Ukrainian Chapel, Hallmuir Prisoner of War Camp, Dumfries and Galloway

Colour photograph, 2003
Survey by RCAHMS

A group of Ukrainian prisoners of war incarcerated in Italy avoided being handed over to the USSR when sent to Hallmuir Camp, Dumfriesshire in 1947. As most of the men were farmers, the Ministry of Agriculture set them to work on the local land. The landowner, Sir John Buchanan Jardine, also gave the POWs access to a small army hut previously used as a chapel by Italian prisoners.

The simple exterior of the hut conceals the recreation of an ornate Ukrainian church. From 1947-50, the men filled the chapel with hand-carved statues, paintings, wooden pews and colourful ornaments. Other innovative creations included a tinsel chandelier and candlesticks made from shell fragments. On the high altar stands a replica of an Ukrainian cathedral, carved with a penknife.

Unable to return home in the climate of the Cold War, many of the men settled well into the local community. The chapel remains in use today.