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Last updated: Thu 1 Aug 2013

The Nunney Catch youth camp of 1943

In the summer of 1943 Youth Service volunteers held an agricultural camp at Nunney Catch to help local farmers.

Boys play baseball in the sunshine in the field in which they are camping at the Youth Service Volunteers summer camp at Nunney Catch, Somerset.

Boys play baseball in the sunshine in the field in which they are camping at the Youth Service Volunteers summer camp at Nunney Catch, Somerset.

The organisation behind the Nunney Catch youth camp during World War II was Concordia. It was founded in 1943 to encourage young British people to help with the war effort by harvesting fruits and crops from the fields.

Participants benefited from a holiday and were able to earn a modest amount of money at the same time. The scheme proved so popular that after the end of the war there was a big demand for it to be continued.

In keeping with the atmosphere of international reconciliation prevalent after the war, it was suggested that young people from all nations be invited to take part to increase understanding, and make a contribution to peace among nations.

In 1949 the charity’s name was change to Concordia (Youth Service Volunteers) and since that date it has given the opportunity for people from over 50 nations to participate in the agriculture scheme.

Today, the scheme is known as the Seasonal Agricultural Work Scheme (SAWS) and offers foreign students the opportunity to do paid seasonal farm work in the UK.

Young people from all over the world can still take part in Concordia volunteering projects abroad. For more information, visit www.concordiavolunteers.org.uk.

Nunney during World War II

The story of the Youth Service agricultural camp of 1943 is part of the exhibition Nunney during World War II, first displayed in Nunney Church during the 2012 Nunney Street Market and Fayre.

The exhibition is still available online.

Boys play baseball in the sunshine in the field in which they are camping at the Youth Service Volunteers summer camp at Nunney Catch, Somerset.

Boys play baseball in the sunshine in the field in which they are camping at the Youth Service Volunteers summer camp at Nunney Catch, Somerset.

Three boys make their beds at the Youth Service Volunteer camp at Nunney Catch, in between breakfast and work parade.

Three boys make their beds at the Youth Service Volunteer camp at Nunney Catch, in between breakfast and work parade. Left to right, they are: Javier Sanchez (aged 16 1/2), Venanchio Zornova (aged 14) and his brother Mario Zornova (aged 16). All were refugees from the Spanish Civil War, and are on holiday from boarding school. The beds are being made outside the tents, which can be seen behind the boys as they work.

Boys of the Youth Service Volunteers wash, shave and clean their teeth in small metal basins on a long wash table at their camp at Nunney Catch.

Boys of the Youth Service Volunteers wash, shave and clean their teeth in small metal basins on a long wash table at their camp at Nunney Catch. The table is set up a short distance from the tents, which can be clearly seen in the background. The small hut or cabin at the end of the table houses a shower. According to the original caption, the water for washing comes from a water tower.

After a hard day in the fields, a member of the Youth Service Volunteers enjoys a shower at the agricultural camp at Nunney Catch, Somerset.

After a hard day in the fields, a member of the Youth Service Volunteers enjoys a shower at the agricultural camp at Nunney Catch, Somerset. The evening sun can be seen on the walls of the wooden shower hut or cubicle.
 
 
 

Boys of the Youth Service Volunteers queue for their supper, being served in the large mess tent at the agricultural camp at Nunney Catch.

Boys of the Youth Service Volunteers queue for their supper, being served in the large mess tent at the agricultural camp at Nunney Catch. The camp warden, Mr Dodd, and his wife dish out the meal. According to the original caption, boys doing agricultural work were granted double rations by the government.

Mrs Dodd, the camp cook at Nunney Catch, prepares bottles of cordial and sandwiches for the Youth Service Volunteers to take with them into the fields

Mrs Dodd, the camp cook at Nunney Catch, prepares bottles of cordial and sandwiches for the Youth Service Volunteers to take with them into the fields. Here, we see her pouring water into a bottle of cordial, as the boys look on, sandwiches in hand. According to the original caption, Mrs Dodd is from Yorkshire and is the wife of the camp warden.

A member of the Women's Voluntary Service (WVS) speaks to the driver of a small van, as she checks the list of Youth Service Volunteers to be transported to local farms from the camp at Nunney Catch.

A member of the Women’s Voluntary Service (WVS) speaks to the driver of a small van, as she checks the list of Youth Service Volunteers to be transported to local farms from the camp at Nunney Catch. The boys wait, Wellington boots on, sandwiches in hand, ready for a day of work in the fields.

