THE water tower of a former prisoner of war camp which also served as a secret Second World War communications hub has been put up for sale with a whopping £1.2 million price tag.

Now simply known as the Water Tower, the landmark building has been turned into a luxury five-storey home.

The tower is in High Garrett, between Braintree and Halstead and Braintree.

Left derelict since the 1950s, the building was bought in 2017 by Jon Oakley and wife Vicky, who lovingly restored it and unravelled the tower’s fascinating history.

The building started life as a water tower for a prisoner of war camp.

It is believed the camp, which was called 78 Working Camp, housed almost 700 Italian and German soldiers during the Second World War.

Perhaps most remarkable was the tower’s secret.

Unknown to nearby residents, the tower was also a communications hub which sent warning signals of enemy aircraft to the nearby Wethersfield airbase, which was used by the American Air Force at the time.

When Jon, 46, first explored the tower he found vintage wireless radios, switchboards and wiring.

He said: “The floors were all concrete and there were hatches in each one for a ladder which ran the full height of the building.

“It wasn’t like they had just left the room, but the communications equipment was still wired and secured to the walls – it was all rotten and rusty though from exposure.

“We believe it was run by Marconi, the British company which pioneered wireless long-distance communication.

“We have had one or two finds in the garden down the years – US Air Force knives, forks, spoons and ink pots, as well as helmets and empty gas mask boxes.”

The building has undergone extensive restoration and renovations since 2017, with the couple adding a new top level to the building which had been missing since the original water tank was removed after the war.

The new cladding had to be purpose-built off-site and lifted on to the tower with a 100-tonne crane. The top floor is now used as a dressing room.

Jon and Vicky, 40, who owns a tanning salon, originally bought the tower for £285,000 and have spent several hundred thousand pounds on the 14-month renovation.

Semi-retired supercar customiser Jon said: “We took a risk buying it, not knowing we would get planning permission.

“We have been able to save a local landmark that was derelict, disused and starting to deteriorate badly.

“Another 30 years and it wouldn’t have been there at all.”

Isobel Pile, of estate agents Zoe Napier which is marketing the tower, said the building was a “one-off piece of history”.

She said: “It is a landmark property that has been bravely and exceptionally well converted with its historic integrity in mind.”

You can view the home with OnTheMarket at .