Virginia Historical Highway Marker Dedication Oct. 11 to Feature Camp Ashby POW Camp

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

​The latest Virginia state highway marker in Virginia Beach will provide information on Camp Ashby, which served from 1944 to 1946 as a prisoner of war (POW) camp. Located in the Thalia area of Virginia Beach, Camp Ashby housed over 6,000 men during this period. Some of the German troops held here were from Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps. The POWs provided much needed labor on local farms and in nearby factories and manufacturing plants.

The marker will be placed along Virginia Beach Boulevard near the Camp Ashby site. A marker dedication ceremony will be held on Thursday, Oct. 11 at 11 a.m. and will take place at 4216 Virginia Beach Blvd., Suite 155 in the Wayside Village Shoppes. Delegate Jason Miyares, Vice Mayor Jim Wood and local military historian Fielding Tyler are scheduled to speak. The public is invited to attend.

The text for the marker was researched and developed by local historian Julie Spivey, who received a grant award from the Virginia Beach Historic Preservation Commission to pursue the marker application and to fund the marker. The Virginia Board of Historic Resources approved the marker application at its June 2018 quarterly meeting. The Camp Ashby POW Camp marker will be the 15th state highway marker placed in Virginia Beach. Virginia's historical marker program is the oldest such program in the nation.

The Camp Ashby Headquarters building was originally constructed in 1937 as the Tidewater Victory Memorial Hospital tuberculosis sanatorium. With the onset of World War II, it served as the headquarters for Camp Thalia and Camp Ashby. From the 1950s until 2017, the building served as the showroom for the Willis Furniture Company. The building was removed earlier this year.

The Virginia Beach Historic Preservation Commission is a City Council-appointed body that advises Council on issues related to historic preservation. The group seeks to preserve, protect and maintain the historic integrity of Virginia Beach and the former Princess Anne County through a program of advocacy and increased public awareness and involvement. The commission generally meets the first Wednesday evening of the month, except July and August, at 2101 Parks Ave., Suite 500. Please visit for additional information about the Historic Preservation Commission.


Camp Ashby German POWs (courtesy of Sargeant Memorial Collection, Norfolk Public Library)

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