FILE 1: How it all began

(oOOo) The picture above may go some way to conjoure up the scene as it may have appeared in the Edwardian era before the site of Tweedsmuir Camp was acquired by the Ministry of Defence in 1922.

According to local legend, before Tweedsmuir Camp was constructed about six hundred metres north of Thursley village in Surrey, England, the land upon which it was built belonged to the Dye House estate. A local man who lives in Thursley village claims he has a photograph of women dressed in Edwardian clothes strolling through the grounds of the estate. One of the women in the said photograph is seen walking a dog while holding an open parasol to protect her from the heat of the sun. Regrettably he could not be persuaded to part with a copy of the image (see the citation of the photograph to the right oOOo).

The site was purchased by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in 1922 and turned into a tented rest and recreational facility for the British Army. Thus it remained until the start of the Second World War.

Much has been written about the camp as a military training facility. Exciting as this may sound it is certainly not true. Tweedsmuir Camp was an administrative Canadian Army transit depot central to the repatriation of Canadian soldiers who were medically or psychology unfit. When the United States of America entered the Second World War in late 1941, the Canadian Army administrators at Tweedsmuir Camp also became responsible for transferring hundreds of American soldiers from the Canadian Army to the American Army. The Americans joined the Canadian Army in 1939 to travel and see the world.

Today the site of Tweedsmuir Camp is often referred to by local people as 'Pole camp' or the 'Polish camp' because immediately after the last Canadian soldier left the camp on 21 February 1947, it became extra capacity accommodation for a small number of administrators from the Polish Army who had enlisted in the Polish Resettlement Corps (PRC). They were part of a larger group of Polish Army personnel responsible for demobilising at Witley Camp Polish soldiers who were under British operational command during the Second World War. Like 114,037 of their compatriots, they had enlisted in the PRC because they feared returning to communist Poland. But that is for the next file.