STARK, N.H. — Officials are looking into creating a second state veterans cemetery, this one in northern New Hampshire.
New Hampshire established its veterans cemetery in Boscawen 20 years ago.
Officials are looking at about 20 acres in the community of Stark, which served briefly in the 1940s as a World War II German prisoner of war camp, The Caledonian-Record reported (http://bit.ly/2vw3X73).
Stark is about 115 miles from Boscawen. Federal government rules say a new cemetery can be established if it’s more than 75 miles from another state veterans cemetery.
Mike Horne, director of the state Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen, says the goal is for veterans and families to not have to travel so far.
“Why not try to get that benefit to veterans in the north?” he said.
State Rep. Robert Theberge, a Republican from Berlin, says such a cemetery would accommodate not only veterans in the northern part of the state, in Coos, Grafton and Carroll counties, but also veterans from western Maine and eastern Vermont.
The 20 acres in Stark along the south edge of Route 110 is owned by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In 1944, in Stark, when the logging firm Berlin’s Brown Co., was looking for loggers to reverse a workforce shortage, the federal government established Camp Stark, on the site of a former U.S. Civilian Conservation Corps camp near town. About 250 POWs from Germany and Austria were brought up from Massachusetts. They worked the forests by cutting the pulpwood needed for the U.S. wartime effort. The camp was closed several months after the war ended in 1945.
Despite wartime animosities and suspicions, the experience left a positive mark on residents of two continents. Through the years, ex-prisoners and their former guards reunited at the site.
“I’m hoping we can also develop a museum for the German portion of the POW camp,” Theberge said.
Information from: The Caledonian-Record, http://www.caledonianrecord.com