History of Prisoner of War Casualty Branch

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by dbf, Feb 14, 2016.

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    Relations between Cas. P.W. and the British Red Cross were both close and cordial.

    The Society’s main function was the handling of Prisoner of War parcels. This necessitated the possession of an up-to-date location of all Prisoners of War together with the addresses of their next-of-kin.

    The initial notifications in all cases were issued by Cas. P.W. and the procedure which was developed to suit the particular requirements of the European Section and of the Far Eastern Section respectively, called for the supply to the former of two Prisoner of War cards and to the later which had adopted the Cas. P.W. loose-leaf system and had been furnished by the War Office with the necessary binders - of five cards for each new Prisoner of War. The preparation of cards for the Far Eastern Section was facilitated by the use of a pre-cut stencil which enabled as many as 100 cards to be produced for only one typing.

    For the purpose of recording deaths of Prisoners of War, repatriations, camp transfers, etc., the British Red Cross Society was treated generally as a Record Office. A mutual exchange of information about altered camp localities, new addresses of next-of-kin, accidents to Prisoners of War and so on, between the Society and the Branch was invaluable to both parties. Serious complaints by relatives addressed to the Society regarding treatment of Prisoners of War were always passed to the Branch for action. Simple cases were dealt with by the Society, the necessary information being supplied by the War Office in the form of Press hand-outs or of extracts from reports by the Protecting Power or International Red Cross Committee. The main difficulties, and they were few, concerned the Far Eastern Section which on occasion was inclined to put a more favourable interpretation on the information than the War Office intended.


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    The main duties of this Section were:-

    (a ) Receipt, scrutiny, preliminary identification, processing and splitting of Geneva telegrams concerning Prisoners of War British, Dominion, Allied and doubtful.

    (b ) Receipt, scrutiny, preliminary identification, processing and “splitting” in conjunction with Central Section of Official and Unofficial lists of Prisoners of War.

    (c ) Arising out of foregoing correspondence (telegrams and letters) with I.R.C.C., Geneva, requesting further information in unidentifiable and other cases dealing with complaints including those of delay and suggesting modifications to agreed procedure.

    (d ) Identifying and splitting enemy propaganda lists and despatching information to other Services and Other Ranks’ next-of-kin - 24 hours’ service. (Much correspondence with the Ministry of Information was involved before a satisfactory service covering Europe and the Far East was obtained).

    (e ) Examination and distribution of all papers and correspondence regarding Prisoners of War circulated to the Section Registry by the War Office Registry for division as between Cas. P.W. and D.P.W.

    (f ) Staff duties, duty registers, overtime claims, issue and circulation of section instructions.

    In addition, to secure correct circulation the Section received direct and sorted and re-despatched generally once a week the I.R.C.C. correspondence for the United Kingdom. This involved the extraction of letters, lists, etc., for Cas. P.W., other official correspondence begin circulated ot the responsible Department and unofficial to Censorship.


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    Each telegram or list - official or unofficial - was registered, and the number of names on the telegrams were recorded for statistical purposes.

    Telegrams were examined to determine the number of Record Officers and of the Other Services, Dominions, etc., involved. Where the details in the cable were insufficient, this necessitated the examination of card indices and lists of Missing.

    Photocopies corresponding to these requirements were produced on an “on demand” basis by P.W.I.B. and after marking the items appropriate to each, were despatched if possible within 24 hours of the receipt of the cable to the Record Offices and Services concerned. In a covering memorandum recipients were requested to confirm the identification of the individuals concerned, or failing this, to return the photocopy to the Branch. Record Offices in addition were told exactly what action to take and were given disposal instruction where the men concerned had been transferred to the custody of another Record Office. To save labour it was only when important information was thus transmitted hat they were required to submit A.F. W.3016.

    From lists, information concerning other Services, Dominions, etc., was first extracted and despatched, after which the Army items were checked against the entries in the Index marked “N.A.” - “No Action” - when the information had already been recorded or endorsed with the code number of the Record Office when action had to be taken. Items with similar code numbers were then extracted by typing to separate lists for despatch to individual Record Offices, instructions on the appropriate action to be taken accompanying the lists.


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    In two respects this sub-section performed duties which differed from the normal. The more important was the provision of a sub-registry serving both the Directorate of Prisoners of War and Cas. P.W. This was essential because the work of the Directorate was so closely associated with the functions of Cas. P.W. that, particularly in the early years of the war, other Branches and Departments unable to make a clear distinction addressed papers and other correspondence indiscriminately to one or other. The success of the arrangement was seen in the substantial reduction in the delay so frequently occurs when two Branches are concerned with the same subject.

    The other important duty was the disposal - generally once or twice a week - of the heavy mail to the United Kingdom from the International Red Cross Committee in Geneva. This normally reached the Foreign Office by courier, and, if handed over the Censorship suffered not only an appreciable delay, but frequently resulted in miscalculation of important reports particularly those affecting more than one Department such as enemy official lists.

    Although most of the correspondence to private enquirers was addressed, much of it was intended by Geneva to be checked against official records before re-despatch. In addition, things such as packets of effects, or documents and photographs picked up on the battlefield and forwarded to Geneva for disposal, photographs of the funerals of deceased British Prisoners of War, requests to Geneva from nations in various countries for the addresses of British combatants who may have served in that country, miscellaneous documents issuing from the prison camps and affecting the men of all Services, all required for their correct disposal much the same knowledge as that necessary for the splitting and circulation of Geneva telegrams and enemy official lists.

    Under this arrangement Censorship took only private correspondence or communications addressed to the B.R.C.S., documents for the War Office and for the other Services being distributed uncensored.


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    Details of enemy broadcasts and of broadcasts from the Vatican were received from the B.B.C. monitoring branch. Copies of the broadcasts also went to the British Red Cross Society - Missing Section - Identification had first to be established, following by a check to ensure that, as not infrequently happened, the information in the broadcasts was not out of date. Next-of-kin were then notified, generally on the day broadcasts were received.

    Competing with this service was the British Red Cross Society - Missing Section - whom the British Red Cross also supplied with the broadcasts coming in to the Apostolic delegate in London (Vatican lists only) and certain member of the public who listened in to enemy broadcasts regularly.

    Having no means of checking the accuracy of the information and being supplied with the address of the next-of-kin only when this happened to be furnished in the broadcasts, these unofficial collectors were somewhat unreliable and spasmodic in their efforts.

    Whenever the information was out-of-date and ran counter to an existing official report, the result produced considerable unnecessary pain to the next-of-kin and embarrassment to the Branch before the matter could be cleared up.

