German girl visits Dunstable camp where grandad was prisoner

Anke on her tour of London Gliding Club at Dunstable Downs
Anke on her tour of London Gliding Club at Dunstable Downs

A girl whose grandad was a Second World War prisoner-of-war in Dunstable has visited the town to see where he was interned.

Fifteen-year-old Anke Weyand, from a village near Dresden in Germany, was shown round what remains of the old POW camp at the London Gliding Club’s airfield at the foot of Dunstable Downs.

Her granddad Oskar Nitzsche, from a German cavalry regiment, was one of the prisoners, including many Italians, who were eventually allowed out of the camp on a daily basis to work in the area.

Oskar was sent to Pond Farm, Wingfield, where he made friends and decided to stay after the war ended.

He returned to Germany in 1955 when his family there needed his help, but he has remained in contact with the Costin family at the farm.

Anke brought to England some photographs of Oskar, who is now 91.

In return she will be able to take back pictures to show him of the POW camp site today.

Most of the old buildings have been demolished, with the foundations just visible beneath the turf.

But the camp’s mess hall remains, and also the brick lock-up, now a garage, which was the “prison within a prison” for any POW who had misbehaved.

Anke’s visit to the gliding club was arranged by Dunstable and District Local History Society after Roger and Ann Costin, of Pond Farm, wrote to the society’s website asking for photos of the camp.

Anke was shown round the club by Adrian Hobbs and German-speaking Rupert Puritz.