View Full Version : Thrapston Camp

Paul Francis
24-09-2010, 18:28
Army Camp or Not? Thrapston Camp

Anyone know the history of Thrapston Camp (if that is what its called), just off the west-bound carriegway of the A14 and south of the village of that name? Sorry these are all internal, the uploader is broke! Please DO NOT enter this site without permission. This is the dining room / institute with the kitchen block attached

Paul Francis
24-09-2010, 18:37
A couple of externals. Original function unknown

24-09-2010, 18:43
I guess it is here (http://wtp2.appspot.com/wheresthepath.htm?lat=52.39092297189337&lon=-0.5125808715820312&gz=17&oz=9&gt=1).

John Schofield has it down as Thrapston (http://ads.ahds.ac.uk/catalogue/archive/armycamp_eh_2006/downloads.cfm?stage=2&type=magic&sn=21&CFID=573996&CFTOKEN=39545028).


Paul Francis
24-09-2010, 18:46
Yes I know but.................... what is its history??

Paul Francis
24-09-2010, 19:03
The hut construction is actually very interesting for us anoraks as the structure is timber-framed which is fine. It is clad on the exterior walls with horizontal Cedar weather boarding (again fine) and the roof with corr asbestos sheeting (meaning a high-class hut) plus a ceiling of timber boarding (which one would expect). The trusses are thick-section timber king-post types, arranged as two leaves separated by spacers and having angled compression struts and knee braces. The interesting bit however is that the exterior walls on the inside are clad with hy-rib and cement-rendered up to dado height, then vertical timber boarding. This is chamfered with the concrete floor (for cleaning). If you thought that was cool, the interior timber wall posts (each of which is a sandwich construction) are fixed to cast in-situ concrete foundation blocks which (wait for it) have tapered foundations! Now (I know now I have your attention), the floor is 3 ins of concrete poured onto hy-rib sheeting and there is a 2ft void below it. This is obviously a serious hut, though I have no idea of its type name. Does anyone know?

24-09-2010, 19:16
US Station 584 - probably a maintenance site, plus
6th and 46th Medical Supply Platoons (Aviation).
These were responsible for the storage and delivery of all the medical supplies to the 8AF
(Some guy called Paul Bellamy is responsible for that on another website :D)

Two other MSPs were at Neaton and Troston


Paul Francis
24-09-2010, 19:25
You Carnaby and me are both dipsticks, it is in the EH stuff we did on army camps If in doubt consult ones' own reports first before asking stupid questions.

24-09-2010, 19:28
hi all

could it be connected to usaf at grafton underwood or war store for the nearby old valcast foundary ??????????

more like 8th airforce

but i could be wrong

Paul Francis
24-09-2010, 19:39
OK so we now know its US Station 584, but I am thinking that it is pre-war as the amount of timber that has gone into the construction of a single hut is way above that which would be possible during WW2, given the timber shortage (no more timber coming from the Baltic states etc). So it must have had a purpose before the war? Unless the US Army brought their own with them, no, its construction is typically British, Hy-rib and style of trusses etc points to pre-WW2.

24-09-2010, 20:03
Was there a timber shortage in wwii????? I thought the reason for the Mosquito going in to production was down to the fact it was mostly made of wood and there wasnt a shortage. And one of the woods used was balsa which had to be imported.

Paul Francis
24-09-2010, 20:11
Canberra, the timber shortage during WW2 is well documented in official wartime histories, though I cannot explain how we managed to source balsa wood for the Mosquito - I am sure someone on here will have the answer.

Chris Lowe
24-09-2010, 20:59

Do you need any of use Northants locals to visit & see whats lefdt?

Paul Francis
24-09-2010, 21:09
Nope, went there today, so I have a pretty good idea (hence this thread). If you are thinking of going there PM me.

24-09-2010, 21:33
the timber shortage during WW2 is well documented in official wartime histories,
I am sure someone on here will have the answer.

The Balsa wood came from Equador. Canada and the US supplied Alaskan Spruce, Use of Canadian birch and fir made the lightest plywood devised, and English ash for spar work were all used in the production of the Mosquito. That and thousands of small brass screws!

P Bellamy
24-09-2010, 21:45
I'm not currently 100% sure this camp is the location of AAF Station 584, for a couple of reasons.

