TNA started cataloguing records of POW’s in Germany

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by Mr B, Jan 18, 2018.

  1. Mr B

    Mr B Junior Member

    Hi all, not sure if this has already been posted and or spoken about but I saw this earlier on Facebook from the TNA.
    I found these two paragraphs rather interesting:
    hopefully this will release more information and help further people’s research.
  2. Lindele

    Lindele formerly HA96

    Mr. B,

    great files. In my research so far, I had other sources or asked for help.
    Since I read German, this is just wunderbar. Thanks.

  3. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    Thanks for sharing.

    I suspect these items will be from the centrally held individual POW registration Index cards for that were seized from Germany in the immediate post war period that have only been available thus far by way of FOI application.

    I note that the examples on the blog are for officer POW’s at Stalag Luft 3 and contain photographs.

    I made a FOI application for my late father (Army) and only received the Index Card - same format as the last German form on the blog for Sq Leader Bushell. Wonder if only officers were photographed?

  4. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    No all ranks were, I`ve seen a couple of these in a mates private collection (l/Cpl and a Sgt) I know of a few more in family hands which means although the collection is welcomed it will never be,unfortunately,complete.

  5. Incredibledisc

    Incredibledisc Well-Known Member

    Good news hopefully. I made a FOI request for my late great grandfather’s index card but they couldn’t find it. I’m hoping that it was misfiled and may turn up now they are going through the records to digitise them. Failing that I’ll take any other info I can get.
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  6. Incredibledisc

    Incredibledisc Well-Known Member

    I noticed this at the bottom of the page:

    These cards came into the possession of the British Army at the end of the Second World War, which passed them to the War Office in London.As part of claims made by ex-POWs, cards were taken out of the collection and used as evidence to support the claim. In most cases, the card was placed on the claim file and not returned to this series.”

    I wonder what claims they are referring to? When I first started researching I was told the War Pensions Agency in Glasgow had these cards but when I contacted them the claimed they had returned them to TNA.

    Edit: the blog post adds this: “These cards may form part of personnel’s service records, still held by the Veterans Agency

    I already have service records and no POW info was included.

    I also notice the blog post claims Wing Commander Harry Day was executed along with Roger Bushell for his part in “The Great Escape” this is incorrect as Day survived the war.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2018
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  7. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    My grandfather's POW index card (POW's of the Japanese) was mis-filed and in completely the wrong box. It was only through searching each of the 56 boxes to find other men held at the same camp, that I stumbled across him. This was, as you can imagine a very emotional moment.
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  8. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    Possibly ill health pension claims based on ill treatment/injuries/sickness suffered whilst POW?

    Presumably the POW Index Card would be checked (together with POW Questionnaire?) for evidence of any recorded admission to a Lazaret or record of punishments imposed and recorded by German POW bureaucrats which might support the claimants version of events.

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  9. Mr B

    Mr B Junior Member

    Sorry if I’m asking a obvious question but are these cards going to be like the Japanese POW cards then?

  10. Incredibledisc

    Incredibledisc Well-Known Member

    I can only imagine what that was like. Worth the effort I’m sure.
  11. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    If you look at OP’s post and click on link in “TNA” quote you will see some examples of what TNA say is likely to come....but I suspect the vast majority will only comprise the very last document - buff coloured Index Card with German script for Sq Leader Bushell - as that is alll forum members received on making recent FOI requests.

    Incredibledisc likes this.
  12. Mr B

    Mr B Junior Member

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for the reply. I did just reread the link I posted (I am the OP) and it seems it was a very obvious question I asked. The cards do seem just like the Japanese POW cards, possibly the German ones have more information on them.

    Thanks again

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  13. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Are these the same as the index & questionnaire cards the late, lamented, Brian Sims ( @ADM199 ) devoted a fair chunk of his life to cataloguing?
    If so, didn't his work end up on findmypast or one of those big online repositories?
  14. Mr B

    Mr B Junior Member

    To be honest I'm not sure but I don’t think so as according to the TNA blog post the MOD transferred the series of records WO 416 in December 2014 but I could be wrong.

    (copied directly from the blog post) “the entire series has been closed: since the collection was accessioned in 2014 it is is not catalogued by name of individual as many may still be alive – we believe that the youngest of them was born in 1928. The collection can contain sensitive information about living individuals so, with the support of volunteers, we have started to catalogue the entire series: this enables us to open records for those born more than 100 years ago or where we have proof of death.”
  15. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Brian (and his wife) worked on producing an index for Escaper and Evader records, i.e. from TNA Series WO 208, a different kettle of fish, which is indeed on FMP (and if I remember correctly Brian also said that there is/was also a copy of his index available at TNA):
    WWII Escapers and Evaders |
    e.g. Escapers & Evaders, IRISH GUARDS

    The POW cards mentioned above are from Series WO 416

    Many thanks to Mr B for the heads-up.
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  16. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Just to add Brian was copying all the POW Liberation Reports, The three page document for Military Intelligence completed by around 50% of liberated POWs at the end of the war, Series WO 344. I think he had completed a very large chunk of them before he passed away and a few folk have wondered what had happened to them all but as far as I'm aware no one knows.

    These index cards are completely different from what Brian was working on.
  17. Lettsm2

    Lettsm2 Member


    I was hoping for a bit of clarification on the release of these records.

    So, my grandfather was 'COX' so will his record be digitised by July 2018 as long as the schedule is kept to?

    Then, because he would not be 100 until later this year, even his digitised record would not be available until later this year?

    I am thinking it is worth going ahead with the £23 paid search to release his record before the end of the year if this is the case.

  18. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    Don’t think the forum can give any clarification. You’ll need to contact TNA...

    Canadian Archives gave an unrealistic timetable when they started to digitally copy and make available for free CEF WW1 service files in 2014 but started to give monthly updates on progress.

    All I got through a FOI request for a search of WO416 was one piece of paper which just corroborated the information I’d already obtained for free from ICRC and from a personal visit to TNA to locate and copy his Liberation Questionnaire.

    I’d have been upset if I’d paid £23 for a piece of paper that told me nothing more than I’d already learned.....

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  19. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Looks like the first tranche up to WO 416/51 has been released, over 17,500 individuals.

    This link will list the opened cards (in random order):

    Although would be better to drill down per box. For example change WO416%2F in the link to WO416%2F1 to filter just WO 416/1, etc.

    Or change the * to a surname in the search box.

    Will try to pull up an example on my next visit to Kew to see what is what.

    I'll probably be able to photograph these for £4.50 per individual if order is placed directly through my website here Document Copy Service -


    Edit to fix Discovery link
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2018
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  20. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    Thanks for posting Lee.

    Looking at a few records at random (non officers) I picked up on this breakdown of the individual description of the record held -

    Number of Photographs: 0.

    Number of Fingerprints: 0.

    Number of X-rays: 0.

    Number of Cards: ?

    Of the records I looked at (unscientific sample!) Photographs, Fingerprints & X Ray lines were blank (0) and Number of Cards were noted as either 1 or 2 - no examples of the 10+ Documents - with photo’s - in the officer records highlighted in the OP’s link to TNA blog.

    Hopefully Lee will attach a couple of examples but I suspect when 1 or 2 Cards are listed it will be the buff Index Card- with writing on either one or two sides.

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