“Castle Camp, Pickering, Memorial” Photos Submitted By Gordon Clitheroe
During WW2 the 6th Battalion Green Howards ( later disbanded ) were based at the Castle Camp, Pickering, North Yorkshire. The training camp was home to thousands of men before fighting in France. This camp has been demolished and replaced with modern dwellings, but a Memorial Stone has been placed at the original entrance into the camp this month. This will not only mark the camps existence, but will also pay tribute to the men who gave their lives in WW2, and while training on the North Yorkshire Moors.
Winston Churchill visited the camp in the build up to D-Day and the famous artist Rex Whistler was stationed there while serving in the Welsh Guards. He painted many murals while in Pickering and was killed by a mortar shell soon after landing in France in 1944.
The camp, which opened in 1940, was finally closed in 1967 and replaced with housing.
Earlier this year the Friends of Castle Camp was set up to raise the funds needed to erect a commemorative stone at the original entrance to honour those who trained and in some cases died there and on the nearby North York Moors.
The dedication ceremony took place on Saturday 12th November 2016, at 11-00 am with an address given by retired Major General Murray Naylor.
The memorial stone itself was unveiled by Jack Lawson who, as a soldier of the West Yorkshire Regiment, trained at Castle Camp during the Second World War and at 92 is the oldest known soldier to have served there.
Jim Woods, a former Scots Guardsman served at Castle Camp from 1953 to 1954 and it was there he met his wife Phyllis, who was a member of the NAAFI staff. They celebrate their 63rd wedding anniversary later this year.
“Being so close to the North York Moors, Pickering camp was an ideal base for military training,” he said.
“The camp played a big part in the life of the town itself and, given the NAAFI there is where I met my wife, it has played a big part in my life too.”
Historian and trustee of Pickering's Beck Isle Museum, Gordon Clitheroe, who helped coordinate the fundraising, said: “We are over the moon we have managed to do it in the year of the Queen's 90th birthday, which was our aim.
"The stone will record the existence of this key training camp built at the start of the war and will honour the thousands of soldiers who passed through its gates during and after the war, until its closure in 1967.
“They lived and trained here, and on the nearby North Yorkshire Moors and it is important that is commemorated."