A UNIQUE radio documentary highlighting the plight of German civilians who found themselves interned in camps across Britain and Ireland at the outbreak of World War One will be aired this weekend.
Viewed with suspicion and fear that they might be sympathetic to the German war effort hundreds of ‘everyday Germans’ became Prisoners of War in Irish and British camps, according to the documentary which airs on Tipp FM on Sunday.
The piece, entitled 'Turnhalle Barracks –German Prisoners of War in Templemore ', outlines the experiences of at least 300 ordinary German civilians who were interned in Richmond Barracks, in Templemore Co. Tipperary – now in use as the Ireland Police Training College – when the war broke out in August 1914.
The programme details how, as the war progressed and enemy soldiers began to be captured on a larger scale, the British Government transferred the civilian internees to a camp in Oldcastle, Co. Meath, before moving them across the water to a centre set up in a disused mill in the town of Leigh in Greater Manchester.
A Tipp FM spokesperson explained: “The programme will examine who exactly these men detained in Ireland and England were, where they were captured, life in confinement, deaths of inmates within the three camps and the reason as to why in the finish all of the POWs and civilian internees were transported over to Leigh as well as other camps in the UK.”
They add: “Local reaction to these foreign visitors back then will be explored as will the political climate both in Ireland and abroad during this period.”
While little evidence remains of those who were predominately of German origin that were imprisoned and interned in Ireland and Leigh during WW1, Sergeant John Reynolds, from the Police Training College in Templemore, is keen for anyone with photos, memorabilia or stories on the subject to contact him, as the college plan to commemorate the centenary of their arrival next year.
Sgt Reynolds can be contacted on [email protected].
Turnhalle Barracks – German Prisoners of War in Templemore will be broadcast on Tipp FM radio in Ireland on Sunday, July 21 at 6pm. It can be heard in Britain on www.tippfm.com or as a podcast.