A SECOND World War project which will shine a light on the controversial internment of thousands of innocent people in Bury has been given a £64,500 Heritage Lottery grant.

The project aims to delve into the murky background of the Warth Mills Internment Camp, where German Jews who had fled the Nazi death camps were incarcerated.

The project will also tell the infamous story of other internees, including Italians, who had lived in Britain for decades, who were subsequently locked up in the Bury mill.

In 1940, internment was hurriedly abandoned, but only after hundreds of the internees including Italians, Germans and Austrians from Bury, who decided to migrate, were drowned aboard the Arandora Star taking them to Canada, after it was torpedoed by a German U-boat.

The project is led by Unity House, based at The Met in Bury, which successfully applied for the funding.

The University of the Third Age is involved in the research and they are appealing to anyone with a local historic connection to Warth Mills to come forward with information and be part of the project.

Unity House's Richard Shaw said: “We feel privileged to be telling this story. The internment of Italians and German Jewish refugees has never really been explored and few people know about the full history of Warth Mills.

“We’re asking anyone in the community who might have had relatives in Warth Mills or who has any local history in relation to the internment camp to get in touch. We hope this project engages the local community and pays tribute to the hundreds of men who never made it home to their families.”

The events programme will include the launch of an exhibition at The Fusiliers Museum in Bury.

Nathan Lee, head of HLF North West, said: “It’s great that money raised by National Lottery players can help people in Bury to explore such an interesting part of Second World War history.

"This project will help to improve understanding of the history of Warth Mills and its role as an internment camp, whilst also providing valuable opportunities for people to share their stories and develop their skills.”