    Claims by next-of-kin also that the name of a relative had been heard on the enemy broadcast involved the Section in much unfruitful research. Although such claims were treated with reserve, a more than occasional slip by the B.B.C. monitors made investigation imperative.


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    The main duties of the Central Section were:-

    (a ) The preparation and maintenance of the various Other Ranks Indices and B.M.’s.

    (b ) The notification to Officer i/c Records for the information of next-of-kin of all information concerning Prisoners of War.

    (c ) The tracing of names in official and unofficial reports not readily identifiable as belonging to missing soldiers or existing Prisoners of War.

    (d ) The examination and comparison with records before despatch to Officer i/c Records for action of official and other lists so as to eliminate information already received or to indicate those cases on which full normal action should not be taken.

    (e ) Repatriation of Prisoners of War.

    Other duties devolving on this Section were:-

    (i ) The examination of “Censorship” extracts from Prisoners of War letters as a preliminary to taking action as necessary. (Owing to the failure of the Japanese Government to notify the capture of large numbers of Prisoners of War, all Far East correspondence had to be examined).

    (ii ) The check and identification of all Prisoners of War who appeared before Mixed Medical Commissions including the preparation and maintenance of appropriate Indices of such cases, and the notification of next-of-kin in advance of repatriation.

    (iii ) The preparation and despatch in response to applications by Prisoners of War of duplicate protection certificates and of notification of confirmation of rank, together with all the correspondence involved in establishing the facts.

    (iv ) Prosecuting enquiries with a view to tracing of missing or unrecovered Prisoners of War, including correspondence with searcher units in Italy, Germany and Far East. In unrecovered cases the submission of evidence for action to be taken to presume death.


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    The preparation and maintenance of the loose-leaf type of Other Rank card index were carried out in accordance with normal Casualty Branch practice, but with one important difference.

    To deal properly with enquiries it was necessary at all times that the main index record the most recent information regarding any Prisoners of War.

    When therefore Prisoner of War information went to the Record Office for next-of-kin to be notified - provisional entry was made in the main index. If the Record Office confirmed by means of A.F. W.3016 that, for instance, the Prisoners of War had been correctly identified and next-of-kin notified, complete action was taken and the appropriate entry made on the card and also in the corresponding B.M. - if one had been opened. At the same time any necessary modifications were made to the alphabetical and camp indices. This procedure when operated in conjunction with a reminder system provided a complete check in regard to any delay or failure on the part of the Record Office in respect of notification - a very necessary precaution as experience proved.


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    This sub-section, which comprised the staff most experienced in the work of identification, checked or tested all incoming official and unofficial information regarding Prisoners except telegrams from Geneva against the various records.

    In the process of identification lists were marked so as to facilitate the typing of separate Record Office lists, duplicated information being discarded.

    To save Record Office time, items requiring the submission of A.F. W.3016 were especially indicated. Instructions on the action to be taken were issued specially in each case.

    The miscellaneous duties performed by the sub-section included all work in connection with the recovery and repatriation of Prisoners of War, including repatriation on medical grounds during the course of hostilities. The tracing of all unrecovered Prisoners of War and the preparation of evidence for consideration in the presumption of death was also involved.

    Further duties carried out by the sub-section comprised the examination of censorship extracts from letters sent to relatives by Prisoners of War (the information obtained varied from the first reports of capture to reports of injury or of death) and the investigation necessary in connection with applications from Prisoners of War for duplicate “protection” certificates or for confirmation of rank.


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    The work of this Section is described in the “survey of the work of Cas. P.W.” and in more detail in APPENDIX D. The reason why Cas. P.W. dealt with Other Rank correspondence however requires some explanation.

    Normally Other Ranks casualty information is conveyed to next-of-kin through the Officer in Charge Records who, under the general direction of the Casualty Branch, replies to all enquiries. With Prisoners of War however the situation was so fluid that it would have been impracticable to keep Officers i/c Records at all times fully informed regarding camp conditions and treatment - the main subjects of enquiry. After consultation with the Directorate of Prisoners of War its as agreed that Other Rank enquiries in common with Officers’ enquiries, should be dealt with centrally by Cas. P.W. Similarly, to save time, any information of an urgent nature, such as release from captivity or repatriation, was conveyed direct to next-of-kin, a copy being forwarded to the Officer i/c Records for his information at the same time.


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    While a detailed description of the work of the Correspondence Section suitably documented with copies of the more important forms devised and used has been given (APPENDIX D and APPENDIX E), the work of the two other Sections has been described in somewhat more general terms, mainly because the methods adopted were not standardised and had of necessity to undergo considerable alterations to suit the rapidly varying situation from the staff as well as from the work point of view.

    The methods adopted in these Sections were frequently dictated by expediency, although the machinery of the Branch as a whole remained unchanged.

    Subject to the considerations advance and the views put forward in the Cas. P.W. survey, the procedure for simulator work and the contacts with other Departments and Branches of the War Office as described in the Cas.L. [Casualty Branch Liverpool] statement can be accepted as applying also to Cas. P.W.

    This applies particularly to investigation where the methods followed in attempting to trace the Missing were those employed to trace Missing Prisoners of War.


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    Search Organisation - Field and nature of action.

    One of the more difficult tasks performed by Cas. P.W. has been to account for all the recorded Prisoners of War either by the fact of recovery and repatriation or by determining what had otherwise become of them.

    Shortcomings of enemy authorities.

    Throughout the war the enemy authorities notified deaths of Prisoners of War, and generally, particulars of those who had apparently succeeded in escaping, through the Protecting Power and International Red Cross Committee channels. Save in regard to Prisoners taken over by the Gestapo, the Germans were punctilious in notification until the closing stages of the War, when their system gradually broke down, owing the the vast movements of Prisoners, to the considerable dislocation of communications and the gradual disintegration of the German war machine. This position was remedied to some extent by the capture by American Forces in the early part of April 1945 of the German Casualty Bureau at Meiningen and Saalfeld in Thuringia which recorded all Prisoners of War held by the Wehrmacht but not by the Gestapo and S.S. A C.S.O. of Cas. P.W. was despatched to Germany to inspect these records for their possible value to the Casualty authorities of all the Commonwealth Forces. He was able to bring away official death lists prepared by the German Bureau that had not reached Cas. P.W. or could not be despatched. The German staff were made to resume their duties in regard to casualties to Allied nationals. Shortly afterward three members of the Casualty Branch were attached to a small Unit which went to Germany to see that the German Bureau was carrying out these duties, to make a more details examination of the material and to bring back to the United Kingdom all records concerning Prisoners of War and battle casualty deaths that might be of value. Amongst the material brought away were complete records in card index and list form of all British graves, and a large quantity of effects.

