Prisoner Of War Lists

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by ADM199, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    Over many years I have used both the Published and Unpublished List of WW11 Prisoners of War. Just occasionally but not in great depth until recently.

    The POW Lists on Ancestry are those Compiled in April 1945. The information in them came from German and Red Cross sources. These lists are the ones previously Published.
    By the time of Compilation they were very much out of date regarding Camp location given due to the Westward migration of many Camps in the Winter of 44 - 45. Several thousand Camp locations are not as given.

    Camps given for other Ranks were for the most part only where they were Registered; not located, as most were set to work and mostly supervised by N.C.O. P.O.W. Some work details were many miles from the Camp of registration.
    Last year a member posted a photo of a member of the R.A.A.F. posing with Douglas Bader at Colditz. In both the 1944 - 1945 lists in WO 392 the man was listed as being in St.Luft V1. Obviously something was not as stated,so a copy of the mans Liberation Report was found. He was in Colditz with Bader and had never been in Luft V1.
    The lists are far from 100% accurate. All this is confirmed in the many such reports read.

    Now we come to WO 392/21:- I like Steve thought this was P.O.W. Locations as of August 1943 but in the last 18 months I have found them not to be anything near to that.
    Camp details are totally out of date and in many cases the prisoner had only been in the camp a matter of days and had moved on as many as four more times before the Armistace. They were compared with statements made by 4100 Escapers into Switzerland I have. Less than 3% were in the Camp Given.

    About three weeks ago I studied the file in great depth and found the following :- Over 240 are given a Libyan Camp as location. Many others are given no location at all.

    The most surprising find was the names of 608 P.O.W. who had died on the S.S.Scillin on 14/11/1942. Amongst these was my Father, with the wrong initials but correct Service No.
    At the same time the casualty list for the Nino Bixio(17/8/1942) was checked against the file. Ninety one were found listed of which Fifteen were buried in Greece.
    66808 Pte E F Chell 21st Btn. 2 N.Z.E.F.
    33695 Pte I G Pavicic 24th Btn. 2 N.Z.E.F.
    19635 Pte D Peterson 26th Btn. 2 N.Z.E.F.
    46191 Pte O T Rowe 25th Btn. 2 N.Z.E.F.
    4346264 Pte W Martin 5th Btn. East Yorks. Rgt.
    4618109 Pte M S Mills 5th Btn. East Yorks. Rgt.
    4466532 Pte P Morgan 8th Btn. D.L.I.
    7904051 Tpr W F Mottram 4th Btn. R.T.R.
    7366678 Pte J C Muir R.A.M.C.
    4346342 Pte J Murray 5th Btn. East Yorks. Rgt.
    4461386 Pte R W Peel 8th Btn. D.L.I.
    941950 Gnr J J Prosser 11th Rgt. R.H.A.
    7894001 Sgt.J E Riley 50th Btn. R.T.R.
    7933092 Tpr W Sherratt 50th Btn. R.T.R.
    7917570 Tpr N J Thompson 50th Btn R.T.R. listed as being in Camp 82.
    Others had no Camp location given.

    No doubt more "Ghosts" could be found to add to the 699 Listed.

    The file gives the impression of having been compiled from lists of prisoners taken between 1941 and 1943 that were given by the Italians.
    Those confirmed as dead have been deleted.
    The Information in the File is just seriously misleading in many places except for Service Nos which seemed to be 100%

    Hope this Post helps those with little or no knowledge of P.O.W. in WW11
    Edwina and dbf like this.
  2. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Thank you for taking the time to explain so succinctly the pitfalls of these lists. I am sure that this will lead to a greater understanding of how to treat the information given.
  3. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    Lets Hope so Diane.
  4. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    Hi Brian,

    I think that POW records for WW2 are about to go through a hiatus, what with the new WO361 series finds, especially in relation to the POW's of the Japanese.

    I think WO392/21 can only be used as an initial resource for service details and confirming POW status at some point in Italy. But as I have found it is still valuable to families as a starting position.

    Trouble for me know is there are about 20 new file references for me to investigate in regard to Rangoon and it's inmates within the WO361's.:rolleyes:

    Just when I thought I had finally tied it all down. Fool that I am.:)
  5. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Brian, what are the resources available for those trying to find out more information about POWs - and which are the most reliable in your opinion - or the most helpful.

