Opening up our prisoner of war collection

In December 2014, the Ministry of Defence transferred to The National Archives the series of records WO 416 consisting of an estimated 190,000 records of individuals captured in German occupied territory during the Second World War, primarily Allied service men (including Canadians, South Africans, Australians and New Zealanders) but also several hundred British and Allied civilians and a few nurses.

The series also includes several thousand records relating to deceased allied airmen, whose bodies were found by or near to their aircraft which had been shot down. To some degree, these act as a record of death as the individuals were never prisoners of war as such.  The number of cards for each individual varies from one to fifteen, but in most cases there are just one or two.

The records are in the form of cards and they record (with certain exceptions) a varying amount of detail which can include the following:

  • Camp name (Gefangenenlager)
  • Camp number (Gefangenen Nummer)
  • Country of origin
  • Surname (Name)
  • First name/s (Vorname)
  • Place and Date of birth (Geburtstag und Ort)
  • Father’s first name (Vorname des Vaters)
  • Mother’s maiden name (Familienname der Mutter)
  • Name and Address of Next of Kin
  • Religion
  • Health and illnesses and subsequent treatment
  • Date and Place of Capture (Gefangenname – Ort und Datum)
  • Where transferred/transported from
  • Details of escape
  • Details of death
  • Service (e.g. Army, Air, Navy, Civilian) (Truppenteil)
  • Service rank (Dienstgrad)
  • Service number (Matrikel Nummer)

While the majority of the cards are of Allied service personnel, many cards relate to Merchant Navy Ratings, Merchant Navy Officers, South Africans, Palestinians, New Zealanders, and Australians, and a limited number of cards are of individuals of American, Norwegian, Chinese, Arabic, and Cypriot origin.

There are also a number of cards for individuals who are listed as ‘unknown’ at WO 416/415-417. The entries on these cards are written in German only (and are usually noted as English with a blue cross).

Cards show details of deaths by use of symbols such as black, blue and red crosses; there are pink cards created when prisoners received medical attention while captive.

Cards for some service personnel are missing as they were taken out of the collection to be used as evidence to support the claims made by Prisoners of War after the end of the Second World War. In most cases, the card was placed on the claim file and not returned to this series. These cards may form part of personnel’s service records, still held by the Veterans Agency.

The entire series has been closed: since the collection was accessioned in 2014 it is is not catalogued by name of individual as many may still be alive – we believe that the youngest of them was born in 1928. The collection can contain sensitive information about living individuals so, with the support of volunteers, we have started to catalogue the entire series: this enables us to open records for those born more than 100 years ago or where we have proof of death.

This ambitious project will continue until the end of 2020 and for the main we are working our way through the series alphabetically by surname. This page, under ‘Arrangement’, provides a link to the projected completion stages of the project, subject to change. Fifteen per cent of the collection has now been catalogued by name of individual; we have loaded this information on Discovery so researchers can access the material on site or arrange for digital or paper copies to be sent to them. We are offering a paid search service for uncatalogued pieces for those who do not want to wait until the project has completed: details of this service are available at piece level descriptions in Discovery.

Please note: as we are cataloguing the series, although cards are arranged in boxes according to alphabetical groupings, we are discovering some that are misfiled and can be found in pieces with descriptions outside their surname range. Very occasionally, cards for the same individual can be found in multiple boxes.

One of the first items we catalogued was for the film actor Peter Butterworth, who would later become famous for starring in a number of films (including some of the Carry On series, such as ‘Carry on Camping’, in which he played Joshua Fiddler, the laid-back camp site manager).

During the Second World War he served as a lieutenant in the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm. In June 1940, while flying in an attack on the Dutch coast, his plane was shot down and he was captured on the island of Texel. As a prisoner of war he was eventually sent to Stalag Luft III, near Sagan in Poland, later to be the scene of the Great Escape, immortalised in the classic 1963 movie starring Steve McQueen. It was a compound of huts accommodating allied officers, including non-commissioned officers and members of the Fleet Air Arm.

Butterworth played his part in helping prisoners escape but reputedly, when he later auditioned for a part in the 1950 film ‘The Wooden Horse’, based on another escape from the camp, the film-makers considered him ‘unconvincingly heroic or athletic enough’.

Peter W Butterworth

WO 416/53/114: Prisoner of War card for Peter Butterworth

Also held captive in Stalag Luft III was RAF Squadron Leader Roger Joyce Bushell. He had been captured at Boulogne in May 1940. He became part of an escape committee alongside other prisoners including Wing Commander Harry Day and  Fleet Air Arm operator Jimmy Buckley (WO 416/45/154).

Sadly, Bushell didn’t survive the war, being captured and executed following his escape. As for Buckley, his body was never found following his escape attempt on 21 May 1943. The part of Bushell (WO 416/47/197) was famously played by Richard Attenborough in the film ‘The Great Escape’.