Members of the Youth Service Volunteers hard at work carrying wheat from the field to the stack in the sunshine at Nunney Catch, Somerset.

Members of the Youth Service Volunteers hard at work carrying wheat from the field to the stack in the sunshine at Nunney Catch, Somerset. Left to right, they are Robert Drinkwater (aged 19, a radio research worker from Willesden), Leslie Write (on top of stack, a munition worker on holiday), Wallace Graham (aged 15, a coppersmith from Dartford, Kent) and Frank Gossett (on top of stack, also a munition worker on holiday).

Members of the Youth Service Volunteers at work clearing undergrowth and scrub from a forestry camp at Longleat, Somerset.

Members of the Youth Service Volunteers at work clearing undergrowth and scrub from a forestry camp at Longleat, Somerset. The wood will be felled later in the year, and the boys have 3000 acres to clear. Left to right, they are: D Scott (aged 15), John Hind (aged 15) and Roy Brooks (aged 16). D Scott and Roy are both apprentices at a Royal Ordnance Factory, and John goes to King Edward’s School in Bath.

Boys of the Youth Service Volunteers take a break from clearing scrub at an agricultural camp at Nunney Catch in Somerset, 1943.

Boys of the Youth Service Volunteers at the Longleat forestry camp take a break from clearing scrub and undergrowth from 3000 acres of forest, and enjoy a well-earned cup of tea in front of the camp fire. Left to right, they are: Desmond Scott (18), a capstan setting apprentice at a Royal Ordnance Factory; Ray Brooks (16), a tooling apprentice at a Royal Ordnance Factory; John Hind, at school in Bath; and Dudley Oliver (18) from Kent, who is working at the camp whilst awaiting call-up.

Three boys of the Youth Service Volunteers peel potatoes in the camp at Nunney Catch, Somerset.

Three boys of the Youth Service Volunteers peel potatoes in the camp at Nunney Catch, Somerset. The younger members of the Service, for whom farm work would be too difficult, do camp fatigues.

Henry Pribram and David Rice take part in a boxing match as part of the evening activities at the agricultural camp for Youth Service Volunteers at Nunney Catch in Somerset.

Henry Pribram (left) and David Rice take part in a boxing match as part of the evening activities at the agricultural camp for Youth Service Volunteers at Nunney Catch in Somerset. Henry is 16, a refugee from Czechoslovakia and studying at Beaumont College, and David is 18 and a miner from Aberbargoed, South Wales. The other boys sit on the grass around them to watch the match unfold.

Boys of the Youth Service Volunteers queue patiently to collect their pocket money at the Nunney Catch agricultural camp.

Boys of the Youth Service Volunteers queue patiently to collect their pocket money at the Nunney Catch agricultural camp. The boys are paid six shillings per week. Second from left is Victor Cordwell, who cut his hand whilst playing in the camp: according to the original caption “the sling is to win sympathy only”!

A member of the Youth Service Volunteers signs for his pocket money during pay parade at Nunney Catch agricultural camp.

A member of the Youth Service Volunteers signs for his pocket money during pay parade at Nunney Catch agricultural camp. Handing over the money is the warden of the camp, Mr Booth, who is an ex-Army and RAF Warrant Officer, invalided out of the services. Boys wait patiently to collect their weekly payment of six shillings .

Kenneth Pridmore (left, wearing a checked sweater) and Ivor Bounds (right, wearing a jacket) are checked back in to camp at Nunney Catch as they return from a day in the fields.

Kenneth Pridmore (left, wearing a checked sweater) and Ivor Bounds (right, wearing a jacket) are checked back in to camp at Nunney Catch as they return from a day in the fields. Taking their details is Mr Cable, the Country War Agricultural Committee Labour Officer attached to the camp. A large tent can be seen behind them.

Boys of the Youth Service Volunteers attend a dance which they have organised in the village hall at Nunney Catch, Somerset.

Boys of the Youth Service Volunteers attend a dance which they have organised in the village hall at Nunney Catch, Somerset. This is not the current village hall, but at the Nunney Church Rooms in Church Street.

Boys of the Youth Service Volunteers attend a dance which they have organised in the village hall at Nunney Catch, Somerset.

Boys of the Youth Service Volunteers attend a dance which they have organised in the village hall at Nunney Catch, Somerset. Many are enjoying a dance with a local girl.

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