Internment Camp No 133, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada

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Internment Camp No 133, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada

Post by Temujin » Wed Oct 28, 2020 7:57 pm

Internment Camp No. 133 in Lethbridge was the second largest internment camp in North America, with 13,341 POWs immediately moving into the camp when it was completed in November 1942.

NOTE: During this time period the population of the City of Lethbridge was 14,612

The POW portion of the camp was surrounded by a low warning wire, then a double row of wire fencing with a no man’s land in between. There was one gate into the camp and 22 guard towers staffed with three soldiers each. Three sets of accommodations for guards were outside of the fence on each side of the compound.

With the large number of prisoners, the Lethbridge camp became a city within itself, occupying 638.49 acres of land. The camp was divided into six sections. Each section had six dormitories, mess halls, kitchens, entertainment facilities and administration buildings. The recreation halls within the compound were each 145 by 140 feet and could seat 5,000 people. In contrast, the six mess halls could seat only 800 prisoners which meant that meals had to be served in shifts. Some prisoners took on the role of cooks, while other prisoners with non-combat training were engaged in their professions in other areas of the camp such as tailors, barbers, doctors and dentists.

Internment Camp No. 133 in Lethbridge was guarded by the Veteran Guard of Canada, which consisted of the Headquarters Company and two guard companies. Each guard company did an eight-hour shift and consisted of two officers, a sergeant, three corporals, 72 soldiers, one bugler and one jeep driver. There was a ratio of sixteen prisoners to each guard on duty and each guard was given a rifle. To detect escape attempts, unarmed guards called Scouts, would walk inside the compound looking for abnormalities and inconsistencies.

The Veterans Guard of Canada were a group of soldiers who had served in the First World War and were called to serve again during the Second World War. They were unable to fight overseas due to their age but their previous experience allowed them to be an important part in training recruits, protecting military installations and crucial infrastructure, and guarding prisoner of war (POW) camps. In the latter part of the war, new military recruits were sent to work as guards alongside the Veterans Guard of Canada. From an initial limited recruitment of a few hundred men, the Veteran Guards of Canada expanded to over 10,000 by 1943 and was 15,000 strong by 1945.

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Photo below is a funeral for a German POW at Camp 133
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