German POW returns to Cameron
Towards the end of the Second World War in the early 1940s a quiet corner of rural Fife, close to St Andrews, became the location of a small prisoner of war camp. Today, little remains of the installation apart from a disused brick water tower and a few derelict accommodation huts. During the course of the conflict, the camp housed German and Italian prisoners and, for several years after the end of the war, was used as accommodation for displaced persons from many parts of Europe. Men living in the camp mainly carried out agricultural work on farms in the area.
More than four decades after the closure of the facility, a former German prisoner of war visited the area and made contact with people in the locality. He subsequently wrote warmly to thank a member of the local community who helped him find the then disused camp location. The former prisoner also sent a remarkable sketch of the camp, drawn from memory after his return to Germany in 1949, which provides an interesting historical record. The German visitor had spent some time there immediately after the war, when the facility – then termed Lathockar Hostel – housed displaced persons and others awaiting return to their homeland.
The ruined remnants of the camp are now inaccessible to the public and are not visible from the road. However, a pause at nearby Johnny Paul’s Corner on the A915 road from St Andrews to Kirkcaldy, at grid reference 56°17’18”N 2°49’47”W, will help capture the spirit of the camp’s location. The corner is named in memory of the owner of a joinery workshop, once prominent at the roadside, who helped the former German prisoner of war find the remains of his one-time home in Fife.
Image of water tower and derelict camp courtesy Gordon Ball Camp illustration drawn by Rudolf Kramer courtesy Iain Paul