WO 416/45/154: James (Jimmy) Brian Buckley

WO 416/45/154: James (Jimmy) Brian Buckley

WO 416/47/197: Prisoner of War card for Roger Joyce Bushell

WO 416/47/197: Prisoner of War card for Roger Joyce Bushell

WO 416/47/197: Prisoner of War card for Roger Joyce Bushell. The black cross signifies death.

WO 416/47/197: Prisoner of War card for Roger Joyce Bushell. The black cross signifies death.

This collection complements other series of records held at The National Archives and helps to paint a vivid picture of what life was like as a prisoner of war. Other relevant records include escape and evasion reports in WO 208, which give individual accounts of escape attempts or capture, or awards for those who assisted escape attempts. Series  WO 344 includes questionnaires completed by liberated prisoners of war who had been held captive by the Germans or Japanese. These records are arranged by nation (Germany or Japan) and then alphabetically; WO 208/5437-5450 for special questionnaires made by individuals about work of escape committees, escape aids, German Censorship and collection of geographic information which might assist future escape attempts; and selected lists of British and Commonwealth prisoners of war in WO 392/1-26.


  1. David Matthew says:

    Interesting and very worthwhile. Peter Butterworth was in one of the early (original) Doctor Who episodes as “The Meddling Monk” (trying to change history before the invasion in north-east England in 1066). Are the POWs who were executed at Buchenwald open?. I would add that there are additional records of POWs in FO 950 series (Nazi Persecution claims files).

    1. Roger says:

      Thanks for your comment, David. We are working through the collection piece by piece, the series is for the main arranged by surname so cards of all camps are spread across the series. We are opening cards where the subject is more than 100 years old or where death is indicated on the card.

    2. Ian Sayer says:

      Hello Roger
      I can confirm that Harry ‘Wings’ Day died in Malta in February 1977. I saw his daughter a few months ago.
      As a matter of interest the examples you have featured were all initially accommodated at Dulag Luft,
      (Transit Camp Air) in Oberusel. On the 19th February 1041 18 RAF officers, including 14 members of the Permanent Staff, tunnelled their way to freedom in what was actually The first Great Escape. All were recaptured but some also participated in the 1944 Great Escape. A number of these officers were present at the 24th birthday party of Mike Casey (killed following the Great Escape) . Those attending the event were Harvey Vivian, Donald McHardy, ‘Paddy’ Byrne, John Casson, John Gillies, Roger Bushell, ‘Bacchus’ Baughan, Richard Thurstan, Alan Madge, Richard Hardy, Peter Wimberley, J H Green, Eric Elliott, Benston Freeman, C R Hubbard, Richard ‘Dicker’ Partridge, Peter Butterworth, Vincent ‘Bush’ Parker, A B Corbett, John B Dodge, Harry ‘Wings’ Day, James Buckley, Nicholas Tindal and John ‘Boardie’ Boardman. Fascinating bunch of characters! Regards Ian

  2. Richard says:

    Fascinating and valuable which will bring yet another useful resource to the fore – particularly the records of deceased airmen as there are few Missing Research Enquiry Service records available and Casualty Packs are slow to be released.

    One query. Was Harry ‘Wings’ Day executed following the Great Escape?

    My understanding (based on reading various sources including PoW questionnaires at the NA) is that he survived the war and died in the 1970s.

    1. Roger Kershaw says:

      Thanks for your comment Richard. If it survives, Harry Day’s record ought to be in the record
      WO 416/92 as this document should contain records for individuals within the name range Alfred DAY – William DEAR. We should have completed work on this box by July 2018 and will be able to open the record if evidence of the death is indicated on the record or if his date of birth is more than 100 years ago. Online sources suggest he was born in 1898 and died in 1977

  3. Richard says:

    Hello again Roger and thank you for your speedy reply.

    Just to add to your info above for those interested, I have found reference to Day’s death both online and in a post-war testament from him citing the work of Pilot Officer John Gillies attached to Gillies’ PoW Questionnaire at Kew.

    Gillies (son of the famous plastic surgeon) was shot down around the same time as Roger Bushell and was part of the team sending and receiving coded messages (written by Bushell and many others) while a PoW.

    Day was shot down on 31 October 1939 (Air 81/27) and was the sole survivor of his crew. He was the first Senior British Officer at Dulag Luft, the Luftwaffe operated reception and holding centre for captured allied) until 1941 until he was moved to a PoW camp. He too communicated with British intelligence via coded letters. Skilked at building rapport with his captors, a number of prisoners (wrongly as they were unaware of his clandestine work) made accusations of collaboration against him.