    I remember it was you who mentioned to me about the IRC - and about the fact that there are reports filed at Kew about Camps on top of the info kept on individuals in their own archives. In your opinion would these latter still be worth applying for if there happens to be a 'decent' Liberation report at Kew?
  6. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    As I said Steve the file cannot even be trusted as a guide to POW in Italy. Many never got to Italy as I hope is shown in my post, and the only thing about the file that is consistant is Service Nos.
    dbf likes this.
  7. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    The most helpful files regarding a POW are the Liberation Reports, it is these that show file mistakes that are in WO 392. Sadly not all former POW made one. From what I know from experience is that those who were in the R.A.F. are more likely to have made a report.
    Red Cross reports are another help in understanding life as a POW. Some work camps were visited a few times and the nature of the work is given.

    The WO 361 Files that I have hold information of very varied quality. I feel that some do not contain the complete information that was(is) available.

    Brian, what are the resources available for those trying to find out more information about POWs - and which are the most reliable in your opinion - or the most helpful.

    I remember it was you who mentioned to me about the IRC - and about the fact that there are reports filed at Kew about Camps on top of the info kept on individuals in their own archives. In your opinion would these latter still be worth applying for if there happens to be a 'decent' Liberation report at Kew?
    BarbaraWT likes this.
  8. Son of POW-Escaper

    Son of POW-Escaper Senior Member

    Hi folks,

    My father's MI9 post-war debrief is found in AIR 2/9125. But his story may not be typical.

  9. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    There are several sources for information given by ex POW .

    The main group are in WO 344. The Escaper and Evader reports are in WO 208. I have copies of all that were made. There are more reports made by former POW in the WO 208 Files than the readers guides indicate.

    The R.A.F. in many cases have duplicates to those in WO 208. Sometimes with annotations.
    Then you get to WO 309 - WO 310 - WO311 and other War Crimes files that hold information given by former POW.

    The sources for such information are many, but you have to look for them. Award Citations are the ones you refer to Marc, but there are also publications such as "For Distinguished Conduct in the Field" which contains sections of Five Escapers reports that are still closed at Kew. Bizarre as it may seem a request for the information to be put back in the Reports under the F.O.I.A. was refused.

    Hi folks,

    My father's MI9 post-war debrief is found in AIR 2/9125. But his story may not be typical.

  10. Son of POW-Escaper

    Son of POW-Escaper Senior Member

    Thanks for the clarification, Brian.

    I wonder what in the world would cause them to keep these files secret after so long?

    Actually, when I asked them in 2006 why my father's Home Office file would be kept closed until 2051 (!), they said something to the effect that the file likely contained material that could be considered harmful to his family. I told them that I WAS his family, I had a pretty good idea what was in the file, and I wanted to see the file. They replied that the only way to have the file opened early was by way of an application under the Freedom of Information Act. I applied, and was successful within about 2 months.

    But mine is a different story, as the file was about a single man (as opposed to a group of men), and I was his direct heir.


    Ken P and bhwoodward like this.
  11. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    What I was told Marc was that all the Escapers made unproven allegations against third parties.

    As both men were very senior N.C.Os in 1941 it was most probable that they were no longer with us.
    There was no reply when I quoted from "For Distinguished Conduct in the Field" and named the two men as R.S.M Davidson of the 8th D.L.I. and R.S.M. Letts.

    As the book was originally published in Canada perhaps there are duplicates of all Escapers in that Country.
    It could also be that the accused or their Family objected on the grounds that they were never charged with collaboration as accused.

    Escapers Reports hold many such allegations.
  12. Son of POW-Escaper

    Son of POW-Escaper Senior Member

    Very interesting, Brian.

    Thanks for the illumination.

  13. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Brian, thanks for posting this important information.

    Although compiled lists like this one are bound to contain errors and inaccuracies, it is shocking to see how way off the mark this particular record group can be. You're to be commended for your dogged research of POW records over many years.

    It can be a natural tendency to accept the primary written records as the ultimate arbiter of 'truth'. However, the written archives can often be just as inaccurate, incomplete or biased as other sources. They have to be taken as one piece of the jigsaw rather than the complete picture.

    dbf likes this.
  14. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    So true Lee.

