It’s been some years since the camp at Cultybraggan was given up by the military (2004) and was ultimately purchased by villagers from nearby Comrie (2007).
Cultybraggan Camp in Comrie, Perthshire, once housed a number of Germany’s most senior and fanatical Nazis.
The site, made up of 100 corrugated iron Nissen huts, has undergone a major revamp after owners the Comrie Development Trust received two £10,000 funding packages from the Scottish Government and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Built in 1939, the remote maximum security site contained up to 4,000 German prisoners at a time, many of them the toughest Afrika Korps and SS troops.
And the ringleaders of the infamous 1944 Devizes Plot to free 250,000 PoWs from camps throughout the country – and then mount an attack on the UK from within – were consigned to Camp 21, as Cultybraggan was known during the war years.
Local volunteers from the Comrie Heritage Group (CHG) have spent months transforming the former guard room at the entrance to the camp into the home of a permanent exhibition giving visitors an introduction to the camp and the village of Comrie. The centre will open on Saturday 28 March.
Self-guide leaflets will be available at the centre, making it easy to explore the former PoW site, although guided tours will still run on a monthly basis.
I’ve edited out some of the original article content, and its title, since they include statements to the effect that Rudolf Hess was held there.
As far as I (and anyone I know who is familiar with Hess’s time in Scotland) am aware, there is NO record of Hess ever being held at Cultybraggan.
This seems to be a myth that is circulated between all the online media, but never cites a reference or factual record that verifies the claim…
Unless of course, you know better… and are willing to pass on the secret.
More information about the Comrie Heritage Group can be found on the Comrie Development Trust’s web site here:
It’s almost a year to the day since we reported Former Cold War Regional Government Headquarters in Crieff goes up for sale.
The BBC reports that “The complex went on the market nine months ago” – which means someone there can’t count, since we referred to its own story of the sale dated January 28, 2011.
Oh well, not my problem, I’m not paying their wages. Oh – wait a minute – I pay my TV license, so that means I do.
Anyway, the bunker has been sold to Lincoln-based communications firm GCI Com Group Ltd, and will be used to store confidential computer files.
The Comrie Development Trust took ownership of the site containing the bunker back in 2007, as part of a community buy-out from the MoD for £350,000 . When the bunker was completed in 1990, it cost in the region of £30 million. When it went on sale, offers of around £400,000 were invited.
While the data centre itself will not really create any new jobs in the area – it is a technical facility full of hardware – it is seen as making the area more attractive to investors, and has been described as bringing high-speed broadband to an area lacking such a resource. The lack of technology was given as one reason why local businesses have been held back to date.
Wayne Martin, chairman of GCI Com, said: “This will bring Comrie and the camp into the national spotlight for a best-in-breed hosting and disaster recovery centre, along with the camp benefiting from access to high-speed data that’s only really available in key cities within the UK.”
The former purpose-built RGH (Regional Government Headquarters) was located in the grounds of a former Army camp at Cultybraggan, north of Stirling. The Army camp had been created from one of the most notorious PoW camps of World War II, which had housed so-called ‘Black’ or Category A Nazi prisoners, the most fanatical. At the end of the war, five of the inmates were hanged for the lynching of another, thought to have been a spy, or just not sufficiently zealous towards their cause.
After the war ended, the Army used the camp, and much of the surrounding area, for training purposes, with the Nissen huts serving as accommodation.
You can read more about Cultybraggan and its features, including an exploration of the bunker carried out back in 2000 (sadly, not by us), here: Secret Scotland – Cultybraggan
In 2007, a trust formed by members of the local community – the Comrie Development Trust – bought the entire camp from the MoD, including the RGHQ. Since then, it has been working to persuade business to come and open up in the area, as described in a recent business article, Companies urged to set up at former prisoner of war camp – Herald Scotland.
In October 2010, the trust launched a two-week long ‘investment fortnight’ in order to raise awareness of the site, and attract business to set up within the former PoW camp. At that time, the bunker was not part of the offer, but it was noted that Scottish Enterprise was supporting a feasibility study into converting the former nuclear bunker at the site into a data storage facility.
It’s worth noting that the bunker at Cultybraggan is not one of the massive underground facilities seen at some locations (such as Scotland’s Secret Bunker), buried deep and protected by reinforced concrete, plus numerous other less obvious layers to decouple it from surrounding explosions (though still not much help against a direct nuclear strike), but is of another standard construction, having two storeys, and only partially buried.
Three months later, the bunker was placed on the market, with a suggested price of something in the order of £400,000. I guess that will either rocket upwards ff some data storage or ISP companies set their sights on the facility, or will lose a zero, and become a store, if no-one is interested. I found four tales related to the sale within the first few days, so am listing them in case any or all evaporate over time (well, I suspect the BBC’s will stay around):
Comrie Development Trust has now released details of their plans for the site of the former PoW camp of Cultybraggan, which it acquired last year in a community buy-out, and this includes the creation of some thirty allotments, conversion of the old mess hall into base for a local caterers, and the conversion of nine of the site’s Nissen huts in workshops and storage for local businesses. The trust will also be seeking funding to improve the existing drainage, electrical, and water supplies on the site.
Further plans were revealed which will hopefully lead to the development of a local history project, and the involvement of further commercial interests on the site.
Cultybraggan PoW Camp
During World War II Cultybraggan (Camp 21) held some of the most fanatical SS and Nazi prisoners. After the end of the war, five of the prisoners were hanged at Pentonville Prison, the largest multiple execution in 20th century Britain, after Wolfgang Rosterg, a German prisoner of war known to be unsympathetic to the Nazi regime in Germany, was lynched there. The reason is not completely clear; some sources say he was killed because he was suspected of being a British spy, while others simply claim that he demonstrated insufficient zeal in his support for the Nazi Party, and was punished accordingly.
Every time the BBC News features the camp, it repeats its story that “Hitler’s deputy Rudolph Hess was there for a night after parachuting into Scotland in 1941.”
We’ve been party to a number of discussions relating to Hess, and his flight to Scotland, and followed a breakdown and analysis of his movements from the moment he jumped out of his aircraft, parachuted into a field at Floors Farm, was captured, taken to the Home Guard HQ in Busby, then a Scout Hall in Giffnock, transferred to Maryhill Barracks, had his injuries tended to at Buchanan Castle Military Hospital near Drymen, then left Scotland to be held, on Churchill’s order, in the Queen’s House at the Tower of London.
I wish the BBC would source a reference for their tale of Hess’s stay at Cultybraggan – we can’t find one, and so far, neither has anyone we’ve corresponded with. If we have a piece of the story missing, we’d dearly like to put it in place, but need a reference.