Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
Windsor Prisoner of War Branch Camp
(Camp Windsor)
US Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District History
Windsor Branch Prisoner of War Camp was located in Sonoma County, California approximately one mile west of of the city of Windsor and six miles south of the city of Healdsburg. The camp was a branch camp of the much larger Camp Beale Prisoner of War Camp.

The US Department of Agriculture, War Food Administration leased this property to the War Department through a Memorandum of Understanding dated July 31, 1944, in lieu of a formal directive. According to the Memorandum of Understanding the period of use for the property, by the War Department, was from August 1, 1944 to December 31, 1944. The Windsor Branch POW Camp is depicted on a Real Estate Map dated July 15, 1946..
According to the Supplemental Agreement Terminating Occupancy and Accepting Proposed Restoration of Premises dated June 1, 1946, this property remained in possession of the War Department until June 4, 1946. According to Schedule A of the Supplemental Agreement the property consisted of a canteen, several sheds, a mess hall, a latrine, an assembly and nursery building, several utility shacks, laundry facilities, an electric motor housed in one of the buildings, a farm labor home, and a gate house and garage. The supplemental agreement also states that the War Department was to undertake removal of its property and restore the premises according to Schedule AA of this agreement . Schedule A lists improvements that were transferred to the Department of Agriculture which included a double laundry tray from the farm labor house, shower stall parts, double sink in kitchen of assembly building, trap and faucet, partitions, and an electric motor. It also provides for restoration of building sites, removal of debris and general cleanup.

An additional Supplemental Agreement dated April 7, 1947, states that the War Department's obligation for removal of their property and restoration of premises terminated on April 8, 1947. On June 4, 1946, the property was retransfered to the Department of Agriculture, War Food Administration and custody was assigned on April 8, 1947

250-man Portable Prisoner of War Branch Camps

When the need for a branch camp was identified and certified as valid to the Army, it sent a team to select a site for the camp to fulfill the contractor’s requirements while still ensuring that the prisoners would be properly housed and secured. In many cases, few or no adequate buildings were available for prisoner relocation, so the Army developed a “mobile unit” package that could be set up quickly to temporarily house 250 POWs. It consisted of 42 tents, sized 16’ by 16’, allowing 6 or 7 men per tent. Seven additional tents of the same size were used as office and storage buildings. Four larger tents were used, one each, for mess hall, shower, latrine, and chapel/recreation purposes. This entire layout was set up in a compound bordered by a single wire fence that measured 282 by 550 feet (155,100 square feet). Portable guard towers, with searchlights, were placed at opposite corners of the compound to permit clear observation in the camp. Light poles were erected at intervals both inside and outside the camp. Each tent would have one or more light bulbs for night use.

The guard force for a branch camp of 250 POWs consisted of approximately 160 officers and men. It was composed as follows: 30 camp guards; 70 “prisoner chasers” who were the guards accompanying the POWs to and from work sites and monitoring them during work hours; 15 NCOs to oversee the guard force; seven support staff such as cooks and clerks; 33 drivers and mechanics; and five medics. Usually five officers were assigned including the camp commander, three camp officers, one supply and mess officer, one POW company commander, and one medical officer (if available).

Typical layout of a 250 man portable Prisoner of War Branch Camp.

Historical Data Card - Post, Camps, Station or Air Fields
US Army Corps of Engineers Real Estate Map
Click above for a lager image.
Updated 26 November 2015