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Hullwebs History of Hull


Herbert Heinemann


The wartime memories of Herbeit Heinemann


Transported by lorries, we arrived Ripon at the 1st of July 1946 on a bright day. First of all I tried to count all the barracks, I noticed the water tower, the river Ure below the camp and Ripon itself, shadowy, very near, [the] remarkable steeple of the church in the middle of the town. It seemed to be a nice place as far as I could assess. And I was right. A few days later we went through Ripon by lorry on the way to the farmers. Lovely ancient houses and shops and everything seemed to be very busy. I did like Ripon at that very first moment we passed, I was very sorry I could not walk along the streets regarding the exhibits in the shop windows.

Map of Rippon Camp

Another day I was commanded to weeding a field of potatoes and when I looked down the bank I was lucky to see the rest of Fountains Abbey, according to the information of the farmer. Indeed a very exciting moment for me seeing a very famous place [that] I had read about in my English lesson books some years ago.

No-one ever tried to escape from Ripon Camp; why should he? The barracks were in very good condition, food was sufficient, no barbed wire to see. I did not feel to be fenced in. There was a shop to spend our camp money, [a] shilling1 for five days work. There was a barber, tailor, joiner and what else. It was forbidden to have English money nevertheless we had no chance to spend it. Specialists among us PoW’s produced slippers made out of ropes and a lot more, even tools for children [which were] sold outside the camp for real English money [with which the] farm workers bought English cigarettes for the PoW’s, that had to be kept very secret!!

On a Sunday afternoon I watched a boxing fight between PoWS’s of our camp and an English team of the camp guard. I do not remember who won the match.

One of our fellows, about 40 years of age made suicide. His homeland was occupied by Russian troops and [he] never had [any] mail from his family. He was buried on the graveyard in Ripon. I joined the funeral [party] together with twenty to thirty of our men. Maybe he later on has been transferred to Cannock Chase where he will lie in peace.

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