    These as with other series of documents at Kew can be taken too literally, which doesn't help.

    Only discovered with experience.

  15. Skepskop

    Skepskop Junior Member

    Hi All,

    I am trying to trace details of my grandfather Donald Morgan, he was captured in North Africa by Rommels forces and spent time in a POW camp, does anyone have any idea how I would go about tracing information here? Thanks
  16. 52nd Airborne

    52nd Airborne Green Jacket Brat

    Hi All,

    I am trying to trace details of my grandfather Donald Morgan, he was captured in North Africa by Rommels forces and spent time in a POW camp, does anyone have any idea how I would go about tracing information here? Thanks

    There are 2 Morgan's listed in the South African section of "Prisoners of War, Armies & Other Land Forces of the British Empire 1939-1945" book. Do you know your grandfathers full name?
  17. Jonmc999

    Jonmc999 Junior Member

    Hello, I have been given this thread to see if i could get some help or advice on where to find information regarding my Grandad, He was a POW in StalagXVIIIA he was fighting in Greece in 1941. He sadly passed away in 2011 so I have the following information from his POW ID Card



    Kgf._ Mannsch. Stammlager

    XV111 A

    Wolfsberg in Karten


    Nationalitat : British.

    Vor - und Zuname : McHALE. John

    Geburtsjahr: 3 8 -19

    Erkennungs - Nr XV111 A 3161

    Arbeitskommando Nr. A - KSF LAGER

    Einsatz - Ort :
    Kreis :

    Unterschrift des Kgf : U / FFL

    I`m not sure if i have posted this in the correct place as i`m looking for any information regarding his time in Stalag.

    Thank you for what ever information you can provide.
  18. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    The following is a transcript of a letter and report about POW records in Germany in April 1945. The original is on one of the files mentioned: my notes do not make it clear which one. I am amused to note that there were some very desireable London addresses occupied by military folk.

    WO311/5 or WO311/8 or WO311/17

    SLOANE 3477 Ext 728

    20 Eaton Square, London, S.W.1

    30th May, 1945

    BM.3915 A.G.3 (VW)

    Treasury Solicitor's Office
    ( Sir T. Burgess)
    Storey's Gate,
    St.James's Park,

    J.A.G's Office,
    6 Spring Gardens,
    Cockspur Street,

    P.W. Records Captured in Germany

    I have been asked by P.W.2 to forward for your information the attached copy of a memorandum and report on the position regarding capture of certain records of PW at SAALFIELD, MEININGEN and TORGAU ( Ref. No. BM. 3879 ( P.W.2)).

    We are informed that the present position is that records at TORGAU which included the Gestapo records are reported to have been destroyed, those at SAALFELD dealing with British personnel have been transferred by the Americans to MEININGEN. All the records relating to the British will probably be lifted from MEININGEN and brought back to U.K. in the near future, depending on the decision of Cas. P.W.

    (sgd) M? D? Irham


    War Office File No: B.M.3879 (P.W.2) SECRET


    1. During the course of recent operations the establishment containing all the records and effects ( including pay documents ) of Allied prisoners of war captured by the Germans has fallen into Allied hands as well as the complete casualty records of the German Armed Forces. A preliminary inspection has been made by Major E.T.XPerry ( Cas. PW) whose report is attached at Appendix A. It appears that the German Prisoner of War Information Bureau was located as follows:-

    SAALFIELD )( captures, inter-camp transfers, etc., )

    MEININGEN )( deaths, effects, correspondence section)

    TORGAU ) ( Pay and employment records, records of prisoners of war in Gestapo hands.) This place is in Russian occupation and no inspection has yet been possible.

    2. The staffs at Saalfield and Meiningen were also captured and, under Allied supervision, are at the latter place continuing with their work which is greatly in arrears. At Appendix B is a Schedule of Work, prepared by Major Perry, to be continued on an urgent basis. This schedule is in operation.

