Internment Camps: Southern Rhodesia – Camp No.5 (Fort Victoria)
Southern Rhodesia – Camp No.5 (Fort Victoria)
In 1941 internees from Abyssinia and Somalia, and refugees distributed to three additional camps. 1,500 internees were located at No. 5 at Fort Victoria. In April 1942, A Company of the Rhodesian African Rifles escorted 887 internees from Durban to Camp No.5 by train.
Camp No.5 was affected by poor policing and was under-staffed and a review determined that the conditions were appalling and resembled a penal settlement. No recreation activities had been organised and there was nearly 51 attempts of escape by the inmates.
At Fort Victoria, the Italian Chapel of St Francis of Assisi was built by the internees during the years 1942 to 1946. The paintings, murals and ceiling in the Apse are the works of an Italian civil engineer interned at Camp No.5.
The camp was closed in October, 1945.
- Keith Harrop