During and after World War Two, many Prisoners of War and European Voluntary Workers came to Tiverton to work and live in and around the town.
World War Two
During WW2 it is estimated that 400,000 Prisoners of War were placed in Britain, most of whom were put to work in agriculture, infrastructure or industry.
In Tiverton, Working Camp 92 was set up on Bolham Road. The camp is registered in the National Archives between 1945-48. The camp was initially intended for Italian PoWs, but was later also occupied by German PoWs.
When the war ended, workers were desperately needed to fulfil the labour demands of farming and wider industry. A programme of recruitment of workers from PoW camps around the globe began.
Those coming from European camps were known as European Voluntary Workers (EVWs). In the immediate post-war period, Tiverton received many EVWs. They were registered with the police but were paid and housed in hostels, or with local landladies. The Bolham Road camp (previously for PoW’s) was one such site. It housed many of the EVW’s who came to Tiverton in the years after the Second World War.
A number worked for Heathcoat Factory. Heathcoats is also known to have offered work to Polish-Ukranian refugees in 1947.
European Voluntary Worker Profiles
Read the full stories of two men who came to Tiverton in the 1950s, and forged lives in the town, by clicking on their names below.