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06 June 2008
Guide to Prisoner of War records by Gordon Wilkie
By Steve White @ 13:40 :: 34375 Views :: 57 Comments :: :: Military Archaeology
Article Pages:
Guide to Prisoner of War records by Gordon Wilkie

While we are always happy to help with requests for information on actual prison camps in Britain, we cannot really offer any assistance with personal details of prisoners. The following guide is compiled from a National Archives publication (Military Records Information No. 29: Prisoners of War in British hands: 1698-1949 (ex-POWs and Displaced Persons, 1945 onwards), and the original can be downloaded at

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By darren rogers @ 16 June 2008 23:27
hi gordon,i am new to this site.i am trying to trace my grandfather who was a italian pow,he worked on the land in and around elmley castle worcestershire.what pow camps were there in you know the names of the farms who employed italian pow's.
many thanks darren rogers.

By Gordon @ 17 June 2008 19:56
Hi Darren,
Welcom to the forums!
Not too familiar with the Worcestershire area, but the camps in the area were:
#277 South Littleton, Evesham
#277 Fladsbury Golf Course, Pershore
#287 Perdiswell Hall
#687 Shotover House, Worcester
#689 Great Malvern
But bear in mind, this is based on the MODERN county of Worcestershire (post 1996).
The first two wouldn't have been in operation at the same time, so don't worry about the duplicate numbers. As for employment, all the records are in file MAF 47/132 in the National Archives in London,which covers the employment of PoWs. I'm currently waiting for an estimate for a digital copy of this file (a paper one was costed at £213!), so I can't help much there yet. You could try contacting your local council archives, who will have copies of wartime newspapers which might contain pics of PoWs at work. They might even have details of the County War Agricultural Executive Committee for Worcestershire who would have administered this work.
Be interested to know how you get on by the way.

By Jenny Boreham @ 06 July 2008 22:12
We are trying to trace my partner, Carl's, father. He was a Czech POW in Laindon Hills camp in 1945 and his name was Stefan D (surname unsure). He was allowed to help out locally and this is where he met Dorothy Agnes Crew. He came back for her but her family sent him away.Carl was adopted at birth and has just connected with all of his mothers side - his father Stefan may still be alive. Where is the best place to find the employment record of who was working from this camp?

By Gordon @ 07 July 2008 17:50
Hi Jenny,
I'm a bit confused; is that Laindon Hills near Basildon, or Langdon Country park which is now in Thurrock? In either case, employment was handled by the local County War Agricultural Executive Committee, in this case Essex and Kent (I think). If you can travel to the National Archives at Kew, I think the relevant information is in Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries file MAF47/132. Be warned though; it is EXTREMELY thick! Also try your local archives office for wartime newspaper articles, or information about local CWAECs.

By Patrick O'Shea @ 21 July 2008 21:58

I am trying to find information about German Working Camp 249, Carbuton. My father Captain Albert O'Shea was posted there december 4, 1947. I had thought all camps were closed by then. Can you advise when that closure actualy aoouced.



By Gordon @ 22 July 2008 00:30
Hi Patrick,
All camps had closed by the end of 1948 when the last Germans were repatriated.

By Lisa Baker @ 22 July 2008 19:40

Is there anyway to find out the names of German POWs who worked on farms circa 1947 in the Surrey area of England? Also can you suggest a website to get information on the British Land Army?
Thank you

By Gordon @ 22 July 2008 21:04
Hi Lisa,
You coud try looking through records at the Surrey History Centre-
They should have local papers of the period which might have photos.
If you can manage to the National Archives at Kew have a look at Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries file maf47/132; it contains details of requests for PoW labour. It probably won't contain any personal names, but it should mention farm names and you could follow it through from there.
The best book on the WLA is "Woman's Land Army" by Vita Sackville-West, published in 1945. There was a book called "Land at War" published by HMSO in 1943 which dealt with British agriculture. You can get both through an inter-library loan.
The following websites should be useful too;
Hope this helps, and let me know how you get on.



By Jack McNamee @ 20 August 2008 04:33
I am doing this research for a good Italian friend. His dad was in the Italian Navy and his ship was sunk in 1943. He came to Britain via Tunisia. We are interested in any information about his time in Britain.
Info: First name-Livio Last Name-Berti born 1/1/1922 from Ancona -- Camps- Harrington Camp and Kimberley Park
My Italian friend said that no one thought Livio survived when his ship. the Italians heard him sing on the BBC as part of propaganda to Italy and he acted up at the end. What can I find out about Livio.

