This list of Prisoner of War Camps, Italian Service Unit Camps, and Prisoner of War Hospitals is based on weekly reports located on NARA microfilm #66-538 (population lists June 1942-June 1946). Additional locations based on newspapers, interviews, and other NARA records (at College Park and Regional Archives).
The POW Camps in Delaware during World War II included:
*Fort DuPont, Delaware City, New Castle County, (base camp) now a health care center, and state park. Over 1000 German and Italian prisoners in Rommel's Afrika Corps captured in 1943 were sent to the POW camp set up at Fort DuPont. In 1945 there were two waves of German prisoners who were transferred to Boston from the fort. The first wave consisted of 1,750 while the second wave which followed shortly was composed of another 2,000. In May 1944, the 1231st SCU prisoner-of-war camp was established using repurposed temporary buildings in the mobilization area. During the war, roughly 3,000 German POWs were housed at Fort DuPont. These POWs included members of the submarine U-858 that surrendered off the coast of Lewes, Del., in 1945. POWs worked as dishwashers, waiters, grocers, butchers, and other support roles on post as well as working on other local installations such as the New Castle Army Airfield. German POWs worked for civilian canneries, garbage companies, and even worked for the city of Rehoboth Beach repairing sections of the boardwalk. After the successful transfer of the POW prisoners the fort was decommissioned by the Army and turned over to the State of Delaware. The temporary wooden barracks that housed the POWs no longer stands.
*Bethany Beach, Sussex County, (branch camp under Ft. DuPont, ) *Bridgeville, Sussex County, (branch camp under Ft. DuPont, )*Georgetown I, Sussex County, (branch camp under Ft. DuPont, ) *Georgetown II, Sussex County, (branch camp under Ft. DuPont, ) *Harrington, Kent County, (branch camp under Ft. DuPont, ) *Leipsic, Kent County, (branch camp under Ft. DuPont, ) *Lewes, Sussex County, (branch camp under Ft. DuPont, ) *Saulsbury (Fort), Sussex County, (branch camp under Ft. DuPont, )
*Fort Miles, Sussex County, (base camp)
*New Castle, New Castle County, (branch camp under Ft. Miles, )
Fort DuPont had a branch camp in NJ.
April 1, 1932 A Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp opened at Georgetown for mosquito control. During WW II it was also used as a POW camp
Dover Army Air Field As late in the war as 1944, Dover Army Air Field was still “scrounging” for needed equipment, facilities and materiel. There was a shortage of everything from file cabinets to trash cans. Due to wartime manpower shortages some 145 German Prisoners of War were employed at Dover Army Air Field beginning in October 1944 under strict rules of employment designed to respect the Geneva accords and national security. POWs were employed in the mess and in housekeeping duties. KP duty was unpopular and morale improved when the POWs relieved the GIs of that duty. Fraternization with prisoners was officially forbidden. The prisoners were lightly guarded at the direction of the base commander.
"Removal of the Battery Haslet guns in 1942 did not finish the WW II mission for Fort Saulsbury. It was assigned a mission to become a Prisoner of War Camp for hundreds of German and a lesser number of Italian prisoners. Prisoners were a familiar sight on Milford streets when they were given passes to come onto town. Many prisoners worked in area canneries, poultry processing plants, orchards and assisted in harvesting field crops. Stories abound from area families who were impressed by their hard work and honesty. Employers could not pay the prisoners, but instead reimbursed the Federal Government for the labor. However, there were many occasions where giving cigarettes and other friendly gestures occurred. Granville Shockley, whose father's farm was nearby, was impressed that the prisoners had no Army guard and one of their own men was "boss." Noon meals were brought to them in the fields from the fort. Stories continue to surface that some of these men returned to this area after the war, having been well-treated and in love with Sussex County.
Lt. Col. John J. Harris, who was in charge of the Delaware Prisoner-of-War Unit, reported that this program brought the Federal Government $2,400,000 from the work of these men in Delaware. Some of servicemen told me that returning home from Germany was difficult when they saw German prisoners treated so well here is the States after having been shot at by their fellow conuntrymen in Germany. On January 11, 1946, Fort Saulsbury was deactivated after the departure of the last POW from Delaware."
From Fort Saulsbury Org. http://fortsaulsbury.org/1940.html
For more information about these camps, please see: www.globalsecurity.org www.volksbund.de www.kriegsgefangen.de www.denkmalprojekt.org www.weltkriegsopfer.de