Pauline Gibbs (Mrs Dean)
Pauline Gibbs lived in Old Road as a girl during the Second World War
The Italian prisoners of war at the Slade Camp were not very popular up Old Road and in Tilly's shop.
I remember the Germans there. Strangely they were much more liked and my Granny bought herself and my mother a fancy jewellery box each, made of wood by one of them. I was also given a plain, perfectly made one with my initials on it.
The German POWs were apparently nice to me and ruffled my hair as I reminded them of their little children at home. They also used to go to Tilly's shop.
Right: jewellery box with Pauline Gibbs's initials,
made by a German prisoner-of-war at the Slade Camp,
Headington in the Second World War
I did not like the Americans who had a guard post at the junction of Old Road and the Churchill Hospital. I remember one of them saying “I’ll come back for you in ten years, blondie”. I had no idea what it meant but it felt threatening, even as a child.
There were also the Land Army girls up The Ridings, in the house just past the Furze Wood, on the left going to Open Brasenose. I remember they used to come to the houses in Old Road and sell patchwork aprons which they made in the spare time.
Additional memories of the prisoner-of-war camps in the Slade
Connie Coppock remembers her relative Richard Gibbs mentioning the prisoners who were kept on land over at White's Farm (Wood Farm). The gates were just little up Old Road from the Crown & Thistle pub. She clearly recalls an incident when she was coming home from work after dark one night on the slight slope along The Slade by the end of Peat Moors, and in the blackout conditions bumped into someone who turned out to be an Italian POW: she cannot recall his name, but does remember that he claimed to be a member of the Italian football team. He tried talking to her but she had to tell him they were not allowed to fraternise. (Italian POWs were allowed out of camp after the Italian capitulation in 1943.)
After the Second World War, the Slade Camp provided housing for families:
see article in the Oxford Mail
if you have memories of the prisoner-of-war camp in the Slade, or the housing there after the war