WWI British Officer Prisoners of War 1914-1918

This collection is a work in progress
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WWI Prisoner of war records are notoriously difficult to source. Approximately 6,778 officers & 168,846 men of the British and Commonwealth forces were captured on the 'Western Front' alone in WWI, nearly 10% of these were held for all 4 years by the Germans having been captured at the battles of the Marne & Ypres.

From 1915, imprisoned officers were held in camps reserved for them. By October 1918, the number of officers’ camps had reached 73.

Living conditions for officers in Prisoner of War camps were usually less harsh than those endured by troops. Officers had beds instead of straw sacks, specific rooms were fitted out for their meals, and they were exempted from labour. In addition, there were no officers’ camps in East Prussia, where weather conditions were often far worse than in the rest of Germany. One of the main burdens of camp life for officers was tedium. Their daily lives tended to revolve around sport, amateur concerts and plays, lectures, debates, and reading.

Officers' camps also accommodated a smaller number of other ranks prisoners, known as orderlies, whose role was to act as servants to the officers and to perform menial tasks around the camp. Orderlies appreciated that their situation was safer and more comfortable than that of their counterparts in soldiers' camps, and so, even when offered the opportunity, they generally did not try to escape, knowing that if recaptured they would be sent to far worse conditions.

This collection contains a very valuable source of information for over 8,000 records of World War I British Army prisoners of war (POW), including Officers of the R.A.F, R.N.A.S, R.N Division and Dominions. 

Information will contain name, rank, regiment/corps, battalion, date missing, date interned and date repatriated, some records have additional notes, for example death in captivity.


Period covered: 1914-1918

Records in this collection are likely to include the following:

  • surname
  • initials
  • service number
  • rank
  • unit
  • battalion
  • pow number
  • date missing
  • repatriation date
  • theatre of operations
  • location

Please be aware that due to the way we collate, and cross reference our databases, some records will contain more information than that listed above.

Original Source: Ancestry.com. UK, British Officer Prisoners of War, 1914-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.Original data: British Officers Taken Prisoner of War Aug.1914 - Nov.1918. Uckfield, East Sussex: The Naval & Military Press.

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