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The board of the Beaufort County Historical Society gather around the new marker erected in Pigeon Point Park identifying an area near the park as the site of a World War II prisoner of war camp. Photos by Jeff Evans

WWII POW camp marker unveiled at Pigeon Point Park

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From staff reports

About 100 people gathered at Pigeon Point Park Thursday morning for the Beaufort County Historical Society’s unveiling of a new marker commemorating the prisoner of war camp that stood near that spot during WWII. 

Board vice-president Mary Lou Brewton and board president Dr. Lawrence Rowland, of the Beaufort County Historical Society, join Beaufort Mayor Stephan Murray in unveiling the marker identifying an area near Pigeon Point Park as the site of a World War II prisoner of war camp.

The U.S. Army opened the camp in 1943 to hold Axis prisoners. Around 250 Italian soldiers were housed there in tents and assigned to work on local farms. 

BCHS president Lawrence Rowland made some brief remarks at the unveiling, then spoke with The Island News about the history of Beaufort’s commemorative markers.

“At least 30 years ago, the Historical Society – which has been in existence since 1939 – decided it would undertake and be responsible for the management and placement of these plaques around the county,” he said. 

“It’s really picked up pace over the last 20 years,” Rowland continued, saying the S.C. Department of Archives and History has now approved 65 markers for Beaufort County.

The historical marker erected in Pigeon Point Park identifying an area near the park as the site of a World War II prisoner of war camp.

“We’re just getting started on the plaques,” he said. “The next one we’ve got coming, which has already been forged, will commemorate the Great Fire of 1907. The City will decide where to put that one, somewhere downtown.” 

About the new marker in Pigeon Point Park, Rowland said, “The Italian POW camp was a small thing, but it’s representative of the effect WWII had on America. Everybody has a WWII story. But here’s the thing: they’re disappearing. We’ve got to mark them.”

The BCHS gives special thanks to the City of Beaufort for the marker’s installation. For more information, visit www.BeaufortCountyHistoricalSociety.com or go to Beaufort County Historical Society on Facebook.

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