For prisoners of war, miles from home and with little hope of returning any time soon, the small hut within Camp 68 would become their tiny corner of Ukraine.

It was 1947, and 463 Ukrainian POWs, members of the Galician Division who had surrendered to British and US forces in 1945, had arrived at the camp on the outskirts of Lockerbie – a dramatic shift from internment in Rimini on the Adriatic coast of Italy.

There, amid the rows of sheds that had previously housed German and Italian prisoners, the young Ukrainians set about turning a humble prefabricated hut of corrugated metal and asbestos sheeting into their own precious place of worship.

Simple and with little from the outside to suggest it might be anything special, once inside the men took pride in bedecking their makeshift chapel with decorative features: candlesticks were carefully crafted from recycled armoured shells, banners made from tents brought from Rimini – one bearing a tribute in Ukrainian to those who fell in battle - and a charming wooden Ukrainian chapel on the altar, carved using a penknife.

Similar to the Italian chapel in Orkney, the Ukrainian chapel at Hallmuir Camp, brought comfort, spiritual support and an ephemeral connection with loved ones back home, where returning put them at risk of dying from a Soviet bullet or banished to Siberia.

Eventually the Ukrainians dispersed, and despite the best efforts of those left behind to protect it, the years took their toll on the Category B-Listed chapel: the roof was in a state of disrepair and the wooden cross on above the door had started to crumble and numbers attending services became fewer.

Now, however, in a poignant reflection of events then and now, the little chapel is set to return to its former splendour, revitalised thanks to a series of urgent repairs and with exciting plans for new facilities which will see it play a key part in the lives of modern Ukrainian refugee families.

Before long, the precious objects made by prisoners 70 years ago will be returned to newly watertight chapel and religious services will once again be conducted from its small altar – bringing comfort to the area’s old and new Ukrainian community.

In the same spirit of creativity that saw prisoners of the 1940s transform the prefab building, the revived building will feature an artwork by a young woman artist uprooted from her Ukrainian home by recent events.

Eventually, a barrack alongside the chapel will be taken over to become a small museum telling the poignant story of the little chapel, the Ukrainians who made it and a more modern story of refugees and war.

The final phase of the £80,000 project to revive the chapel will be the erection of a large Cossack cross – echoing the type often seen on Ukrainian soldiers’ graves – in memory of the men who were detained within the Lockerbie camp.

It’s hoped the chapel will provide a focal point for the 8,000 or so Ukranians forced to leave their homes and who are now living across Scotland.

“If there’s a silver lining to this at all, it’s that some of these families, having come to Scotland and being very fluent in English, might stay for a wee while,” says Peter Kormylo, now 71, and whose father was among the 465 Ukrainian men brought to Lockerbie in 1947.

“If they do that, they will rejuvenate and help us to rebuild what has been a dwindling Ukrainian community.”

Hallmuir Prisoner of War Camp was built in 1942 to house up to 450 German and Italian prisoners.

By 1943, Ukraine was under German occupation. Faced with the threat of their homeland falling into Soviet hands, Ukrainian volunteers and conscripts fought alongside German units on the eastern front, hopeful that defeat for their foe would bring longed for independence.

Their surrender, however, placed them at risk of being sent straight into Soviet hands with potentially dire consequences.  The intervention of Pope Pius XII calling for Allies to find an alternative destination for the men saved their lives, and around 7,100 Ukrainians were brought to the UK.

Some 1,500 arrived in Glasgow on board the troop ship India Victory, in May 1947, and were sent to various camps across the country.

At the Lockerbie camp they were given civic status and a three-year contract to work in fields and forests in the area.

They were allowed to leave in the early 1950s, with many choosing to depart for new lives in the south of England, Canada, America, New Zealand, Australia or Europe.

Some, however, stayed, married local girls and raised families, while one opted to remain at the camp until 1991, when the Soviet Union began to collapse and he felt it was finally safe enough to return to his wife in Ukraine.

Even though the camp went quiet, the chapel remained a focal point for people with Ukrainian heritage, adds Peter, a former teacher who lives in Dumfries, who is a trustee and archivist at the chapel.

“Throughout my childhood, every month a priest came from Edinburgh and said mass in the chapel,” he says. “It was a chance for people to stay and come together in what became a social occasion.

“I remember them brewing their own beer and the hymns they sang at mass would turn into folk songs.

“But what happens with all diasporas, they get assimilated and the community dwindles.”

The Friends of the Ukrainian Chapel launched in 2009 to preserve the legacy of the chapel and protect the memory of the generation who created it.

Efforts to raise enough money to repair the building struggled until the chapel became a central point for aid collections destined to be sent to Ukraine at the beginning of the Russian invasion.

Once thrust into the spotlight, funds for repairs appeared from the Architectural Heritage Fund, South Scotland Enterprise and Historic Environment Scotland among others.

It now sports a gleaming new roof, new windows, new walls and fresh carpets, with hopes that it will be fully open again, and reconsecrated by September.

“We are very excited – the funding we have received has been a godsend,” adds Peter.

“There is a lot of history attached to this small chapel and it’s been quite emotional to look through the photographs of those who have since passed to eternal life and who I remember as young men.

“We now have the potential to create a proper little museum, to use the chapel and promote Ukrainian culture.”