    3. The U.S. Military Authorities have already sent a party to deal with the records and it is clear that arrangements must be made as soon as possible to despatch a British party for the same purpose. It is believed that the records and effects in question cover prisoners of war of all our Allies and possibly civilian internees as well. A comprehensive register of the graves of Allied soldiers is also included. The Prisoner of War and Refugees Department of the Foreign Office will therefore be interested as well as Dominion Military Authorities, the India Office, and representatives of Allied Governments. It is understood that the complete casualty records and effects of the German armed forces ( including Italians and other nationals) and a register of graves are also held by this Establishment. The maintenance of these records will be a matter of concern to the Allied Control Commission.

    4. It should be pointed out that Torgau, Saalfield and Meiningen are all in the Russian Zone of Occupation on German surrender. Experience shows that, though neither is easy, it is less difficult to maintain a British establishment already in possession than to persuade Soviet Authorities to admit one afterwards. This is a further argument in favour of sending a party out quickly. The records at Torgau will be of particular interest since, if anywhere, the records of those captured while on special employment will be there. As already
    pointed out, Torgau is now in Soviet hands.

    5. It is suggested that the primary aims should be:-

    (a) As regards the Records of the German Armed Forces. To maintain the existing organisation and keep it running up to date.

    (b) As regards Records of Allied Prisoners of War. To ensure that the existing German staffs complete their arrears and hand over all the records in good order and facilitate currently all necessary reference and research.

    6. It is proposed to call a meeting at Curzon Street House, Room 103, at 3.0 p.m. on Friday 4th May to concert the best and speediest arrangements for despatching the necessary personnel to safeguard British interests in connection with these records. At Appendix C is a provisional draft War Establishment for which, as it may be agreed at the meeting, approval should, it is suggested, be promptly sought from the War Establishment Committee. Appointments and postings can then be made at once and the party sent to Germany.

    You are requested to attend or be represented.


    Admiralty (Mr.W.N.Hanna)
    Air Ministry ( Group Captain R.Burges)
    Ministry of War Transport ( Mr.F.B.Vigor)
    Foreign Office ( Mr.W.St.C.H.Roberts)
    Canada House ( Mr.A.Bell)
    Australia House( Major J.L.Lenehan)
    New Zealand Govt. Offices ( Major H. Sinclair-Thomson)
    South Africa House ( Mr .C.H.Taljaard)
    India Office (Mr.A.R.Swinnerton)
    Control Commission ( Lt.Col. De Pass and Lt.Col. Skinner)
    D. of C.
    D.F. (b)
    D.F. (d)
    D.D.S.D. (C)
    D.D.M.I. (P/W)
    D.D.M.I. (I)
    A.G.3 (V.W.)
    F.4 (P/W)
    Cas. (PW)



    Records are located at Torgau, Saalfeld and Meiningen.

    TORGAU ( not visited) appears to be the chief administration centre, controlling the labour organisation ( slave as well as prisoner of war labour) and is stated to have records of prisoners employed at work detachments, etc. The source of this information believes that pay records are also held there and that there are some records relating to prisoners of the Gestapo. It is from Torgau that telegrams are sent to the I.R.C.C.

    SAAFELD was visited on 25th April for an hour or so. This is the main records office for all casualties (enemy and allied) housing Departments I, II, III and VII and administering Departments IV, V, VI, and VIII which are located at Meiningen for reason of lack of accommodation at Saalfeld. These Departments at Saalfeld which employ some 900 staff are apparently intact; they mostly deal with German etc. casualty reports. Copies of the telegrams despatched from Torgau to the I.R.C.C. are sent here, converted into lists and forwarded to Meiningen. Much information from camps, hospitals, etc. is wrongly received here and about 6 weeks' accumulation is awaiting processing and forwarding to Meiningen. The effects of deceased prisoners of war and battle casualties are sent to Saalfeld where they are classified, recorded and transferred to Meiningen. The amount of Allied material in hand could not be ascertained but there appears to be several full sacks.

    The caualty records of the German armed forces are maintained here: no close examination of arrangements was made.

    MEININGEN houses four Departments.

    IV Registration of Graves: records in card index form are maintained alphabetically by nationalities including German and also by countries and areas in which the graves are located. These records appear to be well kept and in good useable order.

