Service Record Application - Prisoner of War

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by HollyW, Apr 17, 2024.

  1. HollyW

    HollyW New Member


    I am very new to genealogy and especially anything to do with military. My great grandfather was in the army and was taken as a Prisoner of War during WWII. I am trying to find out information as no one in my family knows anything.

    I have just sent the application for his service records from the MOD and I have seen I can request information through the Red Cross website when it reopens which I plan to do.

    I also can see that there are POW questionnaires held at the National Archives of which he may have completed one - would anyone be able to advise me if information from these questionnaires would be included in the MOD request or Red Cross request? I'm trying to figure out if I also need to plan a trip to London to search for his potential questionnaire or if I've already requested it.

    Thank you so much,
    JimHerriot likes this.
  2. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Welcome. The other source of some information are the army casualty lists & POW details, these can be seen online via findmypast or ancestry. They should provide very brief information especially if he was a POW, typical information may the date he went missing, if wounded and camps he was held at. Whether you can find him may depend on what information you have, a service number is best, just a name may be difficult. If you are getting into genealogy perhaps you have access to one of these sites.

    If you are able to share what information you do have - name, number etc - people around here may be able to help.

    You are taking the correct first step which is to send off for his official service records, it's all guess work without them. Good luck.
  3. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    The POW questionnaire will not be provided by MOD or TNA as part of a service record request.

    You don’t need to go to London to look for his POW questionnaire as 86,000 records were released on Ancestry last summer.

    Not all returning POW completed the questionnaire. Ancestry is available for free at many libraries.

    You may find that he has a hit on the German POW Index cards in series WO/416 at the National Archives. My experience is that these cards were the source material for information and updates sent to Swiss Red Cross but you may want to request copies of the cards - there may be more than one if he moved camps or spent time in hospital - from National Archives.

    I have my father’s liberation questionnaire, Red Cross (including a capture card (postcard completed at his first German camp) and WO416 documents and they are broadly consistent. It is often the case that the questionnaire is the only document that refers to the man’s work camp.



    I’m grateful that forum member timuk has sent me a PM and pointed out -

    “I think the figure of 80,000 refers to the number Ancestry have copied so far. The notes to War Office: Directorate of Military Intelligence: Liberated Prisoner of War Interrogation Questionnaires | The National Archives say that TNA hold 140,000 LQs.”

    Therefore there may be additional records to be added to the Ancestry database.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2024
    HollyW, vitellino and dbf like this.
  4. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Welcome aboard. There is plenty of knowledge and expertise here.

    It is vital you add his full name, Date of Birth, Service Number and if known their unit. Members can check their resources and do some online research. Others may be looking now and in the future for them; we regularly have people join who have found a post or thread about a relative.

    It might be worth checking if there is a local newspaper article about him. Most public libraries have access to the British Newspaper Archive when in the library, not online.

    It helps to add a ‘tag’ when you create a thread, only you can do this. It is for the formation / corps involved or a theme like intelligence. Searching tags can identify threads, otherwise it takes a bit longer.

    Some research tips, now a four pg. PDF available on: WW2 Soldier Research - Tips and Links for New Researchers (update) Plus: How to Start a new Thread / Edit Post / Upload Image
  5. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Hello Holly,

    If you feel you can post his name here we might be able to tell you quite a lot already.

    Best wishes,

  6. HollyW

    HollyW New Member

    Thank you for the information. I didn't realise the Questionnaires were online now so I have searched Ancestry and can't find it so I wonder if there are some more like the edited message above said.

    His name was Edward William Lee. Number 751190
    He was taken prisoner of war in 1940 and returned home in 1945.
    I believe he was in XXb camp
    Edit to add more information:
    DOB 6 March 1906
    Was a Sapper for Royal Engineers (I believe)

    His time at war had a huge impact on my family history so would love to find out any information I can.
    Thank you so much for being so helpful

  7. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Hello Holly,

    There are 11 references to him on Find my Past but they tell you nothing that you don't already know except his date of enrolment (1923).

    If there is no Liberation report you are not likely to find out anything else.

  8. HollyW

    HollyW New Member

    Ok thank you.
    I ordered documents from MOD and paid £24 so will see what they say but possibly it will just be the same as on ancenstry/find my past?
  9. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    Not wishing to put words into the mouth of Janet (vitellino) but I think her comment about “unlikely to find anything else” will refer to online material only. You will get sight of copies of original documents in his service record via MOD & Swiss Red Cross will provide a timeline of his POW movements based on information contained in the records held in their archive plus - if you are lucky - a copy of the “Capture Card” postcard he completed and sent to his NOK on arrival at his first camp.

    Last edited: Apr 25, 2024
  10. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member


    What are you particularly interested in finding out?

    Here is what is on Findmypast

    British Army Casualty Records
    WO 416/16 Missing France Date 07 06 1940
    WO 417/18 Prisoner of War. Date of document 10 09 40 - 01 10 40
    WO 417/90 Previously reported prisoner of war in German hands (Germany) not now prisoner of war Date of document 25 03 45 - 20 04 45

    WO 392/1 Prisoners of war in German hands. Germany. Date September 1944
    Camp number XXb Prisoner of war number 20368

    Royal Engineers' documentation: Record card
    enrolment date 14 09 1923
    now in allied hands 18 07 1945
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2024
  11. Coops_0031

    Coops_0031 Active Member


    The Aerolsen archives in Germany may have information and can be accessed online.

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