Little information survives regarding the camp after the Great War.

However, a specialist venereal disease hospital opened after the Armistice using the former German POW hospital.

Eventually, there was a return to a summer training routine and for some reason, many of the old P.O.W huts were removed.


The Glasgow Herald of July 8th, 1939 featured a short article on gas training at Stobs:

"A gas attack was made yesterday on Stobs Camp Hawick, where the men of the Lanarkshire Yeomanry are in training. Two R.A.F planes from Edinburgh crossed and recrossed the camp for 20 minutes, spraying acres of ground with "Z mixture".

"Z Mixture" is a substance which looks and smell exactly like mustard gas, but has none of the harmful effects. This is the first time the regiment has taken part in an exercise of this kind, but troops in protective clothing manned Bren guns on the hills and were able to keep up continuous "fire" throughout the raid.


Camp 1924

Two months later, with the beginning of the Second World war, Stobs became the focus of new activity and a new building programme was begun. Nissan huts were erected and electricity was generated at a new power station

Camp 1924

 Camp 1939

Secrecy surrounds activity at the camp during the war as little was written in local newspapers of life in the camp. Tank Regiments are known to have used the range above Shankend Viaduct and there are remembered instances of tanks "bogging-down" and sinking in some of the quagmires which surround the camp. 

Camp 1939

Units of the Royal Marines trained at Stobs from 1941. An intelligence report details a lapse in security at the camp on 3rd September, 1941:

"Sergeant Houston who was unchallenged by the main gate sentry enquired "Where am I?" Not only did he receive the name of the camp but also the further information that 3 and 5 Royal Marines were in residence, and Brigade HQ were in Stobs Castle. Lieutenant Anderson entered the camp on motorcycle at 2228, also unchallenged, and fired 2 pistol shots before riding out by another route. Two minutes later at 2230, L/Cpl Nixon walked up behind the Arms Dump and placed a time bomb by it whilst Sgt Polack kept the sentry talking: Nixon then fired three Verey Lights but the sentry took no action! One man took some photographs inside the camp without being challenged. It was obvious that there was very little security, and no security-mindedness in the Brigade"

Main Camp 1939


Boots being repaired

Ron Leadbetter wrote:

"The 1st battalion Irish Guards came back from Anzio, Italy in 1945 and when I joined them, they were at Stobs.

I believe the whole brigade were at Stobs.

Due to heavy loses at Anzio, the battalion found it imposible to be reinforced and did not fight again.

On VE NIGHT the town was solid with locals and Guardsmen."Bren Gun training

Bren Gun training, unit and date unknown


1st Battalion Irish Guards

2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles (definately at Hawick)

2nd Battalion Scots Guards

2nd Battalion Lincolnshire Regt.

3rd Royal Marines

5th Royal Marines

1st Battalion Welsh Guards


 Guardsman Albert B. Summers, no. 2702537, was born in Fraserburgh in 1917, and on 4th May, 1944, he enlisted at Caterham into the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards.

He was at Stobs from early November 1944 to late January 1945, where he received his 'finishing-off' training, and it was from there that he received his embarkation Orders for North West Europe.

In letters written to his wife, he described some experiences of Stobs.

My thanks to his son Doug for permission to reproduce some extracts here:

 Guardsman A.B.Summers

Albert Bruce Summers (1917-1993)


Letter postmarked Hawick, 10am, 3rd Nov., 1944:-
“Arrived at our new destination last night – and what a dump it is – it’s right in the hills, 6 miles from the town, and nothing but mud all around; we’re nearly ankle-deep everywhere we walk! The huts are awful, mostly those Nissen-type with no heating; the places for washing in are like troughs with only a roof covering them, no walls etc. – the lavs are the same! You should have heard our mob this morning - it was freezing cold and we had to shave and wash in cold water, in the open – and there’s not a mirror to be seen! We’ve been asking questions about when we’re due to depart here again, but everyone has different answers – some said that Embarkation Leave is starting at Christmas, others that we’ll be pulling out in about 2-3 weeks’ time. One thing is almost certain, if we are in this country for any length of time (4-5 weeks), I’ll be getting another Embarkation Leave and, of course, my squad are entitled to Privilege Leave again on the 17th of this month but, so far, there’s no word of not getting it – if ‘wishing’ has anything to do with it though, we’ll get it! I’ve already decided I don’t like Hawick!

Letter (no envelope), Dec. 1944?
“Sunday 6pm Sunday again…what a day, and what a hut! We’ve been stopped from sending our stuff to the laundry and have got to wash our own; it’s been like a madhouse here since morning – we have got to wash, but the water problem is terrific…we can’t get it heated! Some ‘earlybirds’ robbed the Officers’ bath-house, and others tried to wash with cold water – you should see some of the efforts, and hear the remarks and language going around; I only washed a towel, so I haven’t much to say! You can’t see the other end of the hut for washing hanging from the rafters; some forgot the rafters were thick with dust and just threw the things over – you should have seen the washing when it came down.

