Cultybraggan: A Scottish WW2 PoW Camp

In a beautiful and scenic area of Perthshire, Scotland, between the Aberuchill Hills and the Water of Ruchill, is Cultybraggan PoW camp, known as Camp 21. Initially built in 1941, it was probably intended to be an army camp but instead became a camp for captured Italians. These Italians prisoners were used to supply manpower to the local farming, forestry and industry sectors.

That all changed in the latter part of 1943, when the camp was designated a ‘black camp’ by the British authorities. Due to the Geneva Convention, mixing of nationalities was prohibited, so the Italian prisoners were sent elsewhere. From then on, only Category A German prisoners were sent to the camp. These were the hardcore fanatical Nazi PoWs, mostly Waffen-SS, Fallschirmjäger (paratroops) and U-boat crew. These army, Kriegmarine, Luftwaffe, SS prisoners and officers were held in separate compounds, in an effort to break the power of the hardcore Nazis. Unlike their Italian counterparts, few mixed with the local community.

Mick Garratt / Nissen Huts, Cultybraggan Camp

The prisoners were also segregated according to the level of threat they posed. The scale ranged from white to black. The whites were considered the least threatening, with some bearing special passes to work in the neighbouring farms. The greys were a risk, and the blacks were considered the most dangerous.

The prisoners were sent to Cultybraggan by ‘special train’ as far as the village of Comrie. From there they were marched for 30 minutes until they reached the camp. Locals told of hearing the German’s singing defiantly as they were marched through the countryside.

In 1944, the ringleaders of the Devizes plot, which hoped to break out 250,000 prisoners from camps across the UK, were imprisoned at Camp 21. One of the prisoners, Feldwebel Wolfgang Rosterg, an anti-Nazi was sent to the camp by mistake. He was murdered by inmates, and five of the prisoners were hanged for his murder, the largest multiple execution in 20th-century Britain. It is rumoured that Rudolph Hess was imprisoned here, but I am unable to confirm that is the case.

Copyright: Comrie Community Organisation

The camp ceased to be used by the military in 2004, and now belongs to the Comrie Development Trust, bought through a community right-to-buy option in 2007. The camp is now a tourist attraction and museum.

In the third book of the Sarah Gillespie series, The Last Letter from London, my heroine, who is an MI5 agent, must visit Cultybraggan, where a mysterious Frenchwoman, Adeline Vernier, claiming to be a double-agent, awaits processing. This meeting is the catalyst for a series of nail-biting adventures taking them to Lisbon, the centre of espionage in Europe during WW2, and ending dramatically in London.

The Normandy landings are at stake …

Can the double-agent be trusted and can her demands be met?

Will Sarah and Adeline survive?

Pre-order is now live:

Amazon here

WHSmith here

Barnes & Noble here

3 thoughts on “Cultybraggan: A Scottish WW2 PoW Camp

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  1. That is so interesting that the camp was used until 2007. I was stationed at RAF Lakenheath in the 1990’s. I never knew the USA had a Naval base in Scotland until I saw a submarine in a loch while on vacation up there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We saw it at a distance a couple of years ago, and always mean to go – perhaps next time in Perthshire. Good wishes for your book, Pam.

    Liked by 1 person

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