Station Headquarters

Pictures of the Sation Headquarters.

A miniature castle currently located outside the old Station headquarters, is believed to have been built by German POW’s in May 1945 outside Hangar 5 (Aircraft Repair Shed). Although this information is suspect.

Although in a dilapidated state it is Bovis and Linden intention to retain the little castle – thanks to Karen Milroy for finding this out.

I have just added some photographs taken at what is outside the old SHQ (10 July 2015).

This is what Eric Johnson said about the castle: I was in the USAF team that first took over Little Rissington. We always had wondered about the castle model which was originally between the 2 small buildings that were between the half hanger and the full hanger. The numbers escape me. Anyway, the castle was in decline because of the winters. It had been kept up by the Central Flying School and then the Rangers but only in a very basic way. With the laspe of time between the Rangers leaving and our taking over and then a winter, the castle was crumbling. We decided to move it to the front of the HQ bldg.

One Sunday afternoon I worked with 6 of my people (there were only 8 there at the time), a bunch of shovels, and a 16K forklift. We dug out under the castle and ran the tines of the forklift under it. Then we very carefully lifted it and then drove it the couple of blocks to the HQ. Meanwhile, a couple of the folks had gone ahead and prepared a base of concrete blocks. We had a devil of a time setting it down because the bottom was just rough concrete and it was hard to level and keep from sliding off. Anyway, we finally got it set in place. On Monday, the PSA had a stone mason come in and finalize the base and then recreate any missing pieces. It was situated centered between the two flag poles. Once it was sited and repaired, it became sort of a focal point for the landscaping.

6 Comments

  • When I told the story about moving the castle, I meant to include a discussion of our frustration in not finding its origin. When we talked to all the local folks who been there during and after the war, all said that there had never been German POWs at Rissie. Thus, the only clue we were able to find was the chap’s name … Edwin D. St. John. Who he was and the connection to the castle we never learned.

  • Eric – a resident did some research and she found this information about the caste (thank you Karen Milroy).

    The miniature castle is mentioned in a report by Roger JC Thomas written in 2003 for English Heritage, where he talks about the impact of prisoners of war on the surrounding communities and their lasting legacy in the form of their artistic creative abilities. Apparently in the report it mentions both the miniature castle and the fountain as being built by POW’s. From the report:

    “The impact of the thousands of prisoners on surrounding communities has been discussed at length in Dr Anthony Hellens’ paper, ‘Temporary settlements and transient populations. The legacy of Britain’s Prisoner of War camps’. Erdkunde (Archive for Scientific Geography) 53(3), 191–219, (1999), but a further legacy in the form of physical evidence of the prisoners’ creative activities lies beyond the boundaries of the PoW camps. These can range widely both in form and in materials, and in geographical distribution. A series of large oil paintings depicting the stations of the cross painted by an Italian PoW can be found at the Roman Catholic church of St Thomas of Canterbury at Wolsingham in County Durham. What is even more remarkable about these paintings is that they are mounted in decorative wooden frames made by a German PoW.

    Concrete statues of Romulus and Remus greet visitors entering Stoberry Park, Wells, Somerset. Similar concrete ornamental features including a fountain and a model castle can be found at the former RAF Little Rissington, Gloucestershire. At the Warcop Army Training Estate in Cumbria carved stone blocks have been placed in the flanking walls of a tank range blockhouse.”

    https://content.historicengland.org.uk/images-books/publications/prisoner-of-war-camps/prisoner-of-war-camps.pdf/

    • All I know is that 3 individuals living immediately adjacent to the base said they didn’t know who built the castle and that there were no POWs at Rissie. It appears as though we have a puzzle … and that’s as it always was. We had a team of 6 officers that toured virtually every disused RAF base looking for hospital sites. Anyone we talked to that was familiar with Rissie we’d ask, ” Who built the castle?” We never got an answer. It was if Father Christmas had dropped it in one year.

  • there are names and dates on the castle. both names are germanic sounding.

    • There is one original name … Edwin D. St John. Any other names were recently added. We lived there for three years and became quite friendly with the local farmers. Many of them had been there before and during the war and they swore that there were no German POWs at Rissington.

Leave a Reply