Interpreter at a Prisoner of Camp, Leigh, Manchester



Interpreter at a Prisoner of Camp, Leigh, Manchester


Harry Hartley


Prisoner of War artwork, postcard, notes, history of Leigh PoW Camp, Handbook for Disabled Officers.


It appears that General Hunter-Weston was as good as his word and passed on Hartley’s request to the Intelligence Corps. However it was not until early September 1918 that it was decided to employ him as an interpreter at a prisoner of war camp. We find him at Leigh in Lancashire in March 1919, and it is presumably from his time there that a postcard in German and two pieces of artwork in Michael’s possession date. Michael’s research on the camp at Leigh is also included here, and the cover of a pamphlet written about it. The camp closed on 30th May 1919, to the relief of the local populace who were glad to see the back of their unwanted guests. Harry was then attached to the 2nd Dukes at Pembroke Dock, however by October he was featuring in correspondence from Latchmere Special Hospital for Officers. This was located on Ham Common, Richmond, Surrey, and had been established in 1915 for ‘insane’ officers. Then in late November it was reported that owing to him being medically unfit there was no alternative to him relinquishing his Commission. A memorandum to the Ministry of Pensions on the same day gave the cause as ‘Mental Instability.’ Harry had already been discharged to his home in Bradford on 3rd November. A fortnight later Harry wrote a letter from The Retreat, a hospital in York for the treatment of people with schizophrenia and mood disorders (he suffered from bi-polar disorder), to the Secretary of War (at the time Winston Churchill). He resigned his commission and stated that he did not wish to receive a pension. He later resumed work as a commercial traveller and married, but on the outbreak of hostilities in 1939 he returned to The Retreat where he would remain until his death.




Leigh, Manchester; Latchmere Hospital, Richmond; The Retreat, York.


Michael Berry

Collection Day

City Hall, Bradford (2/2/2019)

This item was submitted on April 9, 2019