    Finally, he is mentioned on a number of occasions in Clutton-Brocks work on RAF Bomber Command ‘The Footprints on the Sands of Time’ (2003).

    1. JOHN HAMMAR says:

      Quite true. I have a copy of Sydney Smith’s biography “Wings Day”. A very brave Man, whose story also appears in “Moonless Night” B.A. (Jimmy) James and “The Dodger” ( Tim Carroll’s biography of Major Dodge). All three of them and Sydney Dose were captured after escaping from Stalag Luft III in the Great Escape but were not executed. They were taken to the Sonderlager of Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp – and promptly dug another tunnel and escaped again. All were recaught and somehow escaped murder by the SS and subsequent movement to other KZ camps (Flossenburg) and were liberated in the Tyrol. Wings discovered that his wife had left him during the war, re-married and his second wife “ran off” with Sydney Dowse. Desperately tragic and part of my thoughts when I paid my respects at the memorial to the murdered fifty Great Escapers at Sagan in what is now Poland.

  4. Thomas Jeffers says:

    I would be interested in volunteering to support this project.

    1. Liz Bryant (Admin) says:

      Hi Thomas,

      Thanks very much for your comment. You can find more information about volunteering with us at

      Please contact if you would like to get involved.

      Best regards,


    2. Marilyn Walton says:

      My father, Thomas Jeffers, was an American POW at Stalag Luft III.

      Very happy to see these files made available.

  5. Bill Robertson says:

    I have previously submitted a request via FOI for this information regarding my late great grandfather however nothing was found. Would I be correct in thinking that in carrying our the FOI request staff at the Archives would restrict themselves to only the box of records where the file was believed to be held? Both boxes where I would expect the records to be (surname: Conway) yielded no records. There was nothing included with his service records so I am left with the possibility that his records may have been mis-filed.
    I realise that nothing can be guaranteed but was curious if the processing done so far had uncovered a significant amount of files in the wrong boxes which might indicate that those types of enquiries were worth pursuing.

    1. Roger Kershaw says:

      Hi Bill

      I would expect records for those with the surname Conway to be in pieces WO 416/75 and WO 416/76. These are currently being catalogued and should be itemised by individual on Discovery before July 2018. For the main, records of individuals are where you would expect to find them in sequence by surname but during the process of cataloguing we have found some misfiled among the records of somebody else, some have been wrongly filed under the forename and some surnames are wrongly spelt so appear out of sequence. As these records were compiled by a large number of individuals whose first language was not English across many camps, it is not surprising that such errors exist but the project should uncover all in due course.

  6. […] The UK National Archives posted about opening up their World War II prisoner of war collection. […]

  7. Vincent Tickner says:

    Unfortunately, I will probably have to wait until December 2020 for the record of my father, Acting P.O. Frederick James Tickner (1921-1975) R.N., but you might like to know that I deposited a photocopy of his wartime-log with the Imperial War Museum. He was captured on June 19, 1942, and taken to Marlag P.O.W. Camp, Westertimke, Tarnstedt, Germany, between Hamburg and Bremen. His P.o.W. number was 19006. He only got back to Blighty on May 9, 1945.

    1. Roger Kershaw says:

      Dear Vincent

      We are offering a paid search service for pieces yet to be catalogued. You may wish to consider this for WO 416/362 –

  8. Shelagh Smethurst says:

    Although my father was a prisoner of the Japanese, I wanted to thank all of you at Kew for the excellent work you are doing to increase our knowledge of what happened to prisoners in the 2nd World War.

    1. Roger Kershaw says:

      Dear Shelagh

      Thanks you for your comments

      If you didn’t already know, records of Prisoners of War captured by the Japanese are already available on line in the series WO 345 –

      For more information please see Section 7.2 in this guide –

    2. Bernie the Bolt says:

      Does William Wilfred Spink, Stella Grundtwig mean anything to you? I am a direct descendent researching Jessie.

  9. Michael says:

    I am researching my Father in Law who was serving in the RAF in Singapore & later shot down & captured off Banka Island near Sumatra in early February 1942, he was held as a prisoner of war there by the Japanese for a number of years – will your records have any information on this location in due course?

    1. Roger Kershaw says:

      Dear Michael
      Thanks for your comment

      These are already available on line in the series WO 345 –

      For more information please see Section 7.2 in this guide –

  10. Denise Bastien says:

    Are there similar records for US held prisoners by the Japanese? My father was captured at Wake Island in 1941 and we have little information.

    1. Roger Kershaw says:

      Dear Denise

      Thanks for your comment. In the first instance I suggest you contact the US National Archives –

      British Prisoners of War captured in Japan are available on line in the series WO 345 –
      For more information please see Section 7.2 in this guide –

  11. David C Carlson, Ph.D. says:

    Wonderful contribution to accessibility of very fascinating and important documents from the World Wars! “Pure dead brilliant!”

