Camp 31 – Fort Henry: Then and Now

Of all twenty-eight-or-so internment camps in Canada during the Second World War, I can only think of five that have either changed relatively little or haven’t been completely destroyed (at least from the external appearance) in the last seventy years.

Among these few is Camp 31 (originally Camp F) at Fort Henry in Kingston, Ontario. Built from 1832 to 1837, the fort was among the first sites chosen to serve as internment camps in the early years of the Second World War. From June 1940 to December 1943, the camp was the temporary home to German combatants (both officers and other-ranks), Enemy Merchant Seamen, and civilian internees.

Camp 31 - Fort Henry 1
Fort Henry today – Bing Aerial Imagery.
Camp 31 - Fort Henry 3
Camp 31 (Fort Henry) in the early 1940s. Source: Library and Archives Canada
Camp 31 - Fort Henry 2
1940s map over aerial imagery. As you can see from the photos, the buildings in the enclosure and compound, the guard towers, and the barbed wire fences around the recreation and lounging areas have been removed.

Published by Michael O'Hagan

Historian studying German Prisoners of War in Canada during the Second World War

6 thoughts on “Camp 31 – Fort Henry: Then and Now

  1. I have been to this fort having spent many summers in the 1000 islands region of NYS. Kingston was a favorite place for my family to visit. This fort served as a prison for captured axis soldiers – as was Fort Niagara on the Niagara River in NYS. My Grandfather, Al Beutner, was a Merchant Marine in WWII and delivered German POW’s to Fort Niagara. Now I wonder if he ever stopped at Fort Henry too.

    1. I have an old postcard, 1943 of fort Henry. I was told it was created by a German prisoner of war. My grandfather was a guard at fort Henry. I would like to send a picture of it. Where can I send it

    2. Thanks for your comment! From what I understand, the PoWs at Fort Henry were generally delivered by rail but if I find any mention of any coming by boat, I will be sure to let you know.

  2. My great grandfather worked in the stockade while my grandmother ran the lighthouse during pre and post war. My grandmother who was in her teens remembers the Germans teaching her swear words. She also remembered a statue they created, a man holding the globe. They were ordered to tear it down, i recently found likely the only photo of it. I have found photo’s of the Fort’s reno’s and others as well if you would like?

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