Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Eden Camp, England--Part I

During World War II, some of the German and Italian prisoners of war in Britain were kept at Eden Camp in North Yorkshire. The camp was used for POWs from 1939 to 1948 and was later converted into a large museum showing what life was like during the war. Each hut has a different theme or aspect of the war. There's a lot to see at the camp.

Buildings by the parking lot

A watch tower

First of many posters

The first item we saw on display was a Doodlebug/Buzz Bomb V1 rocket. They were fired from coastal sites across the Channel or from specially modified bombers. The gas engine gave the bombs their distinctive sound. Over 6700 were fired at England, a third of which targeted London.

V1 Rocket

Some of the huts show what life was like for children. One shows children riding a train from the city to the countryside. They did this to avoid the bombings.

Riding on a train

Receiving medical care

Part of life during the war was rationing. One panel quizzes visitors on how much each person was rationed each day. Later on we saw a sample of an adults ration for the week!

Food rationing quiz  (click to enlarge)

One egg per week!

Poster for a coffee substitute

One reason for rationing was the German U-boat blockade of the British Isles. German submarines sank ships on their way to Europe, especially England. Convoys were formed so that freighters would be protected by US and UK warships. Even so, over 2800 ships were sunk with 14.7 million tons of goods lost at sea, not to mention the lives lost.

Convoy routes

Mock-up of a German sub

The sleeping area

More of the sub

The sub's storage

In addition to rationing, civilians were active in the war effort in many ways--air wardens, fire brigades, the Red Cross, etc.

Various civilian jobs

Various gas masks used during bombings

YMCA canteen truck or "tea car"

Fire brigade in action

Mining during the war

Women flocked to the factories in the United Kingdom just as Rosie the Riveter did in America.

Stained-glass style poster

A factory mock up

Poster encouraging Red sisterhood

Not all women went to factories. Many went to farms as part of the Women's Land Army, helping to produce food locally. One less than glamorous job was rat-catching. Rats were estimated to number about 50 million in 1940, which is 5 million more than the human population. Rats ate grains and other foods harvested, so eliminating them meant more food for people. About 1000 of the Land Army women specialized in rat catching and roamed the countryside eliminating rodents.

Land Army rat catcher

Life wasn't all work and dodging bombs. Entertainment was still available even if the music itself had a war theme.

Music hall

Inside the hall

A popular tune back in the day

More from Eden Camp in the next post!

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