A Snapshot of Stobs Camp, Hawick.

A Snapshot of Stobs Camp, Hawick.

Stobs military history dates from the early 1900s, when it was purchased by the War Office from the Elliots of Stobs Castle, to be used as a training camp for the British Army.

Following Britain's involvement in WW1 in 1914, thousands arrived at the camp with up to 5,000 men being accommodated at any one time. At this stage the camp contained 80+ huts, workshops, stores, its own post office, a hospital with up to 150 beds, its own light railway and a YMCA. The camp cost £46,500.

Soon Stobs Camp began to be used as a PoW Camp and a further 200 huts were added to the site with some 6,000 German PoWs confined. Security was increased accordingly, and the number of British posted there had increased to 15,000 by 1915.

The PoWs were employed in the continuing construction of the camp, building an excellent sewage system. They were employed on the land, for which they were paid one penny per hour or four shillings per week.

Few escape attempts are recorded, possibly due to the location and the presence of the training camp, and all appear to have ended with the recapture of the escapees. Two suicides were reported, and a cemetery was added to the camp, eventually containing the bodies of 35 soldiers, four sailors and six interned German civilians when the last PoWs left at the end of 1919.

The following Regiments are known to have trained at Stobs:-

2/4th - 2/7th Black Watch January 1915 - April 1915

2/1 Lanarkshire Yeomanry

2/1 Glasgow Yeomanry May 1915 - March 1916

12th Scottish Rifles May 1915 - December 1915

13th H.L.I May 1915 - October 1915

9th Kings Own Scottish Borderers June 1915 - October 1915

2/4th Kings Own Scottish Borderers August 1915 - November 1915

9th Royal Scots Fusiliers August 1915 - October 1915

9th Royal Scots October 1915

3/4th - 3/8th Royal Scots May 1916 - August 1916

4th H.L.I January 1917 - December 1917

5th Scottish Rifles September 1917 - December 1917

Apart from the training of British troops, Stobs saw the arrival of volunteers from the British Empire.

One of the most colourful units to arrive was a regiment of men from Newfoundland, which was still an independent British colony and did not become a province of Canada until 1949. Although the colony did not have a large population to call upon, when Britain entered into the war the Newfoundlanders found enough eager volunteers to form their own regiment. The men were camped at Acreknowe Camp, just a few hundred yards from the main camp at Stobs.

German Prisoners. Courtesy of Derek Robertson.
Stobs Camp Prisoners of War in 1916. Courtesy of Derek Robertson
German sailors at Stobs Camp. Courtesy of Derek Robertson.
Two German Sailors at Stobs from the Blücher following its sinking in January 1915. Courtesy of Derek Robertson
'Stobsiade' - POW German Newspaper
'Stobsiade' - POW German Newspaper, February 1917. Courtesy of Jake Coltman.
Officers pictured at Stobs Camp. Courtesy of Derek Robertson.
Officers pictured at Stobs Camp. Courtesy of Derek Robertson