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 French POWs in Britain 
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From The Times, August 6, 1793:

".....Portsmouth, August 4th ..... A complaint of inattention to the wounded seamen of the Cleopatra French frigate, preferred by Sir Edward Pellew, whose humanity and gallantry must for ever endear him to his country, has occasioned the removal of Mr Starch from being Agent of prisoners..........."

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From The Times, October 26, 1810:

" ...... since the negotiation for the exchange of prisoners has appeared to be at end, the French prisoners at the Portsmouth depôt are making frequent attempts to escape. On Saturday a party of them broke out of the Crown prison-ship, and swam as far as the sheer-hulk, where they were taken. On Tuesday night a party attempted to escape from the San Damaso, but were prevented....."




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From the The Times, July 16, 1795:

" .... late on Sunday evening were landed at the Barbican, Plymouth, from his Majesty's cutter Stag, of 14 guns, Lieutenant Haswell, ten French Officers, two of them generals in the service of the Republic, and were immediately escorted by a guard of soldiers to the Mill Prison. They were taken by the Royalist troops at two forts near Quiberon, soon after they effected their landing ...."




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From The Times of May 14, 1798:

".....On Tuesday night some of the French prisoners confined on board the Bristol in the Medway, attempted to escape; they cut through one of the iron grates, and some of them got into the water; but finding the distance to the shore too great, and that they were in danger of being drowned, they called for assistance. The guards have been strengthened and the ringleaders put it irons ....."






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From The Times, November 18, 1811:

".... Fifteen French officers (several of them high in rank), from Lichfield and Chesterfield, who had violated their parole of honour, passed through Stamford last week, under an escort of dragoons, on their way to the depot at Norman-Cross.

Seven Frenchmen were on Tuesday committed to Rochester gaol, on a charge of forging Bank of England notes....."





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From The Times, July 5th, 1793:

".... OSTEND, July 1... a few days since a boat, sailing from this port was stopped by the Dolphin armed cutter. On searching her, three Frenchmen were found stowed away under her platform, who, with their papers concealed under their hats, were, by the activity of Mr Sharp, secured and conveyed by him to the Admiral in the Downs.

It is conjectured they had broken their parole and were of some note, as the boat was to be very liberally paid for taking them to Dunkirk ....."





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From The Times of October 3rd, 1803:

" ..... The French prisoners, on the prospect of an invasion of this country, begin to assume their Republic fierté; they tell their guards, 'It is your turn to guard us now, but before the winter is over, it will be our turn to guard you.' The prisons at Plymouth were cleared last week of 1,000 French prisoners, viz. sent off in transport, No 7, 250; in La Tourterelle, 250; and escorted to Bristol on Monday last 250, and next 250 more ..."



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From The Times of April 9, 1808:

" ... on Wednesday night, eleven French prisoners made their escape from the ------- prison-ship, in the harbour at Portsmouth, and, about five on Thursday morning, boarded a boat belonging to the dock-yard there, of about 70 tons, made sail, and proceeded out of harbour with her without molestation. They have not since been heard of ....."

The print relating to the name of the vessel is not very clear, but looks to be Vigilaid; I suppose it could be Vigilant, at a push. Any ideas on this one, please?


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Tue Sep 16, 2008 10:34 am
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The Times, August 14th, 1810:

" ... On the 1st instant the Raven sloop of war, whilst cruizing off Blakenburgh, picked up a small boat, with four French prisoners on board her, who had made their escape from one of the prison ships at Chatham. They had been at sea four days, without any thing to subsist on, excepting a few ears of wheat, and were consequently nearly exhausted. They effected their escape by slipping down the seat at the head, and swimming on shore, where they took the boat and proceeded to sea. ....."


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The Times, October 28th, 1811:

" ... Three of the prisoners who escaped from the Sampson, at Gillingham Reach, succeeded in getting over to Dunkirk; and, it is said, that, upon Buonaparte's recent visit to Boulogne, these men presented him with a memorial, describing, in the most flagitious way, the affair of the mutiny on board the Sampson, which terminated in the death of some of the prisoners; and accusing the British officers of having ordered the marines to fire upon the French prisoners, without any other provocation than the annoyance given by their cries when confined capriciously to the hold of the ship. ..."



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The Times, September 23, 1793:

" ... Saturday last, two of the French prisoners lately brought into Clyde, in the Canada, prize to the Prince of Wales privateer, of Greenock, were apprehended in one of the streets of Glasgow, and committed to prison. They had escaped from the Castle of Edinburgh. ..."



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Thu Jan 29, 2009 11:21 am
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The Times, October 21, 1801:

" ... The London Packet armed ship, Lieutenant Fegan, from Plymouth, bound to Liverpool, with 100 French prisoners, put into *. The preceding day, when between Falmouth and the Lizard, during the time the Officers were at dinner, the prisoners rose upon the crew on deck and thought by fastening down the hatches and scuttles, and arming themselves with handspikes, iron bars, &c to have been able to take the ship, and put the crew to death. The noise being heard on deck by Mr Fegan and his officers, the immediately armed themselves with pikes and cutlasses, and got up the cabin stairs; when the Frenchmen saw them, the precipitated themselves down the hatchways, which they were now as eager to get open, as they had been before to fasten, and in a few minutes orders was completely restored, without any injury to the officers and crew of the London Packet. Several of the Frenchmen are wounded... In consequence of the news of peace having arrived before the London Packet left Falmouth,.... it was not thought necessary to observe that extreme degree of strictness which had been beforehand; and the Frenchmen availed themselves of this circumstance, in order to carry their barbarous design into execution ....."


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Tue Mar 17, 2009 10:59 am
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Time Team help unearth world's first prisoner of war camp

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Wed Jul 22, 2009 2:48 pm
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There was some news and footage of the dig on Anglia tv last evening. I have ferreted about on their website for a clip but, alas, there doesn't appear to be anything at the moment.

I was delighted to see Dr Francis Pryor on the dig, as I would have expected. He is President of the Wisbech Society, of which I am a member, and a very approachable gentleman.

I'll look about for more information.


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Tue Aug 04, 2009 9:28 am
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I remember the nice bronze eagle that used to stand at the side of the A1 'Great North Road' near the turn to Peterborough, until some criminal toppled the column and stole the bronze eagle, nearly 20 years ago.

The original eagle on its column was erected to commemorate the Norman Cross Prisoner of War Depot that had stood near that road junction. It seems a bit ironic that it was erected just a month before the outbreak of the First World War.

A replacement eagle, costing about 30 thousand pounds, was placed on a new column a few years ago. It is located at the hotel/motel near the original site and continues to commemorate the French and Dutch prisoners of war who were held at the Norman Cross P.o.W. Depot during the Napoleonic wars, over 1700 of whom died in captivity.

There are several websites where one can see images of the new eagle, such as the Stilton Village site and the Geograph site which carries four pictures of the monument and a small location map.

Martin


Tue Aug 04, 2009 2:55 pm
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