Wainwright Internment Camp No. 135, then and now

Link to Wainwright Internment Camp No. 135, then and now
ASU Wainwright

Page 1 of Canadian Escapades opens in POW camp Wainwright, officially known as "Internment Camp No. 135". The camp is located in the village of Denwood, Alberta, very close to the town of Wainwright.

(The above image include a reproduction of the POW camp guard towers.)

Some history:

In 1944, it was decided to site a POW Camp here and on 29 January 1945 the first 523 German prisoners arrived. At its peak, the POW Camp accommodated almost 1,100 German POW's, consisting of Officers, enlisted men and a few civilians, and operated until 24 May 1946 when the last of the POW's were returned to England for demobilization. The Camp staff and Guard company were reduced to nil strength a few weeks later, marking the end of this chapter of CFB/ASU Wainwright's history.

Note that POWs were held for a year after the war ended. That's a story in itself.

This part will be familiar to those who have read the book!

During the 16 months the POW Camp was in full operation, only two prisoners made a successful escape. These two bold individuals were recaptured just over a month later, but not until they had reached Gary, Indiana!

(That passage also made the Wikipedia page for CFB Wainwright.)

The military base now includes the Canadian Forces Base/Area Support Unit (CFB/ASU Wainwright), the Land Force Western Area Training Centre (LFWA TC) and the Canadian Manoeuvre Training Centre (CMTC).

Oh, and what came before the POW camp? Buffalo National Park from 1909-1939.

Going back to the beginning: On 8 July 1940, a little less than one year after the closure of Buffalo National Park, Dr. Middlemass, the Mayor of Wainwright, travelled to Ottawa and persuaded the Department of National Defence to take over the vacant park as a military training area. His efforts were successful and in 1941, the first military forces arrived to establish a permanent camp at the site of the park.

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