© 2017 O'Hara, Eileen
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Looking from this section of the tank track the eastern edge of The Oval can be seen through the trees on the far left. The Oval stands on the site of Blackbeck POW Camp. In April 1942 and May 1944 the War Department purchased more land between Stainton Camp and the Darlington and Barnard Castle railway line which ran south of the camp. Black Beck runs on the far side of the railway line. Blackbeck POW Camp was built here only a field away from the railway line. It was known to the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1945 as number 613 - for German Working Companies. In 1946 there were 800 camps for 380,000 POWs in the UK. They were closed down in 1948. It is said that prisoners snared rabbits nearby and taught some local youngsters this useful skill. The camp can be seen on the RAF aerial photograph of 1946 but not on the 1945 photograph. A track led from Stainton Camp along the northern side of the railway embankment to Blackbeck Camp. Stainton Camp continued to be used by the army after the end of WW2 and more housing was built on the land to the south and west of the original camp including the site of Blackbeck POW Camp.