Stobs Camp

(Stobs Military Camp)

Stobs Camp represents the remains of a substantial military training establishment located on the rolling hills of Teviotdale, 3 miles (5 km) south of Hawick in the Scottish Borders. The Government bought the 1463 ha / 3614 acre Stobs Estate for use by the War Office in 1902.

Although originally intended to be a permanent army base, with an infantry barracks, Stobs was mostly used by the volunteers of the territorial army for their annual training in the summer months. In its early years men slept under canvas, with the Officer's Quarters at Stobs Castle. During the First World War training continued involving troops from across the Empire before they were sent to the battlefields of Europe. At the same time, interned foreign nationals were held here, and Stobs quickly grew to become the principal prisoner-of-war camp in Scotland. Between the wars its role returned to providing a training ground for the territorial army and then for the regular army during World War II. Thereafter it served as a resettlement camp for up to 2000 Polish troops and remained in regular use by the army until the early 1950s, with troops training here prior to being sent to fight in the Korean War.

Served by Stobs Station, a little halt on the Border Union section of the Waverley Line from Hawick to Carlisle, which was often overwhelmed by the arriving troops. The first permanent buildings on the site were an officers' mess and 'an attractively furnished and well-equipped' YMCA club which opened in 1906 for the convenience of volunteers, regular soldiers and others during the summer season. Later stores, workshops, a post-office and a light-railway were built. To house more than 4600 prisoners, around 80 large wooden huts were built in 1915. These were sold off in the 1920s. Nissen huts were built during the Second World War. In 1951, the War Department bought a further 6070 ha / 15000 acres to greatly extend the training area, but only six years later sold the majority of the land and most of the buildings were sold off soon after. A cemetery which was established for German prisoners in 1915 was deconsecrated when the camp was closed, with the bodies transferred to the Cannock Chase German Military Cemetery in England and the war memorial destroyed. The memorial was rebuilt in 2018 to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.

The artist George Bain (1881 - 1968) came here as a volunteer soldier in 1904-05, and sketched scenes around the camp.

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