Ex-Italian POW Camp Chapel at Henllan

The altar of the beautiful little chapel of the Sacred Heart

The Altar and paintings

Hidden in the beautiful countryside of Carmarthenshire, West Wales is an old abandoned Second World War prisoner of war camp, at Henllan. From 1943 to 1946 it was used to hold Italian prisoners. Today, one can still see some of the old concrete huts used to house the POWs. Most of the huts have fallen down over the years, however, miraculously one hut has survived in a reasonable condition. Athough it does need attention.
For in one corner of the camp the Italian prisoners, who longed for a place to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, built a beautiful little chapel. This chapel, dedicated to the Sacred Heart is still there today and Masses are still occasionally celebrated. The prisoners built the chapel and fitted it out with whatever they could find and adapt. The results were quite remarkable as the photo to the right shows.

Here we see a Traditional High Altar with steps and Predella; behind is a Guardus to hold the candles and Tabernacle. Behind the High Altar we see a painting of the Last Supper. The altar rails are still there too and are painted to resemble marble. This painting and other paintings in the chapel were produced by one of the Italian POW’s Mario Ferlito, who sadly died earlier this year.
After the Second World War in 1948, the camp was turned into a school. In 1960, the camp was bought by the late Bob Thomson, who often wondered what to do with the little church and thought nature would eventually take its course, for it seem to be forgotten. Then interest was rekindled in the 1970's by some local school children and the artist Mario and some other ex-POWs were contacted and visited the camp again. Masses were again occasionally celebrated there with many of the Welsh-Italian community taking an interest and helping the owner to preserve it.
Today the camp and chapel is owned by Jim Thomson, the son of Bob Thomson. A fund has been established to renovate the little chapel and Mr Thomson would also like to hear from a sympathetic surveyor to help advice him on how best to spend the money that has been donated (further donations welcom). Please contact:

Mr Jim Thomson
Bro Hebog, Felindre, Llandysul, SA44 5XL, Wales
Tel: 01559 371598

The Traditional Latin Mass returns to Henllan

Fr Jason welcomes the congregation

Fr Jason Jones welcomes a packed congregation before Mass

A packed congregation of about 70 attended the Requiem Mass in the Extraordinary Form on 8th November, Remembrance Sunday, with many from the Italian-Welsh community. Some had traveled from England to attend this Mass.

The first Latin Mass to be celebrated in this chapel for many years was celebrated on 14th September to celebrate the second anniversary of the Motu Proprio which gave a parish priest the ability to say the Mass in the Extraordinary Form



The Mass in the Extraordinary Form - the beginning of the Mass and prayers at the foot of the altar

Mass at the PoW camp chapel














The Artist

A photo of Mario Ferlito, who as an Italian POW during the war, painted the chapel:

Mario Ferlito










One of Mario's preparatory sketches for the paintings:

working sketch











The photo below shows how the POWs used cans to form candles. The candles are in fact two dimensional with woden struts behind them for support, but from the front look like normal candles.

candle sticks

The Latin Mass Society

11-13 Macklin St, London. WC2B 5NH

Tel:020 7404 7284

Fax: 020 7831 5585