East Boldon Anti- Aircraft (HER 1829)

East Boldon Anti- Aircraft Supply Depot - 2017
East Boldon Anti- Aircraft Supply Depot (HER 1829) This is the sister site of the anti-aircraft depot in Killingworth, and supplied Sunderland. Ruined buildings are still in-situ, but this is a private site so access is not possible, it is currently occupied by a paintballing club thus making use of the now derelict buildings.

Grid Reference:NZ36876063

East Boldon Anti- Aircraft Supply Depot - 1945
In the earlier Photo you can see how extensive East Boldon Anti Aircraft Depot was showing what an important location it was during the war. The site in later years would be temprorary home to a medical unit. A bomb disposal unit and later as a Territorial Army R.E.M.E. centre before falling into disrepair.

To the top left of the picture you can also see white objects in the field. These maybe examples of defences put in place to prevent the landing of enemy aircraft. Also Located nearby was a mooring point for a barrage Balloon.

Aerial Photograph RAF 106G/UK/745 6034 28-AUG-1945
(Reproduced by permission of Historic England Archive)

Post War Use
This site was still in use after the war as evidenced by this exchange taken from http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/

Depot, East Boldon

HC Deb 17 February 1947 vol 433 c123W 123W

Mr. Blyton asked the Minister of Supply how many persons are employed at his Department's depot at the anti-aircraft site, East Boldon, Co. Durham; the weekly cost, of keeping the depot open; and what average amount of traffic was received and dispatched each week over the last three months.

Mr. Wilmot Twelve men are employed at this depot, which costs us about 70 a week to run. Over the last three months an average of 23,000 ammunition components has been received and 15,400 dispatched each week.

Further evidence can be seen in the two Photo graphs with the site today showing the remains of an old Nissen Hut on the right of the picture, but on the original 1945 picture it is not there indicating it was a post War addition.

Auxiliary Fire Serivce, Memories of a Bomb Disposal Team based at East Boldon

Francis Craig Smith
British civilian member of Auxiliary Fire Service in Sunderland, GB, 1940-1943; engineering apprentice in Sunderland, GB, 1943-1945; officer served with 7, 20, 1 and 16 Bomb Disposal Sqdns, Royal Engineers in GB, 1947-1951; served with 28th Field Engineer Regt, Royal Engineers, 1st Commonwealth Div in Korea, 1952-1953 This is reel 3 of an oral history by Francis himself recorded by the imperial war museum.

Source: Copyright IWMComplete interview

East Boldon Camp a German P.O.W Camp?
an interesting article is included in the link from the Sunderland echo in 1947 about a German waitress working in Sunderland being visited by German Prisoners of war.

POW The Hutted Camp
Further research has revealed that the East Boldon Camp also housed German and Austrian Prisoners of war, a document located at the National archives, records English Lessons being taught in 1947 with 9 pupils in 1 class being taught twice a week.
The document also reveals that the POW's were attached to No 20 B.D. Squadron, R.E. which from the article about Francis Craig Smith above states that this is a Bomb Disposal unit of the Royal Engineers it was quite common that the POW's were put to work, repairing war damage and helping with Bomb disposal. The Camp commandant was a Major W.M. Browne in charge of main camp strength 61 and hostels 46 with a total strength of 107. There are a couple of interesting notes at the end of the document with one stating that about half a dozen of the POW's at East Boldon had apllied to have their repatriation deferred for a year.

Original Source: http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C1366909
Special Thanks: Steviesteve @ rootschat
Date: August, 2017

Off to Camp
Three officers and 25 men from 151 Inf Workshops, REME a Territorial unit with its head-quarters in East Boldon, leave for camp at Howick to-morrow morning. They will travel by road, arriving in time for lunch. During their fortnight in camp they will carry out repair work. The Brigade sports will be held on July 30.

Source: Sunderland Echo and Shipping Gazette
Date: Saturday July 23 1949