    Prisoner of War information provided by the Italian authorities - the Italian Red Cross - did not reflect good organisation. During the months preceding the Italian Armistice in September 1943, the location of individual Prisoners had become largely a matter of conjecture, because a general movement northwards of Prisoner of War camps was being carried out, and some control over them was being exercised by the German command in Italy. At the Armistice, Prisoners instead of being released to Allied Forces, were usually handed over deliberately to German guards and seldom given a fair chance to leave camp and join Allied troops. Following the Armistice, nonetheless, large numbers were at large and trying to reach the Allied lines in the South, or to cross the frontier into Switzerland, or, to a lesser extent, to reach Southern Italy via Jugoslavia. Thus much information was lacking as to deaths of Prisoners during the last months of captivity, and practically the whole of the recorded locations of individual Prisoners became out of date.

    The Japanese failed to honour the Geneva Convention they had agreed to observe. No particulars of Prisoners began to arrive until nearly fourteen months after the British troops in the Far East had been captured, and even then only comparatively short lists were sent at irregular intervals; in fact all name had not been notified by the time hostilities ended. Many thousands of Prisoners had died in Japanese hands, though few were reported until 1945 following repeated pressure after it had become known from survivors rescued form a sunk Japanese transport in September 1944 that thousands of Prisoners had died working in Thailand. Great difficulty in establishing the survival or death of all Far East Prisoners was therefore to be expected.

    Search organisations

    In Italy
    The Casualty Branch representatives attached to the Prisoner of War Sub-Commission in Italy and set up a procedure whereby all Prisoners of War recovered by that organisation were questioned for information about their comrades. It was not always physically possible for the two officers to carry out interrogations, and accordingly arrangements were made for the men to be questions for such information in the course of their interrogation by officers of the Intelligence Division. This procedure was continued after the withdrawal of the two officers of the Casualty Branch. By this means information concerning a large number of men was secured, though regimental particulars, etc., were often lacking, and not infrequently even names were unknown, but the information indicated the lines alone which further enquiries could be pursued. Where the information related to the death of a Prisoner in camp or while at large amplified statements were obtained after the source had been repatriated. In some instances these reports were judged sufficiently reliable to permit of official record of the individual as dead, but usual it was obvious that further enquiries must be made of other repatriated Prisoners, and of Prisoners removed from Italy to Germany, and that in all probability much investigation in Italy would be needed to substantiate vague and inconclusive material. It has been supposed and early became apparent, that a small organisation would be needed in Italy to undertake local investigations. Notwithstanding the absence of any agreed procedure or special organisation, requests involving searches in specific localities, the interrogation of Italian nationals, the examination of cemetery records and the exhumation of graves, were sent to C.M.F. in the early summer of 1945, but it was not until several months later that a search organisation in Italy began to operate. Despite this long and unfortunate delay many cases were subsequently solved by the discovery and identification of graves and by information obtained from Italians. Most were concluded by presumption of death, generally on very firm evidence, by Cas.L.

    By the end of October 1944 the number of Prisoners still recorded in Italian hands, not having otherwise been accounted for, was 1,200. This number was gradually reduced by receipt of reports of the arrival in camps in Germany of men who had been in German hands in Italy for some time, having been recaptured after a period at large, and by the re-appearance of a small number of men who had successfully remained in hiding belatedly to rejoin Allied Troops. By the end of December 1945 only 100 remained to be accounted for. Little could be done by the Search Organisation in Italy during the winter, but during the summer they obtained much material which enabled the whole of the outstanding cases to be disposed of, mostly by presumption of death action, by the autumn of 1946.

    In Germany, France, Holland and Belgium
    On the conclusion of the repatriation of Prisoners from Germany and German-occupied Territory, several hundreds remained to be accounted for. Returned Prisoners reported the death, illness or disappearance of fellow Prisoners during marches across Germany and casualties due to enemy or Allied air action or shelling. Although some of these reports were acceptable as death reports others were vague and required confirmation. Others again, of course provided evidence of survival. Enquiries into those cases were made by Cas. P.W. of other returned Prisoners but it was apparently that enquiries would also have to be made in Germany and surrounding countries. It had been thought that the P.W.X. Division of S.H.A.E.F., which and been responsible for the collection and repatriation of recovered Prisoners, wold continue to function for this enquiry work, but this did not happen, and early enquiries sent to them brought no response. A special search organisation was, however, set up in the British Zone under the Prisoners of War and Displaced Persons Division of the Central Commission for Germany. This, known as the Search Bureau, did not begin to operate until August 1945; its functions were to trace Missing Prisoners and Displaced persons of Allied nationality and relatives of Allied nationals. Two members of the Casualty Branch (C.S.O and J.T.A.) were attached as Casualty Officers for direct liaison and to guide and co-ordinate the activities of Search teams. Information was also sought about Missing battle casualties, particularly those connected with the Rhine crossings, in co-operation with 2nd Echelon, B.A.O.R. Including Missing Prisoners of other Services and Commonwealth Forces, information was required in all for some 600 cases, all of which were handled by the two Casualty officers, (later reduced to one) though to a lesser extent in Indian Army and South African Union Defence Force cases, as both contributed search teams to the Search Bureau and were directly responsible for their own cases. Search in the British Zone, mainly for Missing battle casualties, was conducted with little difficulty in the light of information sent out by Casualty Branches from time to time. It was possible also to arrange for exhumation of bodies believed to be those of Missing Prisoners or Battle casualties and a few cases were cleared by this means. Little search in areas in the Rhine crossings was undertaken by the Search Bureau, however, owing to the non-clearance of minefields until a late stage, but the normal services of B.A.O.R. 2nd Echelon and Graves Registration and Enquiries operated when bodies came to light. Enquiries by teams in the British Zone were also made in France, Belgium and Holland where some assistance was given by the Dutch Red Cross.

    In American Zone
    Enquiries in the American Zone were conducted first by a liaison officer located at American Headquarters at Frankfurt, who uncovered a few ex-Prisoners living in the Zone, and obtained substantial information concerning a number of deaths due to aerial bombardment and other causes. Later, search teams visited the Zone as the occasion demanded. Other information was obtained by the Casualty Officers by direct correspondence with various American authorities.

