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Forces War Records Blog

A LETTER FROM KING GEORGE V TO A PRISONER OF WAR

Happy 89th Birthday to Queen Elizabeth II! In honour of the day, we bring you a unique letter handwritten by her grandfather, King George V, on the release of 2nd Lieutenant James Chambers from a German Prisoner of War camp, 14th Army Corps (Karlsruhe) Officer Camp. This was kindly donated to the Forces War Records Historic Documents archive by Lieut. Chambers’ own granddaughter, Hilary Grubb, who discovered it while clearing out her mother’s house. It says:

A handwritten letter by King George V, copyright Forces War Records & Hilary Grubb

“1918

“The Queen joins me in welcoming you on your release from the miseries and hardships, which you have endured with so much patience and courage.

“During these many months of trial, the early rescue of our gallant officers and men from the cruelties of their captivity has been uppermost in our thoughts.

“We are thankful that this longed for day has arrived & that back in the old country you will be able once more to enjoy the happiness of a home & to see good days among those who anxiously look for your return.

“George R.J.”

King George V, Wytschaete Ridge, July 1917, Forces War Records Archive

Second Lieut. James Chambers, of the 4th Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, was reported missing on 22nd October 1918. On 2nd November his family received a telegram from the British Red Cross & Order of St John, confirming that his name had appeared on a list of POWs and that he was in good health, but that the camp in which he was being held was unknown. One can only imagine their relief after an anxious wait! He was repatriated not too long after, on 8th December 1918, just in time to spend his first peaceful Christmas in years at home.  

Second Lieutenant James Chambers, taken post-war, Christmas 1920, copyright Forces War Records & Hilary Grubb
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