October 23, 1943: German POWs Arrive at Camp Ashford
On October 23, 1943, German prisoners of war were moved into Camp Ashford at White Sulphur Springs. This was one of two POW camps in West Virginia during World War II. The other was at Camp Dawson in Preston County.
Camp Ashford was built in the summer of 1942 by Italian POWs, who stayed at the camp until the German prisoners arrived the following year. The 165-acre camp was a standard army double-barbed wire compound. It could hold up to 1,000 prisoners, who lived in former Civilian Conservation Corps buildings. While imprisoned in Greenbrier County, the Italian POWs also helped local farmers make hay and harvest crops.
When the German POWs arrived in October 1943, they were assigned to Ashford General Hospital. The hospital was located nearby at The Greenbrier, which the U.S. military had taken over during the war. The facility helped wounded military personnel recover through activities like swimming and golfing.
The German POWs stayed at Camp Ashford until the end of the war, when the camp was shut down and The Greenbrier was restored into the resort that tourists know today.