This 98 acre piece of land sitting on the outskirts of Bowmanville Ontario, has a history dating back to 1927. A history including abuse, crimes, war, nazis and abandonment! This is the story of Camp 30
The land was donated to the government in the early 1920s to build the Bowmanville Boys Training School.
The boarding school was completed in 1927 and opened its doors to delinquent boys. The school operated until 1941 when the Government of Canada announced that it was taking over the property for use as a Prisoner Of War Camp.
Why would the allies send Nazi prisoners half way around the planet? As the blitz on England raged and it looked like there could be a German invasion. Allied command feared the prisoners being freed and sent back to battle. The school now known as Camp 30 held approximately 880 Nazi officers including generals.
The most well known of which was Otto Kretschmer, a submarine officer who is Germanys highest scoring U-Boat Commander.
The German high command ordered the German officers at Camp 30 to arrange for the escape of Otto in 1943. The plan included a 300 foot long naval tunnel and a U-boat. The tunnel was completed but Otto never made it out of Camp 30 until the end of the war.
There was also the incident known as the Battle of Bowmanville. German POWs rioted and took over the camp for three days until the Canadian military regained control.
After the war ended, the barb wire and guard towers were removed, the prisoners were sent back to Europe or were granted permission to stay in Canada and the boarding school for boys opened back up.
The school was closed permantly in 1979 but this was not the end of the story for this property. In recent years it has come to light that the government has settled hundreds of law suits alleging sexual, physical and emotional abuse by teachers in these government run schools for troubed children. Acts of sodomy and other sexual acitivites, a kind of fight club they called scrambles. Where children were encouraged to beat each other are only a couple of the saddistic accusations.
There are still cases making their way through the courts today!
Despite some of the buildings being burnt down and others being demolished. A handful still remain and have heritage designation. Unfortunately they are being demolished by neglect and unless action is taken will be gone soon.