    In Russian Zone
    Considerable difficulty was experienced in regard to the Russian Zone and it was not until the beginning of January 1946 after long negotiations, that two Search teams working under the direction of the Casualty Officer in Berlin, where a branch office of the Bureau had been set up, were admitted to the Zone and then only to specific areas, so that it was not possible for them to attempt to explore routes taken by Prisoners on the marches across Germany from East to West and from West to South East. The itineraries however, were arranged to include many of the key towns on the known routes. These teams, working under the surveillance of Russian conducting officers, produced death and burial certificates in a large number of cases, but failed to locate any living Prisoners because some time earlier several Prisoners had reached Berlin from Poland and the Russian Zone under Russian assistance or by their own efforts. Those men were interrogated by the Casualty officer in Berlin. In addition to the work of the search teams, assistance was also received from Belgian and French Red Cross Ambulance teams who were permitted to enter the Russian Zone for the purpose of bringing out Belgian and French nationals.

    Search teams from the Search Bureau also worked in Czechoslovakia and were able to cover several lines of march taken by Prisoners. They operated in collaboration with the British Military Attache in Prague, with whom Cas. P.W. had been corresponding direct, but who had been unable to conduct searches. Several ex-Prisoners were located in the Prague area.

    No search teams were permitted to enter Poland, which included Germany east of the River Oder (Stettin-Gorlitz) and East Prussia, where many of the Missing Prisoners had last been heard of, and some were known to be living. Action to recover the latter and to obtain further information was taken by Cas. P.W. by correspondence with the Military Attache in Warsaw and also through diplomatic channels.

    In Far East
    As regards Prisoners in the hands of the Japanese, it was known that a great number had died and that their names had not been reported through the normal official channels. When the Prisoners recovered at the end of hostilities were repatriated they brought with them regimental and camp lists of casualties, which they had maintained often in much detail, which gave much fresh information. All ex-Prisoners were also interrogated on their way home, and although it was found that there was a great over-lapping of reports, a number of deaths not otherwise reported, were revealed by this means. Some very detailed records which had been maintained by the Prisoners at Changi, as a central register for all reports circulated by the Prisoners themselves, reached this country some time after the bulk of the Prisoners had arrive home, and these proved of the greatest value in determining the fate or movements of the men who had not returned. Practically all the deaths in Thailand and Burma, many thousands in number, were include in these records. As to the other areas, cables were received regularly form the U.K. Army Liaison Staff in Australia, reporting deaths of Prisoners of War, based on captured Japanese records and death certificates, the originals of which were later forwarded. By the above means, all Prisoners in Japanese hands were accounted for in a comparatively short period, with the exception of those who had died in the Borneo area, where considerable search for records and investigation on the part of the Australian authorities in the area ensued for nearly a year before these cases were cleared up.


    P6370581.JPG APPENDIX A.JPG P6370582.JPG P6370583.JPG P6370584.JPG
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    (Ex Italy, Germany, Russian Zone and Far East)

    P.W. Lists
    (Italian Hands)

    The success of operations in the Mediterranean Theatre in early 1943 made advisable a scheme for the collection and repatriation of the Prisoners in Italian hands. Alphabetical lists of some 70,000 Officers and Other Ranks were printed in nine sections; one for each of the Services (the lists of Naval personnel and of Merchant seamen were combined in one section) and Dominions, and a Miscellaneous section embodying Palestinians, Cypriots and other locally enlisted men. A few copies were interleaved for notation etc., purposes. The particulars shown were as follows:- Last recorded Camp (by abbreviation or code);
    Surname and Initials;
    Personal, Army or Service Number;
    Regiment or Corps, etc; and,
    of British ranks, a code number to indicate the appropriate Record Office.

    Each section was prefaced with explanatory notes, explanation of abbreviations and lists of Camps with their locations. Six-point type was used, though found too small for ease in working when the books came into continuous use.

    P.W. Sub-Commission

    For Italy was planned a special Unit - The Prisoners of War Sub-Commission - responsible for the collection, documentation and repatriation of released Prisoners belonging to all Imperial Forces. Two members of the Casualty Branch (C.S.O and H.C.O. holding relative military rank) were attached to the Sub-Commission, filling specific posts in the approved War Establishment, to act as a direct liaison between the Sub-Commission and Cas. P.W. and, through Cas. P.W., the Casualty Branches of the other Services. Their duties included the identification of all recovered Prisoners (though in practice the identification of Indian personnel was done by Indian Army Intelligence Officers); the cabling to Cas. P.W. of particulars of those who belonged to the British Army, Navy, Air Force, Merchant Navy and Canadian Forces; dealing with enquiries from the United Kingdom Offices and other sources about individual cases; and examining Italian records in particular hospital records and cemetery registers. The names of personnel of the South African, Australian, New Zealand, Indian, and locally-enlisted (Middle East) Forces were cabled to G.H.Q. Middle East for onward transmission. In confirmation of the cables nominal rolls compiled and serially numbered under the appropriate service headings were sent by air mail. Further, the liaison officers sought from the recovered Prisoners any news of the death or serious illness of others met in captivity or at large.

    Before the invasion of Italy began, the Italians had transferred the Prisoners located in Southern and Central Italy to camps further North, and this movement northwards was continued with the progress of operations. After the surrender of Italy and the Germans had taken complete control of Central and Northern Italy, most of the Prisoners were transferred to Germany, although some camps and hospitals in the North were occupied almost until the close of operations in Italy. Under these circumstances only a few thousands of the Prisoners recorded as in Italian hands were recovered and pst of them had broken away from their camps and evaded recapture or had escaped during transit. In addition some 2,500 had crossed the frontier of Switzerland where they remained interned until the end of September 1944.

    During the winter campaign of 1943/44 the fighting line became nearly stationary and few men reached the Allied lines (in spite of the Allied landings at Anzio in January 1944). The two Casualty Branch Officers were accordingly withdrawn in April of that year before they could examine the Italian official records in Rome, although that had been one of their initial objects. In so far as circumstances had permitted the Casualty Branch requirements had been adequately met up to this time, but the position deteriorated with the departure of the Casualty officers and a reduction of the Sub-Commission’s establishment.

    S.H.A.E.F. - P.W.X.
    For repatriation of Prisoners of War held in Germany and German-occupied territory a more elaborate and comprehensive scheme was prepared. A special branch of S.H.A.E.F. - known as P.W.X. - was set up to deal with the many problems produced by the liberation of all Allied Prisoners of War by the advancing British and American Armies, and by their recovery at the termination of hostilities. To deal with Prisoners liberated by the Russian Forces advancing from the East a Mission was sent to Moscow. No casualty branch representatives were attached to this Mission.