    Question: What about the British Ministry of Defence and/or UK British Army records for Axis prisoners held in PoW camps in Britain?

    I ask because while my late grandmother was in the ATS in southern England, where she met and married my late grandfather–one of the Yanks that invaded Britain ahead of opening the Second Front in 1944, my wife’s family include very many Germans. One of these, a great uncle, was captured by Canadians during the breakout from the Normandy beach head. It has proven impossible to find out anything about whether he was in the UK, Canada, or even the United States for that matter. The German Dienstelle insist that only a direct, lineal descendant or someone with Power of Attorney status can access the record given the Bundesrepublik’s rather stringent privacy laws, even though everyone in question is deceased.

    Are those records, i.e. enemy personnel captive in Allied custody on a schedule for digitization of some kind?

  12. Ann fielding says:

    Although my father was not part of any escape plans from stalag Luft 3 he nevertheless spent the remaining 2/3 years as a prisoner there and I would love to add his information if any, to his service record and all the other research that I have done. His life was a mystery to us as he never spoke of his time between 1940 and 1945 when he was repatriated. His name was Ernest Rex Orland .

    1. Roger Kershaw says:

      Dear Ann
      We are offering a paid search service for pieces yet to be catalogued. You may wish to consider this for WO 416/278 –

  13. Barry says:

    It is very exciting that these records have appeared. I am interested in finding all those who lived in a particular town, I have already have found a few from oral and newspaper sources. Can the records accessed using a search locating the address of next of kin? It is part of a Society’s Local History Project.

    1. Roger Kershaw says:

      Dear Barry

      Thanks for your comment

      We are capturing place of birth where it is given. Additional information such as address of next of kin can be found on the cards but please be aware that such information is not always provided as the level of details do very from person to person and camp to camp.

  14. Jina says:

    Are there any plans to release documents of foreign POW captured by The British and brought to camps in England and Wales? These could also be interesting for descendants of the many POW that stayedhere after the war and married British subjects.

  15. Geoff Smith says:

    An interesting blog Roger. I have three such cards for an RAF airman – one from Dulag Luft and two virtually identical ‘Personalkarte’. The airman was originally held at Camp Luft 7, but in Jan/Feb 1945 was involved in the forced march inflicted on the prisoners, who were in danger of being liberated by the Russians. He ended up in Stalag III-A at Luckenwalde, and I had gained the impression that a number of POWs ‘liberated’ their POW records as souvenirs, after the camp fell to the Russians in April. I wonder if there is any pattern – if it could be described as such – to the survival of these cards from particular camps?

  16. Pat Vinycomb says:

    Hello Liz,
    Interested in obtaining any information held about my Father Sqn.Ldr Stanley Booker. We have documents re his incarceration in Buchenwald KZ Aug 1944 looking for documents re transfer to Stalag Luft 3 then the winter march to Luckenwald.

    1. Roger Kershaw says:

      Hi Pat

      Unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be a record in the piece where we would expect it which is WO 416/35. This piece has already been catalogued

  17. Bill Robertson says:

    Thank you Roger. WO 416/75 and WO 416/76 are the two series I asked to have looked at via FOI. My great grandfather was in a lot of camps so his records were probably moved around a lot which increases the chance of misfiling. Even if his files are lost for good it’s great that these records are being made available. I’ve encountered lots of people during my research who will be able to get access to information.

  18. Deirdre Lewis says:

    I have lived in interesting times and have always held high my esteem for all our fighting forces who sacrificed so much for people such as I.Alas we do not learn from history as today the world continues in many conflicts.It is said history ‘repeats ” itself however my view is that it is people who repeat history.Iam fascinated by archived material especially of such when I was barely taking my first breath.So thanks to all

  19. Helen Stanley says:

    We are very lucky to have letters and photos of Uncle Bob’s stay in a POW camp. He survived and returned to Germany with the force that helped to sort things out after the war ended.

    Sadly whilst he was imprisoned, his mom and younger brother died and we have the heartbreaking letter he sent home to his sister. His mom died at home, but his brother died with all hands on the submarine HMS Sickle.

    These records simply help us to understand another portion of war and sometimes help to explain the nature of the person who returned to the family, sometimes as a stranger. Thank you for all your efforts.

  20. Tony Granados says:

    I am interested in any information regarding my late half-brother Victor William Houdoire who was captured during the Dieppe raid in 1942 and subsequently sent to Stalag VIIIB in Lamsdorf, now In Poland. I am particularly interested in learning about any working parties he was sent on and on how he was treated by the Germans as he was a Commando in the Dieppe raid.

