Thursday, 12 May 2011

The Genealogist - POW records

Now available from The Genealogist website (

List of British Officers Taken Prisoner, 1914 to 1918

Over 7,000 British and Commonwealth Officers were captured during the First World War, and with few records available for Prisoners of War during this period, these records are invaluable for researching your military ancestors.

List includes name and rank, date they went missing, where/when they were interned and the date of repatriation. For Officers that died or were killed, it also shows the date and place of death.

Contains Officers of the British Army, Royal Air Force, Royal Naval Air Service and Royal Naval Division, with regiments of the Indian Army, Canadian, Australian, Newfoundland and South African Forces.

Can be browsed by page using bookmarks or searched by name, and includes a Name Index. Records are divided into West and East theatres of war, with individuals in the West Theatres arranged by regiment.

Some Officer POW's in Germany were allowed to take walks out of the camp and shop in local villages, if they provided their word in writing that they wouldn't escape. POW's in Germany could be sent to neutral Switzerland or Holland if they were suffering from physical or mental illness in the final years of the war. They were also permitted to live in hotels, could bring their wives to join them, and were allowed visits from sweethearts and relatives.

The records include W. E Johns, author of the ‘Biggles’ series, who was taken prisoner in September 1918 after his plane was shot down, and English film director James Whale, a 2nd Lieutenant in the Worcestershire Regiment, captured during the Flanders Campaign of August 1917. Whale spent two years at Holzminden Prison Camp, and whilst imprisoned discovered a talent for the theatrical, putting on shows for the guards and fellow prisoners. He directed numerous films including Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, Hell’s Angels, The Invisible Man, Show Boat and The Man in the Iron Mask.

The following records have also been added to the Military collection on The Genealogist:

• War Office List 1414-1921
• History of the Old County Regiment of Lancashire Militia
• Navy Lists 1836-1838
• Army List Jan 1908
• Hart's Army 1873
• Army Lists 1838
• List of Officers of the Royal Regiment of Artillery 1862-1914
• Salisbury Plain Military Directory April, 1914
• Officers of the Army and Royal Marines 1821

(With thanks to Beth at The Genealogist)


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