Thursday, 18 June 2009

Dartmoor Prison: 200 Years Commemoration

Michel Martineau has an interesting blog Les couleurs françaises sur une autre prison anglaise !, mostly in English, about an Anglo-French ceremony that took place on May 24th 2009 at Dartmoor prison.

Exactly 200 years earlier a long line of French prisoners straddled the 17 miles from Plymouth Harbour, where they had been kept in appalling, insanitary prison hulks, to Prince Town where a new prison was constructed to house them and later American prisoners of war. (1) Apparently there was snow on the ground when they arrived.

Painting by Paul Deacon.

Over 1100 Napoleonic prisoners subsequently died at Dartmoor prison in 1809-1816.

More information may be found on the Napoleonic Organization web site.

I notice on the Devon Council web site that
The brutal mistreatment of American prisoners of war was investigated after the war by an Anglo-American commission, which awarded compensation to the families of those who had died there.
According to this same site
Between 1812 and 1816 about 1,500 American and French prisoners died in Dartmoor prison and were buried in a field beyond the prison walls.
One sometimes wonders if we intentionally give the French cause for grievance! The 200 or so American casualties were dwarfed by the casualties suffered by the French, and there is no record of any compensation to French families for mistreatment of their relatives.

The following contains a video giving interesting historical background on the prison, which apparently now attracts 30,000 tourists a year. St Helena could do with some of those!

1. It is now often forgotten, by Brits if not Americans, that the UK was at war with the United States in 1812-1814 as well as with the French! Prince Town was named after the Prince of Wales, who later became George IVth.


Doctor FTSE said...

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Very best wishes.

John Tyrrell said...

Thanks for the kind words. My investment expertise has proved rather inadequate over the past 12 months. Will follow your blog with interest!