    1. Roger Kershaw says:

      Hi Tony

      We are offering a paid search service for pieces yet to be catalogued. You may wish to consider this for WO 416/184 –

  21. Paul Tobolski says:

    Day I fact survived the war. His partner in the escape from Luft lll was my father who was captured with Day in Stettin. Day wrote my Mother after the war telling my mom about what they did while free from the camp and how they were captured. My Father F/L Pawel Tobolski was one of the 50 murdered.

  22. Ian Chard says:

    Thanks for undertaking this very worthwhile project – I’ve been trying to track down these documents for a number of years! However, can I ask for a minor clarification regarding the 100 year rule? My father, surname Chard, would be 100 years old in October 2018, so, given that the box containing Conway (see previous comment) is likely to have been catalogued by July this year, will his record be caught by the rule, and so remain unopened?

  23. David Coppin says:

    Wonder will the records include British “civilian” internees who ended up in places like Tost in Silesia. Famously P G Wodehouse was one of those internees having been “captured” by the Germans in 1940 when his French residence was overrun. Would be particularly interested in the records of fellow internees who seemed a mix bunch, one of whom was a friend and colleague of my late adoptive father. This particular internee Barrie Pitt, was however, a military man so how and why he ended up in a civilian interment camp – and indeed managed to get out of Tost and back to England and to further military service during WW2 – is to me a mystery. Pitt had a profile post war as a significant historian of World War Two most notably editing the Ballantyne magazine series on the conflict.

    1. Roger Kershaw says:

      Thanks for your comment, David

      We believe that there will be less than a thousand civilian internees included in this Collection and we are not yet sure why some are listed or ended up in Prisoner of War camps.

  24. Svend R says:

    Interesting aspect of the history of the Second World War. I notice that the POW information is focused on personnel held in German prison camps and as such I wonder if there is a similar project regarding personnel held in Japanese POW camps ? My wife’s uncle/cousin is said to have perished in Burma while held captive by the Japanese army. The family does not appear to have been given much information at the time or later during the post war era regarding their relative’s fate. I have scanned the Commonwealth Grave records to find a possible link/clue about the circumstances of his demise but to no avail.

    1. Roger Kershaw says:

      Dear Svend

      Thanks for your comment

      These are already available on line in the series WO 345 –

      For more information please see Section 7.2 in this guide –

  25. Barbara Ellard says:

    Are there plans to list the POW of the Japanese?

    1. Roger Kershaw says:

      Hi Barbara
      These are already available on line in the series WO 345 –

      For more information please see Section 7.2 in this guide –

  26. James W. Castellan says:

    Are the UK citizens who were visiting Germany at the outbreak of war, arrested and held at Ruhleben Internment Camp (I think it was not far from Berlin) included?

    1. Roger Kershaw says:

      Hi James

      It’s possible but probably unlikely as the collection is predominantly comprised of Prisoners of War with only a few hundred civilians

  27. Paul McLaughlin says:

    if possible. how do i use the paid service to obtain details relating to my grandfather’s time as a POW , he is deceased .

    1. Roger Kershaw says:

      Hi Paul – you’d need to identify the document his record is likely to be filed in. If his surname was McLaughlin then his record may be in WO 416/232. So, you may wish to request for a search of this document by following the link at this page –

  28. Bruce Gardner says:

    This is certainly a worthwhile project and I look forward to examining records to find details of my father’s internment both in Italy initially then to Germany until liberated. On landing in England the plane crashed but he survived! He then returned to South Africa safely and continued his life. He was captured in North Africa and was a lieutenant with the Transvaal Scottish Regiment.

  29. Oliver Clutton-Brock says:

    Good morning. I have just received the details of the opening of POW cards at the National Archives and note to my horror that “Wings” Day was executed during the war, when he of course survived. Please could you contact the appropriate person to have this amended, as I have been unable to find any direct link. Kind regards, Oliver Clutton-Brock

    1. Roger Kershaw says:

      Dear Oliver
      Thanks for your comment and apologies. This is being amended and should go live soon.

  30. Graham John Cooke says:

    Hello Roger,
    Do the records include POW’s captured in North Africa and ‘shipped’ to Italian POW camps?
    Graham Cooke.

    1. Roger Kershaw says:

      Hi Graham

      Yes they do so will include those captured at Tobruk for example

  31. Peter Bennett says:

    Do you know of similar records for prisoners of war in other theatres? My interest is in the POWs of the Japanese in Malaya and Thailand. I have seen the cards in WO345, and wonder if they are the comparable records.

    1. Roger Kershaw says:

      Dear Peter

      Thanks for your comments

      Yes, there are comparable to WO 345 but in most cases provide more personal detail with the addition of some photographs, fingerprints and x-rays.

      Additional records of British prisoners of war in the Far East are described on our research guide,

  32. Angela says:

    So does this include members of the Australian army who were captured as POWS?

    if it does are Prisoners of the Japanese also included.

