Posts Tagged With: Prisoners

Pa. field holds secrets of 1780s British POW camp…….


The mud of a south-central Pennsylvania cornfield may soon produce answers about the fate of British prisoners of war — and the newly independent Americans who guarded them — during the waning years of the American Revolution.
A few miles east of York, the city that briefly served as the fledgling nation’s capital after the Continental Congress fled Philadelphia, more than a thousand English, Scottish and Canadian soldiers were imprisoned at what was then known as Camp Security.
The fight to preserve the plot where those soldiers and their captors worked and lived has lasted almost twice as long as the Revolutionary War itself. And the end is in sight — if its backers can raise the last few hundred thousand dollars needed to pay for it.
“This is an extraordinarily important site, because so few of these camp sites survived,” said Steve Warfel, a retired curator of archaeology at the Pennsylvania State Museum who is involved in the project. “It’s a very important piece for understanding the revolutionary period, and how people were treated when they were incarcerated.”
A 1979 archaeological study found numerous artifacts that confirmed local lore about the prison camp’s location. Two years ago, the local government, Springettsbury Township, took possession of an adjacent, 115-acre property and last year The Conservation Fund paid a developer nearly $1 million for the 47-acre parcel. Now the Friends of Camp Security faces an August deadline to pay off the fund so it can turn the smaller plot over to the township as well.
Nothing about the property today suggests it was once teeming with prisoners. The first group arrived in 1781, four years after their 1777 surrender at Saratoga, N.Y. More arrived the next year after the battle in Yorktown, Va. By April 1782, there were 1,265 men at the camp, along with 182 women and 189 children — family members and others who accompanied the prisoners.
The first group was kept under less strict conditions and could be hired out to nearby farms, where among other things they were put to use chopping firewood and hunting wolves. The Yorktown veterans were much more strictly confined, kept inside a circular stockade that had been constructed from 15-foot-high log posts.
The 1979 dig, which focused on a small area, produced metal items such as buckles and buttons that are associated with British soldiers of the period, suggesting that could have either been the Camp Security stockade or the adjacent Camp Indulgence village where low-risk prisoners stayed.
That survey also turned up 20 coins and 605 straight pins that may have been used by prisoners to make lace.
Ken Miller, an associate professor of history at Washington College in Chestertown, Md., said Camp Security’s historical significance comes from its role in a network of camps in Pennsylvania and elsewhere that held more than 10,000 prisoners during the war.
“Nobody’s really appreciated the extent to which the war reached the American interior in places like York and Lancaster and Reading and Winchester, Va., and Frederick, Md.,” Miller said. “These prisoners put the war on America’s doorstep, even when the battles were far away.”
Researchers recently found lists of Camp Security prisoners in the British National Archives. And an 18th century account of camp life by a British surgeon’s mate described a “camp fever” that may have killed some of the prisoners, who were buried on-site.
If there was a cemetery — there may be two or more — it has not been found. Some believe graves may be under what is today one of the neighborhoods that encircle the property.
Les Jones, the English-born former chairman of Dentsply International Inc., a York manufacturer of dental equipment, and a member of Friends of Camp Security, said interest in his home country has not been great, possibly because the British military had been so active around the globe during that period.
“There was hardly a year when they weren’t fighting somewhere,” Jones said. “I think the problem is they’re just swamped with wars. This is a little niche kind of thing.”
But in York, the fate of Camp Security raised alarms about 14 years ago, after a developer announced plans to put about 100 homes on part of the property. That began a long court fight and a seemingly endless series of contentious local meetings.
At one point, the developer floated a price of $4.5 million, a figure that included projected profits from the development. But by the time the housing bubble had burst and The Conservation Fund stepped in, he sold it for $938,000.
The Conservation Fund wants to turn the property over to Springettsbury Township, as occurred with the adjacent farmland. But for that to happen, the Friends of Camp Security needs to raise more money. The group plans a major fundraising event in York in a few weeks.
“The fact that at least this much of it has remained intact is just mind-boggling,” said Carol Tanzola, president of the Friends of Camp Security. “Come hell or high water, we’re going to get this piece of property.”
Assuming that occurs, they’ll need to figure out what to do next. The Friends of Camp Security leaders seem to agree the first step should be an archaeological survey to pinpoint the location of major features and any human remains, and recover whatever artifacts they can.
In December, the property was scanned with a powerful magnet that gave them an idea of where to start looking, but for a 162-acre site, it will be an ambitious undertaking. Even with volunteer labor, Warfel said, the cost could easily run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The township plans to allow such research and convert the properties to some sort of parkland.