    P.W. Lists
    German hands

    Printed lists, similar to the Italian were prepared but with the addition of the Prisoner of War number of each individual. A larger type - 8-point - was used except in the Sections devoted to the Indian Army, Merchant Navy and the Miscellaneous Forces where the greater amount of detail required made the larger type uneconomical. The entire work of co-ordination and the handling of material for printing, involving particulars of more than 162,000 individuals, was again undertaken by Cas. P.W. The actual printing was, as before carried out by the Stationary Office, through C.2.(c ), on behalf of the other Services and Dominions, etc. The lists were produced in 10 separate sections, each bound separately; the larger bulk made it impracticable for all sections to be bound in one volume, as had been done in the case of the Italy lists.

    When in the early autumn of 1944 it seemed that military operations on the Western Front would quickly liberate many Prisoners a supply of lists was printed and held ready for use. At the same time arrangements were made for printing corrected lists at a later date if necessary or alternatively by lists of amendments to the original list.

    Although some 2,000 Prisoners were recovered on the Eastern Front the expected release of large numbers on the Western Front did not materialise, and in the early prospect of German completely overrun revised lists for all sections embodying corrections to the end of March 1945 were printed in the beginning of April 1945.

    In the meantime the SHAEF Scheme was revised and amplified to provide for notification of the names of the Prisoners recovered to the Casualty Branches with the minimum delay. It was apparently that available signal facilities would alone be insufficient and accordingly a small printed form was devised for completion in duplicate by every Prisoner of War recovered. The form showed the name and service particulars, the man’s last Prisoner of War camp, and was to bear his own signature. One copy was sent by special air delivery to Cas. P.W. who would be responsible for the distribution of the forms relating to personnel of the other Services, Dominions, etc., the other copy was to be retained by the SHAEF organisation for their own recording purposes. The use and value of these forms had been judged in the light of the view as reflected in the detailed repatriation arrangements, that an interval of several weeks would elapse before a recovered Prisoner might expect to be repatriated, and consequently to allay their anxiety next-of-kin must be notified on the most reliable evidence (the man’s own signature) with the utmost speed. Ultimately, however, it was found practicable to evacuated the released Prisoners to this country by air in such large numbers and so rapidly that the preparation and despatch of these forms was either dispensed with altogether or they usually arrived some time after the men themselves had reached this country and had proceeded on repatriation leave. Often however, copies of the airplane manifest giving a nominal roll of the occupants were provided, though these again failed to reach Cas. P.W. soon enough to serve any practicable purpose.

    On arrival in this country All Ranks were accommodated at special reception camps, the personnel of the several Services and Dominions etc. forces being segregated in particular camps. Nominal rolls were furnished daily by the reception camps, copies being sent direct to all Record Offices and to War Office branches (through A.G.1) responsible for maintaining Officers’ records, as well as to Cas. P.W., and although these rolls were, more often than not, the first official information of a man’s recovery, the recording of the fact of repatriation presented no difficulty.

    It had been foreseen that a number of Prisoners would arrive in this country unaware of the fact that their next-of-kin had recently changed their address. To avoid needless travel next-of-kin were advised in the Press and by radio and through B.R.C.S. channels to notify the appropriate Service authority of their new address. Lists of the changes received in Cas. P.W. were circulated daily to all Reception Camps.

    P.W. Lists
    (Japanese hands)

    Considerable preparatory work was done towards the production of printed lists of Prisoners held in Japanese hands in the Far East. Owing to the smaller numbers involved - some 39,000 names - and the comparatively static state of the records for which little had been received it proved possible to make ready and maintain alphabetical lists of Army Officers and Other Ranks in ronco form for printing at short notice. The printing was to be carried out on the same lines as before, except that the Australian, New Zealand and Indian Authorities were to be responsible for the printing and distribution of their respective sections. However as the Japanese surrendered unexpectedly no time became available for the printing and despatch of these lists; although few copies of the ronco lists, correct to date, were sent to the British Forces H.Q. Allied Land Forces, South East Asia Command. Lists of those still recorded as Missing in battle in the Far East were also sent as it was known that the Japanese authorities had not reported the names of all the Prisoners in their hands.

    Collection by British and American Forces
    The release and collection of the Prisoners of War was carried out by the British and American Forces in their respective spheres of operation. It had been feared that discovery of all Prisoners still living would be very difficult as it was believed that large numbers had perished during captivity, though their deaths had not been reported, so that the true number and the names of the surviving Prisoners was unknown. Fortunately it was found that the Prisoners themselves had maintained most comprehensive and accurate records of inestimable value to the local authorities responsible for their recovery. Lists of names were sent to this country by wireless and by cable and the lists were confirmed by nominal rolls sent by air. In addition all Prisoners were enabled to sent a cable to their next-of-kin soon after their release, and lists compelled from these cables were provided by the G.P.O. for the Casualty Branch. As regards the actual repatriation of the ex-Prisoners, those collected in the British area were mostly staged through India; a number came by sea direct, while those collected in both areas in urgent need of hospital treatment were mostly accommodated temporarily in Australia and New Zealand. The names of Prisoners released by the American Forces were cabled to the British Army Staff, Washington, and re-transmitted to Cas. P.W. Confirmation was received by nominal rolls.


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    In December, 1941 the Section of the War Office Casualty Branch, located at Liverpool, dealing specifically with Prisoners of War, was detached to continue its work in London (Curzon Street House, Curzon Street, London, W.1.), alongside the Directorate of Prisoners of War.

    A Centre was immediately established to which the Public could direct enquiries, both personally and by telephone regarding Prisoners of War and prepared to deal with all classes of casualty questions: it, of course, duplicated the Enquiry Room in Liverpool but by reason of its location received many more enquiries than its counterpart in Liverpool.

    A large room was comfortably equipped for the purpose, and an atmosphere of informality, friendliness and sympathetic understanding was cultivated to put visitors at their ease. Fortunately a woman of suitably sympathetic temperament and wide experience of human nature was available to preside over the room. The Enquiry Room was supervised generally by a permanent official of Civilian Staff Officer grade who was called upon as required to deal with the more difficult or troublesome questions raised by visitors from time to time or to meet the more important visitors. This officer had other responsibilities in the Section apart from the Enquiry Centre.