    1. Roger Kershaw says:

      Hi Angela

      It includes Australian personnel but the collection only relates to Europe. See section 7 of this guide for sources created by the Japanese

  33. Nicola Langdon says:

    I am looking for 3 brothers from New Zealand who were POWs. They have all passed away although being from NZ it is likely you are unaware of this. They are James Dardenelles Langdon, John Henry Langdon and Allen Langdon. I woukd love to have their cards to put alongside a postcard I have from 2 of them who were held at Stalag VIII B. Is there anywhere I can apply for these? Thanks

    1. Roger Kershaw says:

      Hi Nicola

      There doesn’t appear to be any records for Langdon in WO 416/413 which specifically relates to new Zealanders. It’s possible that these records are in the main run so document WO 416/216 – you can request a paid search until the records are fully catalogued by following the link on this page –

  34. T S Leonard says:

    Is there anything about prisoners of the Japanese, particularly those who did not survive?

    1. Roger Kershaw says:

      Thanks for your comments.

      Records of British prisoners of war in the Far East during the Second World War can be found in different record series described on our research guide,

  35. Liz Hagerty says:

    So delighted you are doing . My late father Ian Latta was in Oflag 7B aged just 23 and I always felt that it was wrong there wasn’t a public record of prisoners of war.

    1. Roger Kershaw says:

      Thanks for your comments, Liz.
      We are offering a paid search service for pieces yet to be catalogued. You may wish to consider this for WO 416/217 –

  36. Tamara Langford says:

    This is fascinating. I would like to know more as I have a relation who had been a prisoner of war in WWII. He was with the RCAF and his plane went down in 1944. He was hel in I believe 2 different camps betwen then and 1945, and the war’s end. Hos name was John Leonard Hossie.

    1. Roger Kershaw says:

      Thanks for your comments, Tamara.
      We are offering a paid search service for pieces yet to be catalogued. You may wish to consider this for WO 416/184 –

  37. Susan Skelton says:

    Are there prisoner records for men captured in Burma?

    1. Roger Kershaw says:

      Hi Susan
      Records of British prisoners of war in the Far East during the Second World War can be found in different record series described on our research guide,

  38. Bruce Reilly says:

    I am currently over in the UK carrying out research and some initial filming for a documentary about Belaria and based on my fathers time in the camp. His name was F/O James Reilly and he went into the camp in early June.

    I was wondering if you have all of their cards as I have his one and I believe that some of the other POWs that I have interviewed over the years still have theirs. Would you like copies of these for your records or are there duplicate copies?

    I will be in London from about the 24 January till 1st February carrying out more research at Kew and the IWM and would love to talk to anyone who has a connection or interest in this camp. I am also trying to track down Wartime Logs from this time as my father did a rather extensive collection of drawings in his and also many in other POWs logs.

    If Kew is happy with me posting my contact details I am happy to add them to this comments section.

  39. Sharon says:

    This is fantastic and a great new research resource but could you please tell me if pow camps in india records will also become available as my great uncle was a pow there

  40. Tyler Butterworth says:

    Re: Peter Butterworth. Roger, thank you so much for publishing and cataloguing my father’s POW card, I’ve seen lots of his war papers, including the cheeky note he pinned to his bunk the night before he and several others broke out of Oberusal, asking the camp commandant ‘what better time to explore Germany than in the spring and on foot’ but I’ve never seen this card before. I was linked to your site by my American friend Marlyn Walton who I know has been in touch. This is a wonderful project. Thank you so much.

    1. Roger Kershaw says:

      Thanks for your kind words, Tyler. The collection is very rich and diverse and our volunteers are finding some fascinating stories which we hope to publish as future blogs during the course of the project.

  41. Paul Barnard says:

    What a treasure house of information.

    I’m intrigued though. Does this mean that if I have an original identity card, brought back by the prisoner, that he will not be amongst your collection? Did they issue just one card which stayed with the prisoner through each camp he may have been transferred to or passed through or did each camp issue it’s own card?

    1. Roger Kershaw says:

      Hi Paul
      It’s a good question. It looks as though the collection has been to a degree dispersed as for some men only one or medical treatment cards survive with the main identity card missing. Most men had the same Prisoner of War number regardless of whether they moved camps or not and it looks as though the main ID card followed them too.

  42. Keith Newman says:

    I have a huge amount of information, including over 100 photographs of groups of men held in the POW camp at Blechammer, Poland, BAB21 I also have the complete route of the long march which started January 1945 eventually arriving at Moosburg where the men were liberated by Patton. If this is of any use to the project please let me know.

