German Prisoner of War Camp


Searching through the Archives of the Suffolk Free Press,
I came across these reports of German Prisoners of War in our area

The top three press cuttings refer to a POW Camp in the village during WW1

POW`s were housed in the Tannery, the "Jump" was the river crossing bridge in the centre of the village.

The Tannery had various uses; in the 1914-1918 war German prisoners of war used the drying shed as a dormitory, their names remaining until 1985 on small white cards above the places where their beds had been.

Bures Old Tannery still survives, a medieval timber framed dwelling of charm and atmosphere; the old drying shed, more recently the garage, and barn, are no more.
On their site is the new dwelling house named Bridge House.



In 1946, the year after the end of World War Two, more than 400,000 German prisoners of war (POWs) were still being held in Britain, with POW camps on the outskirts of most towns. Clement Attlee's post-war government deliberately ignored the Geneva Convention by refusing to let the Germans return home until well after the war was over.

During 1946, up to one fifth of all farm work in Britain was being done by German POWs, and they were also employed on road works and building sites. Fraternisation between the soldiers and the local population was strictly forbidden by the British government, and repatriation progressed extremely slowly. Then the ban on fraternisation was finally lifted - just in time for Christmas 1946. In towns across Britain, many people chose to put the war behind them and invite German POWs to join them for a family Christmas - the first the men had experienced in years.


Carl Volker
Born 2 August 1879
Taken Prisoner of War at Noyelles, France 28 September 1918
Died in Bures 17 June 1919 and buried in plot 47 of Bures Cemetery
Re-buried on 21 November 1962 in the German Military Cemetery,
Cannock Chase, Block 17, Row 18, Grave 427

The only German prisoner from WWI to be interred in Bures Cemetery according to The German War Graves Commission was Lance-Corporal Carl Volker.
Carl Volker was born in Liebenstein in the Germain State of Thuringia on the 2nd August 1879, and was a tailor by profession.
The German War Graves Commission states that Lance-Corporal Volker was a soldier serving with the 3rd Royal Prussian Infantry Regiment based inHanover. He was captured shortly before the end of the war in Noyelles, France on the 28th of September, 1918 and subsequently brought to England.
In the immediate aftermath of the war Lance-Corporal Carl Volker was originally posted as "missing" in the German War Losses Register.
However, although he was registered with the huge POW camp in Pattishall, Northamptonshire, Carl Volker was interned in Bures, probably in the Prisoner of War camp installed in the drying shed of the Tannery located by the bridge, generally known those days as "the jump" and where Bridge House stands today.

The German Prisoners of WWI remained in England for some time tohelp on the land before being repatriated, and those in Bures were noexception. It is a fact that the gardens at Great Bevills on the Sudbury
Road were created with the help of these prisoners.
Unfortunately, Lance-Corporal Carl Volker was drowned on the 17th of June 1919 while taking part in a bathing parade at "the jump", he was 39 years old.

Carl Volker left a widow, Emma, still living in a flat in Hanover in 1929.
However, there do not seem to have been any children of this marriage and according to the German War Graves Commission, to whom we owe many thanks for helping us to fill out our picture of WWI POW Lance- Corporal Carl Volker, all attempts at finding further relations have failed


Courtesy of Ian Gibbs
Military Historian