    Naturally the number of enquiries fluctuated with the course and events of the War. At the same time or soon after the establishment of the Enquiry Centre in December, 1941, Hong Kong (December 1941), Malaya and Singapore (February 1942) were lost and nary the whole of the garrisons at these places died fighting or surrendered. Many months elapsed before it was possible to give news of the personnel involved and in the interval the stress of enquiries was large and continuous. Other peak periods for visitors are the battle in North Africa, the defeat of Italy (September 1943) when the bulk of the Prisoners of War in Italian camps fell into German hands causing severe disappointment to relatives, the major battles with the German Forces in Italy and France and the defeats of Germany (May 1945) and Japan (August 1945) when an overwhelming number of enquiries were received and dealt with relative to the safety of Prisoners of War in Germany and the Far East and their subsequent repatriation. A heavy death roll in the Far East resulted in hundreds of enquiries.

    Throughout, the Enquiry Room answered all types of casualty questions, apart from those relating to Prisoners of War, and the interviewing clerks telephoned Record Offices, as well as the Cas. L. for the requisite information since necessarily only the records of Prisoners of War were immediately available at Curzon Street House.

    Statistics showing number of visitors to the War Office Enquiry Centre for Casualties and Prisoners of War


    For some time before May 1944, there were evidences of public dissatisfaction with the handling by the Government of the problem of the large numbers of Prisoners of War and civilian Internees in Japanese hands. The argument was used by that small proportion of the Public most affected that, having regard to the number of Departments concerned with the problem, there was no one Minister properly to be held accountable for the alleged lethargy on Far East matters generally. The appointment of a single Minister for Prisoners of War was urged but the Foreign Secretary, made public through a deputation that the Government could not agree to this appointment and denied divided responsibility. He however saw the need for a Centre to which next-of-kin and others in doubt as to the correct office or Department to which to apply for information could refer.

    The Prisoner of War (Far East) Enquiry Centre was consequently set up on 24th May, 1944 and though not identical with any existing Government Department (it was intended to be quite distinct and had its own special notepaper for replies sent by post) representatives of all the Government Departments concerned thought the Centre would be best located in the existing War Office Casualty Enquiry Room at Curzon Street House where adequate facilities already existed.

    The Civilian Staff Officer already supervising the War Office Casualty Enquiry Centre was put in charge of this new Centre as he and his staff had already had some experience of handling questions and enquiries relating to the Far East and the Prisoners of War there. The Centre obviously could answer enquiries relating to Prisoners of War or civilian Internees whose records were maintained in Departments other than the War Office only in general terms but it maintained touch through liaison officers of the various Departments and was able to deal with most of its visitors.

    The Centre was much used in its early days, since its establishment was advertised widely through the Press and radio but after a few months the number of enquiries specifically directed to the Centre dropped off. Though theoretically it remained in existence throughout the War its administration naturally became merged with that of the War Office Casualty Enquiry Centre in the latter stages of the War in the Far East.


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    This Section alone corresponded with next-of-kin, relative, etc., of Prisoners of War (Other Ranks). It was supervised generally by the Civilian Staff Officer who supervised the War Office Casualty and Prisoners of War Enquiry Centre and the Prisoners of War (Far East) Enquiry Centre. Thus questions raised personally or by correspondence were considered and replied to on parallel lines.

    The numbers of letters sent to the public by the Other Ranks Prisoners of War Correspondence Section and by the Officers Prisoners of War Section were as follows:-



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    [probably explanatory notes for APPENDIX E , not marked as such & out of alphabetical order in the file.]


    The Section is responsible for maintaining records of all Officers Prisoners of War, and from these records preparing camp statistics and lists of Wounded and Protected Personnel for submission as eligible for examination by the Mixed Medical Commission.

    The Section is also responsible for notifying the next-of-kin and other appropriate departments of all Prisoner of War reports relating to British Army Officers, and other information concerning their location, health or welfare, and for dealing with any enquiries or other correspondence that may arise.

    First Prisoner of War Reports relating to possible British Army Officers
    Information that Officers are Prisoners of War is received in the Section by way of:-

    - Official Reports (from enemy sources).
    I.R.C.S. Telegrams.
    Enemy Official Lists.

    - Unofficial Reports.
    Other Lists through I.R.C.S., etc.
    Broadcast reports from the Vatican, etc.
    Information from other channels (e.g. next-of-kin).

    Immediately upon receipt telegrams and lists must be carefully examined and in the case of unofficial reports it must be determined in consultation with the person in charge of the section whether or not the report is to be classed as acceptable.

    A provisional index card is made out in pencil, marked “Provisional” and filed immediately in the main alphabetical index. Another card is filled in the “Unidentified” index which is kept under review until the identity is established. A possible identity can be made by consulting the “Missing” index which is kept up-to-date by means of the daily casualty list, and special notifications from O/S Liverpool. In any cases where a missing card is filed the provisional Prisoners of War card is marked “Previously Reported Missing” and the Prisoner of War report is copied on the the “Missing” card. In other cases the provisional card is marked “Not yet identified”.

    All names of possible Army Officers on official telegrams are entered in registers kept for the purpose, and separate registers are kept for the entry of action taken to notify Liverpool of reports on enemy official lists, and unofficial lists.

    Any names of possible British Army Officers reported Prisoner of War for the first time and then notified to Officers Section, Liverpool, by the following procedure:-

    1 . I.R.C.S. Telegram. It is not necessary for Prisoner of War London to notify Liverpool as the latter have copies of the telegrams and can proceed with identification. Officers’ Section will sent the B.M’s to London for identified cases to despatch confirmatory letters, etc.

    2 . Enemy Official Lists. Notification to be sent to Liverpool on form P.O.W.1 with as full details as possible to enable Officers’ Section to trace. They will then send telegrams to next-of-kin and forward B.M’s to London for confirmatory letter, etc.

    3 . Unofficial but acceptable reports. Forms P.O.W.1. are to be sent to Liverpool together with a copy of the list. Officers’ Section there will send telegrams to next-of-kin in any cases identified, and forward B.M’s to London for despatch of confirmatory letters, etc.

    4 . Unofficial (unconfirmed) Reports. A copy of the list will be forwarded to Officers’ Section, Liverpool, for any action necessary. Casualties London will not be interested at this stage.

    (It should be noted that Officers’ Section, Liverpool, when forwarding a B.M. to London under the above procedure at the same time forward a casualty rough to Publication Section for entry on the Casualty List).