  43. Linda Alcott Maples says:

    Roger, fascinating work! My father American, Russell Jay Alcott, 2nd Lt, bombardier, B-24, was stationed from Nov. 1942 to time of his capture (think was around 4 April when shot down) at Shiphdam Base near Addington (?).
    Does the U. S. Archives have the American POW records? My Dad was at Stalag Luft 1until end of the war.
    I have his POW photo on the info card. He never brought it out while we were growing up. I found it after my mother died. My Dad also kept a journal while he was a POW. The notebook was suppled by the Junior Redcross of Canada; it is in rather bad shape – he divided up each line into two – he called it two-fers and his writing is rather small – and many of the early pages have bled (even though he used a pencil) into the facing one. The writing is more normal during the last few weeks of captivity as he knew the end was near.
    He told us that not too many months before liberation the Jewish POWs in SL1 were taken out. The Germans left the camp unattended about two weeks before Russians on horseback tore down the fences around Stalag Luft I and brought in milk cows from the nearly town of Barth – he and others walked to the outskirts of Barth and saw a lot of injured and dying German civilians.
    From the time he and others at the camp were liberated by American forces, it was a month before he arrived in New York (his home state). My mother a Texas gal took a train from Houston, TX to NJ to reunite with her Yankee husband!
    I just saw the movie ‘The Darkest Hour’ – know some things were dramatized but it was so good I cried. You see my paternal English grandmother, Rose Elizabeth Greengrow, had many aunts, uncles and cousins in England, mainly Kent County.
    Sincerely and thanks for all the ‘UK’ info
    Linda Alcott Maples in Alabama, USA

    1. Roger Kershaw says:

      Hi Linda

      Thanks for your comments. Yes, in the first instance I’d contact the US National Archives – for records of US Prisoners of War

  44. LOHR, Ludwig says:

    I have
    1. A general question to them concerning Allied prisoners of war, whose march I mostly try to reconstruct from Poland to Bavaria.
    In particular, I found around 20 POW, e.g.
    R.J. Burbridge. He marched from 18.01.45 to 29.04.45 from Schakowa / Poland until his liberation near Landshut.
    As a name I found in “” a Jarvis Burbridge, * 1918, Reference: WO 416/46/214, but I do not know if it is one and the same person.
    Can you be generally sensitive to me?

    2. To the Canadian POW,
    George James Eberwein Morris, I’m looking for Gary Mac Kay from Canada, the final resting place of George. Although he is listed on the Groesbeck Memorial as “Son of John Thomas Morris and Edith Henrietta Eberwein Morris, of Outremont, Province of Quebec, Canada … who died on April 14, 1945, Age 23,” but according to my research, he was a comrade Placed by plane via Pilsen / CSSR to London and buried there in a Canadian cemetery.
    Do you have any insights?

    Thank you for your efforts.
    Ludwig Lohr

  45. LOHR, Ludwig says:

    I have
    1. A general question to them concerning Allied prisoners of war, whose march I mostly try to reconstruct from Poland to Bavaria.
    In particular, I found around 20 POW, e.g.
    R.J. Burbridge. He marched from 18.01.45 to 29.04.45 from Schakowa / Poland until his liberation near Landshut.
    As a name I found in “” a Jarvis Burbridge, * 1918, Reference: WO 416/46/214, but I do not know if it is one and the same person.
    Can you be generally sensitive to me?2. To the Canadian POW,
    George James Eberwein Morris, I’m looking for Gary Mac Kay from Canada, the final resting place of George. Although he is listed on the Groesbeck Memorial as “Son of John Thomas Morris and Edith Henrietta Eberwein Morris, of Outremont, Province of Quebec, Canada … who died on April 14, 1945, Age 23,” but according to my research, he was a comrade Placed by plane via Pilsen / CSSR to London and buried there in a Canadian cemetery.
    Do you have any insights?Thank you for your efforts.
    Ludwig Lohr

  46. Stan. Knight son of Vic. Knight says:

    May 26. 1940 Calais rifle. Brigade last stand my father taken. Prisoner shipped of to stalag. 8b. Lambsdorf 1945 whilst. On the death march my father and 6 others made a break for it. Into the wood. On. Into. Czch. Rep. The. Family. Of Jan sabatika gave them. Refuge inpardubice. After hiddingand working they made there way back to. England the following are the names of. Those that escaped. With my. Father please contact. M e. Should you be a. Relative of the following Avery. Beattie gay. Symonds. Ditch cobbey

    1. Heather Needham says:

      If it is of interest, The Rifle Brigade archive, held at Hampshire Record Office, contains material on Calais and POWs.

  47. Rosemary Stevenson says:

    My late uncle, Derek Ashley Nickerson was a prisoner of war, held at Stalag V111A, POW NO. 81265.
    I obtained this information from Glasgow, Army Service Records, on behalf of his daughter. There was no further information given so we would be very interested on conditions he endured during his time of internment, and during The Long March.