The USAF historical file on Station 584 states that it "was located at the Ideal Clothiers factory site in Thrapston, Northants, England." According to the locals, this factory was on Oundle Road, on the other side of town.
Furthermore, the only external photograph taken at the site shows different surroundings to those at the camp site.

Having said that, it's not inconceiveable that the depot moved to this other camp after the date of the report (June 1944), as they do look like stores buildings.


All the best,

PS, still working on those other files for you Paul. Just have to find the notes I wrote before I went to Arnhem.

P Bellamy
24-09-2010, 21:49
Just a thought, but perhaps the Thrapston local history society has some info on either site: http://www.thrapstonhistorysoc.co.uk/index.html


25-09-2010, 08:53

Paul Francis
25-09-2010, 10:14
Well it could be the domestic site for Station 584. The buildings there are part of the dining room / institute, not stores. It was the site of the Thrapston auction rooms in the mid-1990s and has been used for storing paper at one time.

26-09-2010, 12:23
This could be the site described as Brigstock POW Camp?

26-09-2010, 13:02
This could be the site described as Brigstock POW Camp?
No - Brigstock is a couple of miles to the northwest, here (http://wtp2.appspot.com/wheresthepath.htm?lat=52.4669523681088&lon=-0.6238281726837158&gz=17&oz=7&gt=1), and as Paul Bellamy pointed out in this thread (http://www.airfieldinformationexchange.org/community/showthread.php?875-Brigstock-Camp&p=7219#post7219), it was never a PoW camp.

(that thread will be relocated very soon)


P Bellamy
05-05-2011, 21:22
I've finally been able to confirm the location of AAF Station 584 in Thrapston, thanks to the Ideal Clothiers factory it was housed in having had an OS Benchmark on the wall before it was demolished. :D
Pre-demolition maps match the wartime photo to a tee.

WTP link to the site HERE (http://wtp2.appspot.com/wheresthepath.htm?lat=52.3994175278342&lon=-0.5332633852958679&gz=19&oz=8&gt=1).

All the best,

P Bellamy
27-07-2011, 19:09
Now we know AAF Station 584 was elsewhere in Thrapston, the question of what this site was still remains... or does it?

It would appear that this site was Thrapston Militia Camp, built in the late 1930s.
Other local Militia Camps built at the same time (Ramsey, St. Neots, Ely, Yaxley, etc.) share the same timber buildings.


Paul Francis
27-07-2011, 20:10
Hang on there Paul since 1908 the regular and milita battalions of the arny were amalgamated into the TF Terittitorial Force which became the TA Territorial Army in 1920-. Consequently there was no militia in 1930.

P Bellamy
27-07-2011, 20:34
This relates to the 1939 Militia created by the Military Training Act 1939 and the subsequent National Service (Armed Service) Act 1939.

Paul Francis
27-07-2011, 21:08
Your talking about a five month period before the outbreak of WW2, during which there was only a single day of registration on 3 June 1939 and these camps owe their existance to that short period. Fascinating. Perhaps they should be considered for listing. The men I thought were unofficially known as militia and events overtook them with the NS (Armed Forces) Act 1939.

Paul Francis
27-07-2011, 21:23
Perhaps the correct term for the camp is militiamen camp?

Chris Lowe
28-11-2011, 22:02
Listed here as Militia http://ads.ahds.ac.uk/catalogue/adsdata/arch-460-1/dissemination/csv/Stage_1/East_Midland_district.csv

P Bellamy
14-04-2012, 00:58
There appears to have been some collapse or demolition to the main building on the site.
The central bays appear to have lost their roofs at the very least. :(


P Bellamy
22-04-2012, 14:38
Orange fencing has now gone up around the building and a number of yellow skips are dotted alongside.
Nothing in the planning applications file though...

Richard Flagg
23-04-2012, 00:15
Any photos of its current condition?

P Bellamy
23-04-2012, 00:30
Not as yet...

I did have my camera with me on Friday for just that purpose (although the orange fencing was new that afternoon), but the weather was atrocious when I was passing so I had to give it a miss. I'll attempt a close pass in the next day or so to snag a shot from the gateway.

04-02-2014, 15:31
From Fold 3

Indentified as Thrapston