    The Special Section which forwarded the report is to be notified as soon as possible, after reference to Liverpool has been made, of any names not identified (or identified as other than British Officers) in order than enquiries may at once be instituted regarding the correct identity of the Prisoners. They will notify P.O.W./O.S. of the result of their investigations, and if he is not a British Army Officer, the provisional card in the main index will be suitably amended and transferred to the appropriate binder in the regimental index (e.g. Navy, R.A.F., N.Z.E.F., W.I.F., etc), and the card in the Unidentified index will be transferred to the “Unidentified Settled” binder.

    When the Officers’ B.M. is received from Officers’ Section the next-of0kin is to be notified of the Prisoner of War report by letter, confirming any telegram already sent by O/S. Copies of this letter are to be sent:-
    1 . to F.4.P.M. (2 copies)
    2 . to agents (2 copies)
    3 . to A.P.O. Manchester (1 copy)
    and one copy is filed in the B.M.

    At the same time the provisional index card in the main index is amended as necessary, and the copy in the “Unidentified” binder amended and filed in the Regimental index. A copy of this card is:-
    1 . sent to B.R.C.S. (P.O.W. Department)
    2 . sent to M.I.9.
    3 . sent to P.O.W. Censorship, Liverpool.
    4 . filed in the camp index.

    The Officers’ name is also entered on the complete list of Officer Prisoners kept in a General file, and the date of capture and Detaining Power are to be added when known (this list is for the purpose of notifying F.2. Agents monthly of any new Prisoners reported and details of capture as received). Another entry is to be made in the case of protected personnel on the list in the General file regarding repatriation.

    All action taken is to be entered on a buff action sheet which is to be inserted in the B.M.

    Any entry in the register can then be cleared.

    The only exception to the above procedure are these cases where the next-of-kin resides in Australia, New Zealand and, South Africa, Canada and S. Rhodesia, when the confirmatory letter and the 5 copies are despatched by Publications Section, Liverpool; other procedure is carried out by P.O.W./O.S. as in normal cases.

    Subsequent reports and Correspondence.
    All locations or wound reports are entered on the action sheet in the B.M. and on the index cards.

    Next-of-kin are to be kept informed as promptly as possible of any fresh information regarding the Officers’ location, welfare, health, etc. and all indexes in P.O.W./O.S. kept up-to-date with latest details.

    In addition, the following are details of notifications to be sent to other branches:-

    Change of camp
    B.R.C.S. (P.O.W. Department), M.I.9., P.O.W. Censorship
    (B.R.C.S. notifications to include date and source of information and B.R.C.S. also require theatre of War (if other than B.E.F.), endorsed)

    Wounds, etc
    No notifications necessary other than to next-of-kin, but Officers’ Section are to be asked to forward amended Casualty fought to Publications, Liverpool, to realist as “Wounded and Prisoner of War”, if the report is official, and this will be death with as before. Any wounded cases are to be entered on the “Wounded List” in the General file regarding repatriation; details of wounds can be added when received.

    Change of next-of-kin, or next-of-kin’s address.
    B.R.C.S., M.I.9., Censors, A.P.O., Agents and Officers’ Section.

    Change of P/No., Rank or Regiment.
    B.R.C.S., M.I.9., Censors, .F.4.P.W., A.P.O., Agents and Officers’ Section.

    Internees or Detainees.
    Procedure as for Prisoner of War except that additional index card is filed in appropriate binder.

    Death while Prisoner of War.
    Notify B.R.C.S., M.I.9., and Censors if report acceptable and return B.M. promptly to Officers’ Section to notify next-of-kin and other branches. File duplicate index card in “Dead” binder. Notify P.W.2 of any peculiar circumstances causing the death.

    Escape or Rejoining Unit.
    (a ) If still at large in enemy occupied territory file duplicate card in “Escapees” binder only.
    (b ) If rejoined Unit, notify next-of-kin (by telegram and letter), B.R.C.S., M.I.9., Censors, F.4.P.W., A.P.O., Agents, and return B.M. to Officers’ Section. File duplicate index card in “Repatriated” binder.

    A copy of any “Escape” reports is filed in a special general file kept for the purpose.

    B.R.C.S. enquiry telegrams and Geneva replies.
    Extracts relating to Officers are sent to the Section, and any useful information should be noted. Names identified are passed through a register kept for the purpose.

    Press cuttings.
    Any information is treated as unofficial. Next-of-kin not to be informed, of course, but in some cases other action can be taken re change of camp address.

    Censors extracts from letters, etc. from Prisoners of War.
    Next-of-kin not to be informed but other action can be taken (if clear indication given) regarding change of camp addresses. Wounds can be noted for “Repatriation” file (if possibly eligible to go before Mixed Medical Commission).

    Dominions, etc., Navy and R.A.F. Officers P.O.W.
    In addition to identifications made by S.S. all other reports regarding Officers P.O.W. other than British Army Officers will be received in the Section, and the information is to be noted in the appropriate binder in the Regimental index. Similarly reports of wounds are to be recorded and the names of wounded and protected personnel entered on the lists in the general “Repatriation” file.

    Camp Reports.
    Camp reports of any other information from any source whatever which gives an indication of camp conditions (e.g. deaths through a particular form of illness, etc.) are to be filed in the appropriate “Treatment” file which is kept with the general files.


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    There are more standard letters, info leaflets etc to upload, but I'll have to do those at another time when my internet connection isn't so slow.

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    Complete documentation of Officers on being reported Prisoners of War, and so long as they remained Prisoners of War, was the responsibility of the Officers Prisoners of War Section of Cas. P.W. in contrast to that of the “Other Ranks” which was to a large extent decentralised through Record Offices. The section was supervised by the Civilian Staff Officer who had charge of the Prisoners of War Enquiry Centre and the “Other Ranks” Correspondence Section.

    The following records were kept:-

    1 . An index of all Officers reported Missing, compile dorm cards furnished by Cas. L.

    2 . An index of all Officers subsequently reported as Prisoners of War maintained alphabetically, the theatre of war in which they were captured, indicated by different coloured cards.

    3 . A similar index kept in regimental order, the card under 1. being utilised for the purpose.

    4 . An index of Prisoners of War dying in captivity, Escapers and those reverted to the “Missing” category.

    5 . Miscellaneous index made up of provisional cards for all unidentified Officers shown on any report, official or unofficial received in the Section. This index proved valuable for fixing identifications; other information in the index was found to relate to Officers of other Services, etc.

    6 . A Prisoners of War Camp Index; moves of Prisoners of War from one camp to another were recorded as reported.

    Note:- Index ‘cards’ (flexible, were kept in Binder form, not in filing boxes or drawers).