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Categories: Lost Treasure, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

WARNING !!!!!….Two ‘Dangerous’ Inmates Escaped From Texas Jail…


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Texas authorities are using helicopters and dogs to search for two “dangerous” Texas inmates who escaped from jail this morning by squeezing through a gate, leaving behind their black and white prison suits on the railroad tracks behind the jail.
Authorities believe Brian Tucker, 44, and John King, 39, escaped from Hopkins County Jail in Sulphur Springs, Texas, at around 8:30 a.m. today.
“Both are considered dangerous,” Deputy Alvin Jordan of the Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office told ABCNews.com.
Area schools are on lockdown and businesses are on high alert, according to police.
Tucker was awaiting trial in jail for capital murder charges and King had been indicted for evading arrest.
“They were put out on rec yard to have outside rec and undoubtedly squeezed through the gate and took off,” Jordan said. “We did find their black and whites about 100 yards behind the facility.”
Tucker and King were both segregated from other inmates because of the types of crimes they have committed, according to Jordan.
It is unknown what the men are wearing, whether they may have used some kind of transportation after leaving the jail yard and whether they are still together, Jordan said.
Asked if there is any reason to believe they could be armed, Jordan said, “At this point, unless they picked up anything from here to where they’re at, the weapons part is unknown.”
Their only known connection at this time is that they were inmates at the same time in the same jail with no known previous ties.
Authorities are warning people to be careful and call 911 if they see the men.
“If they’re spotted, make sure they lock their doors, call 911 and tell us what area they’re in,” Jordan said. “Don’t try to let them approach you.”
Tucker is 5-foot-7-inches and about 170 pounds. He has brown eyes, brown hair and multiple tattoos. King is 5-foot-8-inches and 165 pounds. He has black hair, hazel eyes and multiple tattoos.

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The the Great Escape Tunnel has been Found !!


Untouched for almost seven decades, the tunnel used in the Great Escape has finally been unearthed.

The 111-yard passage nicknamed ‘Harry’ by Allied prisoners was sealed by the Germans after the audacious break-out from the POW camp Stalag Luft III in western Poland .

Despite huge interest in the subject, encouraged by the film starring Steve McQueen, the tunnel remained undisturbed over the decades because it was behind the Iron Curtain and the Soviet authorities had no interest in its significance.But at last British archaeologists have excavated it, and discovered its remarkable secrets.

Many of the bed boards which had been joined together to stop it collapsing were still in position.

And the ventilation shaft, ingeniously crafted from used powdered milk containers known as Klim Tins, remained in working order.

Scattered throughout the tunnel, which is 30ft below ground, were bits of old metal buckets, hammers and crowbars which were used to hollow out the route.

A total of 600 prisoners worked on three tunnels at the same time. They were nicknamed Tom, Dick and Harry and were just 2 ft square for most of their length.

It was on the night of March 24 and 25, 1944, that 76 Allied airmen escaped through Harry.

Barely a third of the 200 prisoners – many in fake German uniforms and civilian outfits and carrying false identity papers – who were meant to slip away managed to leave before the alarm was raised when escapee number 77 was spotted.

Only three made it back to Britain . Another 50 were executed by firing squad on the orders of Adolf Hitler, who was furious after learning of the breach of security.

In all, 90 boards from bunk beds, 62 tables, 34 chairs and 76 benches, as well as thousands of items including knives, spoons, forks, towels and blankets, were squirrelled away by the Allied prisoners to aid the escape plan under the noses of their captors.

Although the Hollywood movie suggested otherwise, NO Americans were involved in the operation. Most were British, and the others were from Canada , (all the tunnellers were Canadian personnel with backgrounds in mining) Poland , New Zealand , Australia , and South Africa .

The latest dig, over three weeks in August, located the entrance to Harry, which was originally concealed under a stove in Hut 104.

The team also found another tunnel, called George, whose exact position had not been charted. It was never used as the 2,000 prisoners were forced to march to other camps as the Red Army approached in January 1945.

Watching the excavation was Gordie King, 91, an RAF radio operator, who was 140th in line to use Harry and therefore missed out.

‘This brings back such bitter-sweet memories,’ he said as he wiped away tears. ‘I’m amazed by what they’ve found.’
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Categories: Strange News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Soldiers and Sailors Database


The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System (CWSS) is a database containing information about the men who served in the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War. Other information on the site includes histories of Union and Confederate regiments, links to descriptions of significant battles, and selected lists of prisoner-of-war records and cemetery records, which will be amended over time. The CWSS is a cooperative effort between the National Park Service and several public and private partners whose goal is to increase Americans’ understanding of this decisive era in American history by making information about it widely accessible.

http://www.nps.gov/civilwar/soldiers-and-sailors-database.htm

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