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When Jay got an invite to go on a dig with the co curator of the Fallingbostel Military Museum Kevin Greenhalge, he was like a dog with two tails.  We had been on a search with Kevin before, it was a number of years ago when he first set up a small private museum in the basement of his house dedicated to Stalag XIB/357. The site of the P.O.W Camp is close to where he lives.
 

The home of the Fallingbostel Military Museum within the Fallingbostel Station.

History of Fallingbostel Station

Fallingbostel Station was a result of the Nazi rise to power in 1933.  Within two years of this event the government decided that the Heide area was to be used to train Hitler's new Panzer divisions.  In 1935 huts were erected on a field close to the site of the present Heide Primary School and a new camp sprang up.

The Heide training area covers hundreds of square kilometres and barracks were built in Fallingbostel, Hohne and Münsterlager.  Many small hamlets and farms were destroyed to make way for the ranges and exercise areas, now only their names and some foundations and fruit trees survive to bear mute witness to the end of a peaceful farming life.

At the end of the war, prisoners of war housed in the camp were released along with the slave labour gangs.  They went on a rampage and 'liberated' a warehouse full of schnapps, tobacco and chocolate, finally burning it down.  They also destroyed a luxurious officers mess on the site of The-House-on-the-Heath and terrorised the local German community so much that they had to billet released British POW's and infantry soldiers with them for protection.  These people became known as "DP's" which stood for displaced persons.

Many of the "DP's" lived in a warren of trench's behind the barrack blocks.  They were originally used by the Germans  for air raid cover and then by the British as trash pits for all the building contents as they cleared out the blocks to house British soldiers.

A rare photograph showing one of the air raid trenches.

Permission

Kevin had served with the 2nd Battalion Royal Tank Regiment for 22 years, 18 of them were spent in the Fallingbostel Station, he is currently a Camp guard for the German Guard Service and also the co curator of the Fallingbostel Military Museum.  Not only did he know the camp inside out, he also knew the right people to obtain search permission.  On the Understanding that any significant find would go to the museum and a vigorous security check later we were allowed into the Camp.

An old aerial photograph of the camp

The Museum

Our first port of call was the museum.  Wow had things come a long way since the basement of Kev's house.
When we spoke to Kev a few months ago he told us how he had merged his collection with Captain Dave Curry 2Bn REME who had talked his way in getting a couple of rooms in the cellar under the REME families office.
By the time we actually met up a couple of months later they had taken over the whole of the cellar and look like they are out growing that !

Entrance to the Museum                                                            The receptionist

Left Hallway                                                                            Right Hallway

One of the many detailed dioramas                                           Just one of the many exhibit rooms

The Search

Looks like Soldiers are still dumping rubbish at the back of the blocks
 
Looking for a good location to dig.
 
Jay starts to dig out and old German dustbin
 
The bin contents and the cleaned out hole. note how we back fill as we go
 
Ken Kevin's son finds a Panzafaust

Kevin was pulling out spent Mauser cases by the hand full.
 
Find of the day has to go to Kevin for finding a Polish Dog Tag, probably once belonging to one of the "DP's"
 
Out of the ground and into the museum

 

Well That's the end of another crazy adventure.

Contact us if you have an idea for a search or an adventure.

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