Prisoner of war camp
The site upon which the second world war prisoner of war camp once stood has recently been developed as a residential area, although some remains are likely to survive in places. Much of the site has been preserved by record (Swan and Scott 2005). Swan and Scott (2005) note that according to local informants there may have been some form of camp on the site during the First Word War, utilised by ANZAC forces, but this is not supported by any known evidence. It is possible that there was a link between the presence of the rifle ranges at this time.
Patterton Camp, or Camp 660 (named after the German working company based here) as it is recorded in the British camp listing, was created specifically for the accommodation of prisoners. It consisted of four separate sections: an open complex of structures to the south-east (possibly comprising the guard’s accommodation and administrative facilities) and an enclosure to the west. To the south of this stood another enclosure, set around a residential bungalow. Additional huts stood further to the south.
Aerial photographs of the PoW camp show a spacious camp, and Swan and Scott (2005) even record a possible parade square, ornamental planting and paving, and dressed stone retaining walls. The aerial photographs also suggest possible allotments and a football pitch. The spacious character of the camp is unusual, and it may be that it was initially a military accommodation camp, reordered to house the German Working Company later in the war. Before the German prisoners arrived, the camp was occupied by Italians, who generally required less security. Two Italian Working Companies were based at Patterton from May 1944 and possibly earlier, until May 1945, when they were removed to make the camp available for housing German prisoners. The Italian prisoners were given a degree of freedom as co-operators that would not have been afforded to the Germans. It is unclear what work the Germans carried out during their stay, but Swan and Scott (2005) suggest that they may have worked in some local industry such as the printworks, possibly at Thornliebank.
The German prisoners were re-educated at the camp and ultimately repatriated, and the camp was scheduled for disbandment in June 1947. Following this, the Polish Resettlement Corps inhabited the camp while they learned English and the ways of British life. They were free to apply for and take up employment, and after two years they were deemed to be assimilated into British society. The Polish were in residence until sometime in 1949, following which there is evidence that the camp was used to house post-war homeless families from Glasgow. The following entry was recovered during an internet search into the camp:
My family were homeless from 1948-51 in Glasgow (Thornliebank) as a child myself and my two brothers and my parents were boarded there during this period. The dates I am unsure of. The POWs had left by 1947-48 and I believe it was turned over to the corporation of Glasgow. I don't remember much about our stay there, or the precise time we were boarded. My Father a veteran of the second world war, was particularly critical of the cleanliness or lack thereof of the Camp. I caught a disease that necessitated my being shaved bald and being dabbed with purple medicine. We were sent to Portseaton from the Camp for a break upon recovery. Which was very nice. There was a railway line that led to the Camp. The line was there until the 1950s it was then dug up and removed. I dont remember anything else. I am sorry if your interest is solely for second world war purposes.
Frank Reilly Ontario, Canada.
Formerly of East Renfrewshire Scotland.
After this period, the history of the camp is rather murky, and it is unknown when the site was cleared.