Posted: 4th August 2021
Welcome to part three of ‘North Lincolnshire on the Home Front in World War Two’ focussing on Brigg. This blog series will focus on how different towns and villages of North Lincolnshire operated on the Home Front of the Second World War.
We would like to thank the source providers and individuals who have shared their stories on the Home Front. Without them, the experiences of the Home Front would not have been possible to share with North Lincolnshire and its citizens.
As with all major counties and villages in England, Lincolnshire was heavily involved in the War, especially North Lincolnshire. Lincolnshire itself contained plenty of military and naval targets so air defence measures were immediately put into effect. Many North Lincolnshire villages contributed: Scunthorpe, Brigg, Southend, Barton upon Humber are just a few examples of involved communities. However, most of these villages each had something which made them unique to others. While Scunthorpe was prime for its defences, Brigg was more well known for its Prisoner of War camp and Barton Upon Stather specialised in making tanks!
One of the most interesting facts about Brigg on the Home Front is that Brigg maintained one of the biggest POW (Prisoners of War) camps; Pingley Camp. It was Camp 81 in England and it was made with compounds for the administration, for the guards, and for the prisoners who were generally housed in brick huts. Pingley Camp specialised in holding any attacking Italians and Germans and still had use after the war. As England was recovering from the horrors of war, Pingley Camp was eventually used as temporary housing for those without a house.
As shown in Scunthorpe’s section, the Home Guard who defended Brigg was also the Lindsey Home Guard’ 1st-4th.
An account from John Rhodes (a civilian who lived in Brigg during the war) demonstrates what life was like on the Home Front in Brigg: He states that in order to protect himself and his family from any potential air raids he had shutters installed in his living room, kitchen and his parents room. Alongside this John also mentions his Aunt who was part of the WAAFS and had served there for several years as a cook.
John’s account also claims that Brigg had at least twenty air stations from Kirmington to Scampton and that they had to use shelters whenever a siren went off. If you would like to read more from John’s account please click the link:
Another account which demonstrates life in Brigg in World War Two is from Violet May Edwards a former soldier of the Women’s Land Army on 26th August 1949. She was trained in basic farming skills on the Brigg farm where she would pick potatoes, pulled sugar beets and carrots and ploughed fields with a tractor. She managed to remain in the Women’s Land Army until 15th September 1950 just 3 months before they disbanded. Like John’s account, if you are interested in Violet’s story please click the link: https://www.womenslandarmy.co.uk/buddy-a-land-girl-in-lincolnshire/
Researched and written by William Cragg, history student whilst on a placement.
Part 4 coming soon