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Comrie, Cultybraggan Former Cadet Camp, Huts 19 and 20 (Guard's Block) and 44, 45, 46

A Category A Listed Building in Comrie, Perth and Kinross

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.3562 / 56°21'22"N

Longitude: -3.9942 / 3°59'39"W

OS Eastings: 276873

OS Northings: 719989

OS Grid: NN768199

Mapcode National: GBR 19.3GND

Mapcode Global: WH4N0.MH5N

Entry Name: Comrie, Cultybraggan Former Cadet Camp, Huts 19 and 20 (Guard's Block) and 44, 45, 46

Listing Date: 30 May 2006

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 398521

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB50471

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Comrie

County: Perth and Kinross

Electoral Ward: Strathearn

Traditional County: Perthshire

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Description

Circa 1941. Group of buildings forming part of a large purpose-built World War II Prisoner of War camp. Flat-roofed brick and shuttered concrete guard's block with advanced 3-bay section to centre. 3 semi-circular corrugated metal Nissen huts to immediate NE; 16-foot span, brick base courses and rendered ends, corrugated iron roofs, most with door flanked by timber windows to each end, timber and corrugated iron catslide dormers to the lengths. Mostly timber casement windows with varying glazing patterns.

INTERIOR:Cell block: in W wing, corridor with 4 original metal cell doors to each side; partitions between cells removed.

Nissen huts mostly very plain.

Statement of Interest

A-group with Comrie, Cultybraggan Former Cadet Camp, Huts 1-3, 21, 29-39, 47-57 (All Nos Inclusive).

The statutory address hut numbers are based on the numbering system operated by the TA.

Cultybraggan Camp is one of the three best preserved purpose-built WWII prisoner of war camps in Britain. The listed structures at Cultybraggan provide important physical evidence of the ways in which POW were detained during this period, supplemented by varying levels of documentary evidence. The listed section includes part of the original guards' compound to the south, and half of one of the prisoner 'cages' to the north, including accommodation and ablutions blocks. To the right of the front gate is the hut which was used as the camp church. Cultybraggan holds additional interest because it held a high proportion of so-called 'black' or Nazi prisoners, and also because it gained notoriety following the Rostberg murder (see below).

This concentrated group of huts and guard's block at the centre of site form the core of the Prisoner of War Camp. It emcompasses both representative examples of the Nissen hut type and the important Guard's block, the only concrete building on the site.

Cultybraggan Camp was under construction in September 1941, and was originally intended as a labour camp for Italian POW, but does not appear to have been occupied at that time. By May 1944 (the date of the camp's first Red Cross inspection), Cultybraggan was a transit camp for German POW, holding 785 with a capacity of 4500. By 25 December 1944, the camp was holding 3988 POW and had been redesignated as a base camp. Most likely because of its remote location, Cultybraggan became known as 'Nazi 2', one of the two maximum security camps in Britain which held a high proportion of prisoners classified as 'black', i.e. the most ardent Nazis and potential troublemakers. On 22 December 1944 an infamous kangaroo court was held and Sergeant Wolfgang Rostberg was murdered as an informer by fellow POWs (5 of whom were later convicted in a high-profile trial and hanged at Pentonville).

Cultybraggan was disbanded as a POW camp circa May 1947. The site was subsequently used as a training centre and location for TA summer camps. Its use as a military training camp continued until 2004.

The camp was laid out following a fairly standard, near-symmetrical pattern, with the guard's compound located to the S nearest the access from the public road, with a recreation ground to the NE side. The prisoner's compounds (falling into 4 near-identical groupings) were located to the N, on the other side of a spine road running E-W across the site. The compounds are divided by a network of roads, and the huts are surrounded by grassed plots. To the centre of the camp is the brick-built (with shuttered concrete roof) secure accommodation block, which retains original cell doors, although the partition walls have been lost.

In the 1970s, the two prisoner compounds to the W side of the site were demolished, and the assault course and firing range were subsequently constructed on part of that area. The groundworks of the demolished huts are still partly discernible.

Approximately 100 yards to the N of the site is its sewage treatment plant, which is accessed by a 2-track timber roadway, possibly dating to the POW period of the camp. Later buildings on the site or connected to it include

a few post war structures to the SW corner of the site, a small 1950s/60s gas facility, rifle range and assault course built in the 1970s, a Royal Observation Corps bunker and a large Regional Government Headquarters nuclear bunker, built in the early 1990s. To the N of the site is an explosives magazine, which appears to post date the POW era of the camp.

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