The Work Camps

Once the policy of sending prisoners to work camps was established, prisoners from Stobs were sent to camps as far afield as Lentran (near Inverness), Raasay (an island to the east of Skye) and Grantham in England. The prisoners in these camps were encouraged to stay in touch with the Stobsiade and to describe their experiences. One gets the impression that the people who were moved did not feel entirely negative about leaving Stobs. The process of change after the monotony of life in the camp certainly seems to have brought some positive responses, and although the work was hard, morale does not seem to have suffered. Quite a large number of prisoners were sent to Dalmellington, and the account of their journey there 1 provides an interesting insight into how people responded to a change of location, as does the account of the journey to Grantham 2. Although people in these camps were expected to work for about eight hours a day, they still devoted their leisure time to similar activities as in Stobs. Musical and theatrical performances were organised, as were sporting activities, albeit on a smaller scale (see, for example the report from Lentran 3. The prisoners in Lentran and several other camps worked in forestry. An account from one such camp 4 describes its daily routine. Some of the camps such as Port Clarence 5 and Grantham were transferred to different main camps and ceased to be part of the Stobs organisation. Although it was in breach of the Geneva Convention, some of the work in the camps (such as Dalmellington and Raasay) contributed (or was intended to contribute) to the war effort. Approximately 900 prisoners in Kinlochleven 6 were involved in enhancing the water supply to the Blackwater Reservoir, which powered the aluminium factory in the valley below. Prisoners from the work camp in Glendevon, staffed by naval personnel, helped to build a dam 7. They felt very cut off from the world 8, unlike the prisoners in Boddam near Peterhead, where seeing local children reminded them of their families back home 9. The reports from the work camps indicate a positive attitude towards Sundays 10, 11, 12, although the report from Inverkeithing reflects the continuing frustration with being in captivity 13.