PoW camp was given an official number (1-1026) and a discussion of these listed sites is provided in an English Heritage gazetteer (S10). The official list was by no means exhaustive or entirely accurate, and it lists the Mousehold Heath Camp (no. 253) as being a German Working Camp, sited at TG 245 105, approximately 700m to the northwest of this site. However, the report does state that the resolution of the Getmapping coverage (the website from which the sites were identified) was “not always sufficently good to positively identify known urban sites such as Camp 253 (Mousehold Heath, Norwich)” (S10).
E. Bales (NMP), 7 November 2008.

Monument Types

  • MILITARY CAMP (World War One - 1914 AD to 1918 AD)
  • MILITARY TRAINING SITE? (World War One - 1914 AD to 1918 AD)
  • PRACTICE TRENCH (World War One - 1914 AD to 1918 AD)
  • SLIT TRENCH? (World War One - 1914 AD to 1918 AD)
  • MILITARY CAMP (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • MILITARY TRAINING SITE (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • PRACTICE TRENCH (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • SLIT TRENCH (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • MILITARY CAMP (Cold War - 1946 AD to 1951 AD)
  • PRISONER OF WAR CAMP (Cold War - 1946 AD to 1951 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

<S1>Vertical Aerial Photograph: Royal Flying Corps. 1917. RFC 029 05-MAY-1917 (NAPL).
<S2>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1942. RAF HLA/447 (FP) 22-23 30-APR-1942 (NMR).
<S3>Vertical Aerial Photograph: USAF. 1944. US/7GR/LOC348 2195 27-MAY-1944 (NMR).
<S4>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1945. RAF 106G/UK/776 6134-5 07-SEP-1945 (NMR).
<S5>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 3G/TUD/UK/70 5029-30 28-FEB-1946 (NMR).
<S6>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 106G/UK/1254 6062 20-MAR-1946 (NMR).
<S7>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1947. RAF CPE/UK/2019 5134-5 18-APR-1947 (NMR).
<S8>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1951. RAF 58/767 (Vp1) 5088 29-JUL-1951 (NMR).
<S9>Vertical Aerial Photograph: BKS. 1988. BKS 9855 06-AUG-1988 (NCC 1433).
<S10>Publication: Thomas, R. (EH). 2003. Prisoner of War Camps (1939-1948).

Related records

12415Related to: Site of Mousehold Heath Aerodrome and World War Two heavy anti-aircraft battery (Monument)
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