    V Effects and wills: These are received from camps and hospitals and are eventually sent to Geneva. Only a few British wills ( i.e. paybooks) are in hand. The Head of the Department stated that no effects had been despatched since October 1944 and he estimated that between 5,000 and 6,000 British cases were awaiting action. The Effects Department has been entered by troops and the effects packages, enemy and Allied, broken up and scattered to a considerable extent. An enormous amount of sorting will be necessary to retrieve articles of sentimental value though few of intrinsic worth are likely to be found.

    VI Death certificates: The procedure for the completion of death certificates is controlled here and records maintained.

    VIII Prisoner of war and death lists and records: This Department maintains a card index of all prisoners of war and records of Allied dead. Totenlists and camp lists are despatched from here to the Protecting Power, I.R.C.C., etc. The prisoner of war index cards contain all camp, hospital etc. moves, but not employment at work detachments. In the dead index all information-the prisoner of war card, hospital card, the personal card, which is normally kept at the prisoner's camp, death report and certificate - are brought together in one dossier. The records in this Department are kept alphabetically by nationalties and appear to be well cared for.

    General Remarks

    The impression gained by inspection and interrogation is that the German authorities at Meiningen have endeavoured faithfully to carry out their obligations and are anxious to complete them. During recent months internal mail and transport difficulties have considerably affected the transit of information from camps etc. and much material may be lost or mislaid.

    2nd May 1945
    dbf likes this.
  19. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    Appendix B ( same file references) to the above document reads as follows:


    Schedule of Work

    I. Work to be commenced immediately on all records relative to:

    British Commonwealth

    British Commonwealth equals: Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, India and Colonies.
    It should be noted that individuals of various nationalties ( e.g. French, Poles, Norwegians etc.) served with British Forces, particularly R.A.F. The records to include: Army, Navies, Air Forces and Merchant Seamen.

    II. First priority to be given to the completion of Totenlisten and Gefallenenlisten. Copies of all Totenlisten and Gefallenenlistten prepared since 1st October 1944 to be made available for transmission to the respective countries as quickly as possible. All death certificates to be made ready for transmission as soon as Totenlisten have been completed.

    III. Second priority to be given to the completion of Registration of Graves. This information to be separated for each country ( see paragraph I) and arranged alphabetically by surname. Separate records to be maintained of cases where

    (a) nationality is known but name unknown.

    (b) name known but nationality unknown

    (c) nationality and name unknown.

    IV. Assets and Wills. Each packet to show particulars of the individual, as follows:- Country, Name and Service number and grouped by countries. Lists to be prepared to correspond with packets in each group.

    V. Prisoner of War Camp and hospital lists to be completed according to usual procedure. Information relating to prisoners captured on and after 1st October 1944 to be separated for early transmission to respective countries.
  20. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    To complete the transcription of the document to be discussed at a meeting on 4th May 1945 here is Appendix C. The original was partly typed in tabular form which is beyond my word processing skills to reproduce.


    Headquarters Control Unit - Enemy Prisoner of War Records

    War Establishment

    (I) Personnel

    Lt. Colonel 1
    Adjutant ( Captain) 1
    Interpreter ( Capt or Sub) 1 note (a)
    Casualty Officers ( Majors or Captains from Civilian Casualty Branch) 2
    Supervising Clerk (W.O.1) 1
    Clerks ( Sgts.) 2
    Driver I.C. ( Ptes ) 2
    Cooks A.C.C. (Pte) 1

    Total H.Q. Staff: 11

    NOTE. Mess orderlies and Batmen to be found from enemy personnel.

    (a) Where Headquarters Unit is situated in area of Russian occupation an additional interpreter ( Captain or Subaltern Russian speaking) will be allowed.

    (II) Transport

    Trucks 15 Cwt. 4 x 2 G.S. 2
    Motor Cycle Solo 1




    (i) Personnel

    Major ( Note (a) ) 1

    Interpreter ( Capt or Sub) ( Note (b) ) 1

    Clerks S/Sgt 1
    Sgts 2

    Driver I.C. Pte 2

    Cooks A.C.C. Pte 1

    Total Detachment 8


    (a) When detachment is operating in area of Russian occupation, the Commanding Officer will be a Lieut-Colonel.

    (b) When detachment is operating in area of Russian occupation an additional interpreter ( Capt. or Subaltern, Russian speaking ) will be allowed.

    Mess orderlies and Batmen to be found from enemy personnel.

Share This Page