    International Red Cross Committee Cables
    A copy of all telegrams received in Cas. P.W. was forwarded to Cas. L. and they returned names of any Officers unidentified. These were sent to S.S. Section who instituted special enquiries to obtain further details to identify the Officer.

    All names of Officers shown on cables were entered in a register kept in the Section, and a provision card made out. This register was kept under review until the identity of every name was established.

    If a first Prisoner of War report was given, Cas. L. forwarded the file (Branch B.M. not personal papers) of the Officer concerned, after telegraphing the news to next-of-kin. Cas. P.W. followed up the telegram with a confirmatory letter to next-of-kin sending copies to the authorities concerned. (Army Pay Office, Manchester, F..4.P.W., B.R.C.S., Agents and earlier in War M.I.9).

    Changes of camp were also reported on International Red Cross Committee Cables and Cas. P.W. notified next-of-kin and Army Pay Office, etc. (as above).

    When deaths of Officer Prisoners of War were reported the Officers’ file was sent to Liverpool, who promulgated the death report to next-of-kin.

    All reports were entered on index card and the Action Sheet in the Officers’ file even if action could not be taken.

    Enemy Official Lists
    These were compiled by Detaining Power and reported changes of camps, deaths, and hospital lists giving details of wounded. Next-of-kin were notified of these reports and Cas. L. of first Wounded reports to realist them in Casualty List.

    A general file was at one time kept with details of Seriously Wounded, and Protected Personnel, for the negotiations which were then taking place regarding repatriation.

    Unofficial Reports came from various sources, and were carefully examined to determine whether or not they should be classed as acceptable. Provisional cards were made out, as in other reports.

    British Red Cross Society enquiry cables and Geneva replies were perused for any useful information and recorded only.

    Press Cuttings. Changes of Camp were often obtained from these and recorded only.

    Censors extracts
    Changes of camp addresses, and details of wounds not reported by the enemy were obtained from communications passing between Prisoners of War and relatives, and were recorded only. Many hardship cases concerning both next-of-kin and Officers were brought to light through Censorship and (without divulging the source of information) were assisted. Names of Prisoners of War who had died were often mentioned in personal correspondence and where the enemy had not reported these, enquiries are instituted.

    Enemy Radio Broadcasts
    Messages monitored by the British Broadcasting Corporation were sent to next-of-kin and were much appreciated. Where a list of names with one covering message was received the next-of-kin was notified that the Officer’s name was included in the Broadcast. If an Officer mentioned a fellow Prisoner in his message every effort was made to identify him and to inform his next-of-kin. Difficulties were sometimes encountered in these cases, as a christian name or surname only may have been mentioned and identification was made from deduction, but replies received from next-of-kin proved that in nearly all cases the deductions were correct. Names and addresses in Broadcasts generally were rather mutilated when received.

    Letters addressed to next-of-kin, etc., from this Section are included in the figures given under “Other Ranks Correspondence Section”.


    P6370591.JPG APPENDIX G.JPG P6370592.JPG
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    Almost as soon as the first Officers fell into enemy hands enquiries began to be received in the War Office from next-of-kin claiming any kit or effects of the Officer, which might have been salvaged, their primary purpose being to sent some of the kit (clothing) to the interned Officers for their use in Prisoner of War camps. The number of requests, at first small, became rather a problem in early 1942. Most of these requests were addressed to or found their way to Cas. P.W. (Officer Prisoner of War Section). Endeavours to find a branch in the War Office which would consider it its duty to look after this matter were abortive and discussion as to who would be responsible subsequently ranged at Directors’ level. Finally after several months P.U.S. (reluctantly) agreed with A.U.S. that to end an impasse Cas. P.W. should accept responsibility for authorising the disposal of kits, etc., of Officers who were Prisoners of War. (In point of fact Cas. P.W. had already assumed the responsibility unofficially since throughout the discussion applications continued to be received and criticism by the Public at the delay in dealing with them became acute).

    Disposal of kits and effects was to be on application by an Officers’ representative and then only when the property had reached store in the United Kingdom. (Kits of Missing Officers were handled by Q(M)13(b ), of Other Ranks by Record Offices and of deceased personnel by Effects Branch - 45/Gen/5631 refers.)

    At first, as indicated, Cas. P.W. awaited a direct application for kit from the Officers’ representative to whom it was released when it was clear (by production of power of attorney - a mere statement that applicant was Officers’ attorney was accepted normally - or their authority) that the applicant was acting or in accordance with the Officers’ wishes. In the absence of these authorities, kit (but not personal effects, i.e. documents, articles of intrinsic value) was released on the applicant signing a ‘form of indemnity’ drawn up by Treasury Solicitor.

    Later, next-of-kin were told of the steps they should take if the issue of kit was required by means of a note (copy appended) despatched with the first Prisoner of War report and other relevant literature.

    Most of the kits brought home were form the Middle East Command (North African and Italian Campaigns): No kits were salvaged belonging to Officers who fought in France earlier in the War owing to the circumstances of the evacuation of the Continent by the Expeditionary Force, nor (similarly) were any kits forthcoming from the Far East.

    The procedure adopted for the disposal of kits generally worked smoothly and well and satisfied the Public.

    Complications arose when Officers were repatriated from Germany as Protected Personnel and similarly when hostilities ceased in Europe. Strictly Q(M)13(b ) should have dealt with the direct applications for kit received from returned Officers since they were no longer Prisoners of War and therefore not within Cas. P.W’s “terms of reference”. That Branch however appeared not to be organised to deal with the spate of enquiries which were urgent inasmuch as the Officers needed their clothes after their long spell of internment. Personal appeals and visits by Officers to Cas. P.W. for assistance became numerous and embarrassing and the Branch was forced into voluntarily undertaking to assist. This meant the despatch of numerous cables to the Standing Committee of Adjustment, Middle East, requesting them to search for and to sent home retrieved kit and on arrival Cas. P.W. issued disposal instructions. Much correspondence was sometimes involved if property was lost in transit. In addition, and as a natural consequence of Cas. P.W’s interest in the repatriated Officer, the Section instituted enquiries for kit and other property left in prison camps in Germany, generally to no good purpose, the kit having usually been looted by Displaced Persons.

    Kits left with Units by Officers engaged on Commando raids from this country fell to be dealt with under normal peace-time procedure. This was rather halting at first and again there was an attempt on the part of the military to pass the question to Cas. P.W. who nonetheless were not to be drawn.


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    Owing to my slow internet connection I'm still uploading some images to Appendix F; apart from that this transcription is now finished.

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