It’s common talk in Hawick that the Battalion is going abroad, so there’s a munition works giving R.F.Coy. an evening out on Thursday; there’ll be beer etc., but I’ll be flat broke by then. There’s a chance it may not happen of course as we’re supposed to be moving on Friday 19th…”

Letter postmarked Roxburghshire

( mid-Jan. 1945 from clues):-
“Thurs. 7pm We had a great day today, all afternoon was taken up with sports – tug o’ war, races, putting the ball, and 7-a-side football; our side won the football, but we’ve had a challenge tonight from No.8 Platoon to play them tomorrow with a full team of eleven, so now we’ve got to rope in another 4 lads! By the look of things meantime, we’ll be here over the weekend as most of the lads (all of them in fact) who applied for a Weekend Pass have been refused, so now we’re expecting them to clap on a 48-hours ‘stand-to’…it can’t be long now!

There’s a couple of ‘big shots’ from Regimental HQ in London coming here tomorrow to inspect us and we’ve been cleaning and polishing since tea-time; most likely, this will be our final inspection as a complete Battalion before moving off… (Just had bad news – Potter & I are on Camp Guard tomorrow night!)”


The BBC 'People's War' website is a treasure trove of WWII veterans' stories


George Daily - Black Watch, 1939-46

BBC People's WW2 Website - George Daily

John Richards - Grenadier Guards

BBC People's WW2 Website - John Richards

Norman Irwin - Scots Guards

BBC People's WW2 Website - Norman Irwin

The local people were very good to us lads. It was nothing, when out training in the hills, for a farmer’s wife to come out with jugs of milk and new baked scones to feed us up, much to the disgust of our sergeant. “This is nae a bluidy picnic” he would say. The farmer’s wife just ignored him. She probably had kin in the forces.
After a few months at Stobs Camp we said cheerio to the rats and moved into a nice clean nissen hut at nearby Selkirk [February 1943]. We also had a new Platoon Officer, who had just been called up, he wasn’t very old, about the same age as the rest of us. His first job was to give me a stripe, which I refused, but he threatened to move me away from my mates to another platoon, so I became a lance corporal! Yes lance corporal Daily...unpaid and unwanted! To make matters worse I was put on a charge on the first day of my promotion because one of the lads had not made his bed properly. This came to light during a billet inspection.
We soon got into the swing of our new environment, between training and visits into Selkirk. We went to all the local dances, although it was a bit dicey trying to do a slow foxtrot in army tackity boots. There were quite a few bruised toes amongst the Selkirk lassies, and a few broken hearts when we left.

I was there training for 3 months and then went on to Victoria barracks, Windsor for another 3 months training.

After that I was drafted to Stobs military camp in Scotland. It was like the Arctic there - snow, ice and no running water because it was all frozen. I was there until September and we had Irish guards there too.

During the first week of May 1945 we were on exercises camping at St. Marys Loch. We only spent a night there as the Sergeant came and told us to go back to base as VE Day had come and the war in Europe had ended.

We were in Hawick in Scotland. They sent them up there for training. We were supposed to be the bees’ knees. We were experts in desert warfare. We were experts in mountain warfare in Italy. We were amphibious experts.

We were training these guys. Of course they were sent down after VE day.
Up in the hills they had a built a huge bonfire in anticipation of this day. They put a 20gallon drum of diesel oil in the middle. They sprayed it with a stirrup-pump of diesel oil. Of course, you couldn’t light this thing. They got a 3-in mortar and fired an incendiary into it.

We took the Sgts mess bar up there. We used the 3-in mortar to fire star-shells and lit up the whole thing. As the evening progressed and it got into the early hours of the morning, we got inebriated. They put in a live round and seriously injured 2 men. We might have killed them! The whole town went wild, went mad.

[was nobody on a charge for it?]
The crew had disappeared. At that stage, nobody cared anyway.


Ian Marshall sent me the following:

My dad's name was John Marshall he seemingly served in the Royal Artillery and also the Royal Army Service Corps

He started his war service at Stobs camp it was written under his photo in civies and we assume this was him before he was given his uniform he had said that his first uniform dated from ww1 and another showed him in it.

One other photo is of "B" Battery 14th searchlight militia at Stobs Camp 1939 (shown above)


Only a small number of German Prisoners were held at the camp during the war and until the very last days of the war, they were housed under canvas within a small stockade. Another camp, Wilton Camp at Howdenbank in Hawick seems to have been the main camp for prisoners.
A story circulated of a German prisoner who was found hanged at Stobs towards the end of the war. The man had assumed the identity of a dead German on the battlefield by taking his dog tags. The prisoner was to be transferred to Wilton Camp but when he learned that some of the P.O.W's at Wilton had been in the same unit as the dead German, he committed suicide. It was thereafter established that this man had been a member of the Waffen S.S. He was buried in the Wellogate Cemetery.

German POW's 1946


Malcolm Mcdonald's Granny pictured at Stobs.

Date unknown.