British/Empire PWs in WW1

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Sir_Sidney_Ruff_Diamond, Mar 6, 2008.

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  1. I have just been re-reading some of my WW1 novels recently and a thought struck me.

    Although there is an extensive body of work on the trials and tribulations of PWs in WW2 does anyone know of any good books about where/what happened to PWs in WW1 as it is something I know nothing about.

    Any pointers gratefully received.
  2. Thanks for this.

    Any good books people are aware of?
  3. General Melchett

    General Melchett LE Moderator

    I don't know of any specific books but have read entries in general Great war histories/factual titles.
  4. Excellent, many thanks. This is just the sort of thing I was after.
  5. And would you know it I have found another!

    Tunnelling to Freedom: And Other Escape Narratives from World War I
    by Hugh Durnford

    These real-life tales of escape are recounted by the prisoners of war who used their wits to win their freedom. The narratives are by Germans who broke out of English prisons as well as by Englishmen who escaped from German and Turkish jails. Each adventure abounds in examples of resourcefulness and ingenuity, as well as the patience and determination needed to accomplish such feats as digging a hundred-foot tunnel with a tablespoon.

    Unabridged republication of Escapers All: Being the Personal Narratives of Fifteen Escapers from War-Time Prison Camps 1914 - 1918, John Lane The Bodley Head Ltd., London, 1932.
  6. Read one once called "The Road to En-Dor" about escaping from Turkey, can't remember who wrote it but a good read

  7. For anyone who is interested I have just read Tunnelling to Freedom: And Other Escape Narratives from World War I by Hugh Durnford and it is a very interesting read.

    It is very much of its time (pub 1932) and involves a massive amount of understatement.

    For example one chap captured at Kut escaped from Turkey ended up in Russia at the Black Sea. 'Everything was fine until the Bolsheviks took over then I had to escape via Sweden, Noweay and the Shetland Islands to get home." That is literally the last line of his account.

    Couple of Germans as well, one who actually did escape from Blightly and made it back to the Fatherland. Collect one Iron Cross.

    Also everyone got massive parcels from Blighty chock full of files, saws maps, compasses etc.

    Well worth a read.
  8. Allied PWs in WW1, particularly in 1917 and 1918, endured very bad conditions. Disease and poor/low diet were even more prevalent than in WW2. A large number of repatriated PWs died from the long term effects of their imprisonment/conditions. 1 in 8 British and Empire PWs is estimated to have died in capitivity. Just in excess of 160000 British and Empire soldiers and officers were repatriated from German PW camps by 1919.
  9. There's 'Wounded and a Prisoner of War' by 'An Exchanged Officer'. Parts are on Google Books.

    The author was Malcolm Hay, a pre-war Special Reserve officer who went to France with 1 GORDONS in Aug 14. He was wounded and captured during the retreat from Mons (before the contoversial surrender of the Gordons), subsequently repatriated to the UK, and eventually became the War Office's cheif codebreaker.

  10. Dad's grandfather died as a result of catching Flu in the POW camp he was captured on the 1st day of the 1918 spring offensive and was dead not long afterwards.
    S_R_D try contacting BFBS they made a program which was shown about 11 years ago called Fitz's luck(IIRC) and it covers the story of a soldier who had a few close calls and ended up as a POW in Saltou even has interviews with him in it he must have been 100 years old back then