The site of Richmond Camp as it was first called was suggested by Robert Baden Powell while he was based at Richmond Castle as Inspector-General of Cavalry. The name quickly changed to Catterick Camp in order to avoid confusion with Richmond in Surrey. The Camp’s first troops occupied the area for training in 1915. Major-General Michael Frederick Rimington was the officer in charge.
In 1915 the decision was made to expand the training camp. A new prisoner of war camp was established and eventually 5000 German prisoners of war were housed there. Initially German PoWs were not permitted to work and boredom became a major problem. The prisoners played sports and even set up an orchestra (with instruments they made themselves) to fill their time. A change of government policy meant that prisoners could be allowed out of the camp to work as labourers. As a result they were employed in constructing the road leading out of Richmond Station, via St. Martins and on to Catterick Camp (Rimington Road).
Catterick Prisoner of War Camp became the administrative headquarters for all ‘working camps’ in the area.
By the end of the war 89,937 prisoners who had served with the German army were interned in camps across the United Kingdom.
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Canon John Purvis OBE (1890-1968) Canon John Purvis was an extremely talented artist and photographer. He is best remembered however for his historical and literary achievements. His translation of the original York Mystery Plays into modern English were central to their revival during the Festival of Britain in 1951. This work, along with his initiation of the Borthwick Institute for Archives in York, lead to his OBE in 1958. Purvis was born in Bridlington 1890. After studying at Cambridge University he worked at Cranleigh School as a history teacher, a role to which he would return after the First World War. He enlisted with the Yorkshire Regiment, serving with the 5th Battalion from early 1916. Purvis was wounded during the Battle of the Somme on the first occasion he went ‘over the top’. On that day, 15th September 1916, he had recorded history’s first tank attack in pen and ink in the early light of dawn. Two well known war poems, ‘High Wood’ and ‘Chance Memory’, originally published under the pseudonym Philip Johns(t)one are now known to have been written by Purvis.
Submitted by Jennifer Bullen daughter in law of Lieutenant Bullen. Tempest Carey Bullen was born on the 28th of May 1898 in North Shields. He is listed in the 1901 census along with his father Tempest Carey, his mother Edith, brothers William and Harry and sisters Edith Anna and Kathleen. His father’s occupation is listed as “ship broker”. The family were living in the Percy ward of Tynemouth and must have been comfortably off because they had a servant called Ada George and a nursery maid called Elizabeth Knox. By 1911 the family had moved to Woodbine Avenue in Gosforth. In the census Tempest’s mother Edith is listed as head of the family so it is likely that Tempest senior was deceased. His elder brother (aged 15) is now an apprentice Fitter. They have a boarder, Hugh Robson (an apprentice Ironmonger) and a servant called Mary Jane Malpas. Jennifer recounts that Tempest was under age when he first tried to enlist and was promptly sent home! He persisted and subsequently joined up and went on to be awarded the Military Cross in 1918 aged about 20. He survived the war and his death is recorded in 1976 in South Shields.
Molly Copland visited the Green Howards Museum to tell us about her uncle Arthur Edward Arnett. Arthur Arnett was born in Wakefield on 3rd July 1896 and was educated at Sanda Elementary School and Leeds Central High School before working as a Junior Clerk at the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway. He enlisted with the 2nd Battalion, York and Lancashire Regiment on 17th February 1916, serving with the British Expeditionary Force from 28th June. Following a transfer to the 5th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment Arthur was wounded at the Somme around 11th September 1916. He spent five weeks in hospital before being sent back to England, eventually returning to France with the 6th Yorks and Lancs on 18th March 1917. After transferring to the 10th Battalion following losses at the Battle of Loos, Arthur was killed in action at Gheluvelt on 28th September 1917 and is buried at Hooge Crater Cemetery in Belgium.