    1. Roger Kershaw says:

      Dear Rosemary

      Thanks for your comment.

      We are offering a paid search service for pieces yet to be catalogued. You may wish to consider this for WO 416/272 – as this piece is not due to be catalogued until July 2020

  48. Hilary Potts says:

    Reading the card for Peter Butterworth, I noticed the Germans had him down as born in “Bramhill” in Cheshire. There isn’t a Bramhill, only a Bramhall, and it seems, judging by Google, that this spelling error is quite common. I haven’t checked whether the volunteer worker corrected this. There are of course many such mis-spellings of place names made by the German clerks, and those of us working on this project probably miss a good many of them.
    (By the way, there is actually a notable hall of Norman origin in Bramhall, as well as a hill going up from the hall to Hazel Grove.)
    I grew up in Bramhall and the name Peter Butterworth is very familiar to me; I think he might have been an acquaintance of my parents.

    1. Roger Kershaw says:

      Hi Hilary

      Thanks for reiterating the point that the collection compiled across a number of camps by a large number of clerks do reveal some inconsistencies in the spellings of place names, people and camps. That said, by capturing as much detail as possible (with some from reliable secondary sources) we’re hoping that we will have enough to provide a hook in for most researchers.

  49. Susan Matthews says:

    Will the records show Australian POWs captured in Crete, sent to Italy and moved to various camps such as Fort Zinna run by the SS in Germany. My father was one of these POWs.

    1. Roger Kershaw says:

      Hi Susan

      Thanks for your comments.

      Yes, Australian prisoners of war are included in the main A-Z series by surname and specifically WO 416/414 –

  50. Judy Humby says:

    Will look forward to finding information on my uncle, Sergeant (Reginald) William Spink, Royal Corps of Signals, army number 2566993, POW 21132 at Stalag 383.

    He co wrote a book called ‘Barbed Wire’ which has a drawing of him hiding his radio under a bunk, money for which went to the Red Cross.

    He was awarded the BEM in 1945.

    Uncle Bill was born in 1908 and died in 2000.

    1. Roger Kershaw says:

      Hi Judy

      Thanks for comments. We hope to fully catalogue document WO 416/340 by the end of December 2020. This may well contain the cards for your Uncle. If you’d us to check whether a record survives now please request a paid search at the following link –

      Best wishes

  51. Nick Haslam says:

    Many thanks for this – and I look forward to finding out more about my father – John Maxwell Haslam – Red Cross POW number 4398 – of the Australian 2/6th battalion ( Service Number VX4416) captured in Greece in 1941 . He was imprisoned in Stalag 18 and spent some years in an Arbeitskommando working on a farm in southern Austria. He died in 1966 having never returned to Australia but during a visit there in 1995 I discovered from his elderly sister that many letters had arrived from Germany in the late 40s – which are now lost. I’m curious to find out where he worked – he learnt fluent German and went onto to work for the British Control Commission in Hamburg after the war. It’s difficult to know where to begin – but I sure somewhere an archive must exist of the Arbeitskommando and their placements . If you can help in any way it would be much appreciated. Best wishes, Nick Haslam

    1. Roger Kershaw says:

      Hi Nick

      Thanks for comments. We hope to fully catalogue document WO 416/167 by the end of December 2018. This may well contain the cards for your Father. If you’d us to check whether a record survives now please request a paid search at the following link –

      Best wishes, Roger

  52. Nick Haslam says:

    Thanks Roger – will do. One question though. Why is proof of death necessary for a search? Best wishes Nick

    1. Roger Kershaw says:

      Hi Nick

      For data protection reasons, before we carry out the search we need to have proof that the subject is deceased so we are then able to release the information.

  53. Lorayne Mahoney says:

    Dear Roger
    My father, an Australian, was captured on Crete in June 1941. Pte. Norman William Baxter NX22270 2/1 Ordinance Stores Company. He was at least 3 P.O.W. camps, and was on the forced march from Lamsdorf or Gorlitz. He survived the war and was mentioned in dispatches for escape attempts. Would he be in these records? He died in 1986.

  54. Lorayne Mahoney says:

    Dear Roger
    After reading the blog I found my father’s record in this project. I found him by his name and birth year. Norman Baxter b. 1918. WO 416/23/66. The record is currently closed, but due to be open in January next year, which is not long away. I have asked for a FOI request and may get it a bit sooner.
    This is a great tribute to the servicemen who fought for our freedom and endured many years of captivity. I did know these records existed, but did not know they were in England. I only found out about it recently while looking through a copy of Family Tree U.K. magazine, March Edition.
    This will be the third record I have found for him outside Australia.
    Thank you very much for this digitization project.

    1. Roger Kershaw says:

      Thanks for your comments Lorayne. Your FOI request is being dealt with.

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