Posted 29 January 2010 - 06:18 PM
I've put the following together from reports in the Reading Mercury newspaper. My interest is that my grandfather Pte Charles Chandler was one of the Berkshire National Reserve guards at the camp who was subsequently transferred to one of the ships in the Solent. How long the ships, or the Berkshires, stayed there I have been unable to find out, however I believe the unit was eventually incorporated into the Royal Defence Corps. I would be very interested to hear from anyone with further information on this. Regards, Charles
References to Newbury Internment Camp in Reading Mercury, 1914 – 1915
29 August Camp set up on Racecourse by East Lancashire Regiment Reservists and ASC.
5 September Colonel G HAINES is Commandant of Camp. It is understood that the Camp Guard will be formed of National Reservists.
12 September First arrivals at the Camp including several wounded German officers. Being guarded by East Lancashire Regiment at present but ultimately will be the National Reserve.
19 September Still 260 East Lancs on site but now supplemented by Berkshire Service Battalion of the National Reserve, who assembled at the Camp as ordered on Tuesday. Colour Sergeant WIGMORE marched with band to railway station, then Camp. 600 Berkshire National Reservists have enlisted as guards at the Newbury Detention Camp - 5 Companies of 120 each. Major W J LANGFORD of Littlepark appointed Officer In Charge. Lieut Stephen KNIGHT, Adjutant to Service Battalion. 1,300 POWs at Camp including Uhlans.
26 September 3 Companies of Berkshire National Reserve are guarding the Camp, with 2 more being formed this weekend. Mentioned: Capt F B FANSHAWE; Capt J H COOPER; Capt M WHEELER; Lieut C N LACEY; Lieut P C FONWICKE-CLENNEIL; Lieut Adjutant Stephen KNIGHT; QM Sgt WIGMORE; Sgt Major FORBES; Sgt George PLATT (former Constable of Hungerford and ex-Berkshire Yeomanry).
3 October 1,400 POWs at Camp now being guarded entirely by 600 Berkshire National Reservists.
10 October Inspection by Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire. 400 prisoners to be moved to Isle of Man.
17 October Decision to dispense with tented compound & retain just the stabling accommodation. 400 prisoners and guard of 100 National Reserve to Ramsey, Isle of Man. New batches of prisoners arriving daily.
24 October All civilian prisoners removed to Isle of Man and being replaced by military prisoners. Berkshire National Reserve parades the town with their own drum and bugle band. The Battalion has secured a goat as a mascot from Mr W ALLEE.
31 October Very busy week at the Camp, large numbers of German and Austrian prisoners arriving. 2,000 in Camp. Some sent to Isle of Man.
7 November Visit from Prime Minister and Mrs Asquith. 500 prisoners arrive from Edinburgh under escort of the 5th Royal Scots.
14 November Berkshire National Reserve march the town with bugle and drum band. Possibility that prisoners may be removed to ships off the south coast.
21 November 2 Companies of the Special National Reserve will remove with the prisoners to ships whilst the Newbury Company will remain on guard at the Camp.
28 November Berkshire National Reserve march the town as part of a recruitment drive. 50 men enlist. Several batches of German prisoners have been removed from the Racecourse to ships at Hayling Island.
5 December More removals from Camp, majority to ships anchored off Hayling Island. Among officers in charge of a batch is Lieut BORGNIS of Curridge. Tented compound now closed and stabling accommodation reduced.
12 December Notice issued that Racecourse Camp is to be closed from next Tuesday. 700 prisoners are currently remaining. Berkshire National Reserve marches at a recruiting demonstration – Major LANGFORD speaks.
19 December Notes that Camp was established by War Office on 26th August 1914.
26 December Only occupants now are 60 guards who are clearing the premises of stores, putting straight etc. A further batch of guards will leave on Tuesday. Invited to Service with Mayor of Newbury, they will then join the Prison Guard on one or other of the ships now being utilised for the internment of prisoners.
9 January Last detachment of prison guard will be leaving this Saturday for Ryde. Colonel HAINES will take up a similar post in Jersey.