By peter harden @ 22 August 2008 11:20
Hi. I was an evacuee at Audley End House from late 1940 until mid 1941. My mother, now deceased, told me there had been Italian prisoners of war this really possible?

By Gordon @ 22 August 2008 19:44
I don't have information on individual prisoners I'm afraid. You could try contacting Leicestershire Archives for Harrington camp, and Norfolk Archives for Kimberley. You might well find something there.
This link is to an organisation of postal archivists. They might have something more on these camps.
Sorry I can't help more.

By Gordon @ 22 August 2008 19:48
Audley End House was used by the Special Operations Executive to train Polish officers in sabotage techniques. As such, there MAY have been Italian PoWs there BEFORE it became "Station 43", but I can't find any details yet. Leave it with me and I'll see what I can find.

By charles friend @ 27 August 2008 16:38
85 Italian pow camp, mildenhall. I remember this camp well and as a schoolboy stayed with my father Lt FF Friend in the officers mess when on school holidays. I am sure that this was totally unauthorised. He was the interpreter and seemed well liked by the POW. On sundays he and I attended the RC chapel inside "the cage" and I have a carved box inscribed IPOW camp 85 S. Pasoura 1945 by the maker and it was given to my stepmother on her marriage at that time

By Gordon @ 27 August 2008 20:00
Thanks for that, Charles!

By Rachel Hanger @ 23 September 2008 09:01
Can you give me any information on Merley Park, Wimborne, Dorset.
Were there any German POW's there?

By Gordon @ 23 September 2008 09:20
Merley Park was a Processing Centre, where newly-arrived PoWs would have been interrogated, classified according to their political beliefs as well as rank, and then sent to an appropriate camp. I don't any more info just now though.
Officers were kept in separate compounds from enlisted men in most camps, and neither officers nor NCOs could be forced to work under the Geneva Convention.
As a general rule, those classified as 'Black' ('C') were die-hard Nazis/Fascists and were either shipped to the US/Canada, or to a camp in Scotland. They were not allowed out of camp except under guard, and did not usually work.

By Gordon @ 23 September 2008 09:23
Hit the wrong button!
White (or 'A') prisoners were completely non-Nazi, while Grey (or 'B') prisoners were not considered to be completely trustworthy.
Hope this helps.

By Ivan Webb @ 13 November 2008 06:48
Hello, could you please help me, I am looking for a list of pow in the allington camp no51 regards, Ivan

By pam michell @ 23 November 2008 21:46
Trying to find any prisoners of war who worked on my parents farm Scarfield farm Alvechurch Worcestershire particularly Italian, and German man called Fritz

By Gordon @ 26 December 2008 14:15
I appear to have missed your post-my apologies.
If you go to the National Archives website, the records for your County War Agricultural Committee should have the names you need. A quick search will throw up the relevant file numbers.
If you can't actually get there yourself (like most of us!), they provide links to some very good researchers who are NOT prohibitively expensive.

By Caterina Cosentino @ 28 December 2008 13:52
My father was an Italian POW in WWII located in India and then GB. The only information I have is that he initially worked in a car factory near London and then on a farm near Glasgow. I am trying to identify the camps in which he may have been housed. Can you help? Thanks.

By Gordon @ 28 December 2008 14:57
Hi Caterina,
Do you have more precise info, by any chance? If your father was employed at a car factory in London, do you know what he was making? As far as I know, all British car factories were turned over to war production, and employing PoWs there would have been an infringement of the 1929 Geneva Convention, unless they were doing work which was not directly related to the war effort.
If you can find out which factory, that might narrow down the possibilities.
Same with the farms near Glasgow; it depends how near Glasgow!
If you go to the British national archives website at, you'll find information on the employment of Italian prisoners in the following files-WO199-404 and WO409. The site also has links to researchers who could obtain the files for you at reasonable cost.
Alternatively, you could try the International Red Cross Archives Section in Geneva. There information is NOT complete however.
Please let me know how you get on.

By John Watson @ 17 January 2009 19:13
Hello Gordon,
Great site! I have a couple of simple (I hope) questions:
1. Do you have any further info on Brookmill Camp, Woodlands, Kirkham, Preston No168, such as exact location, numbers of PoWs etc
2. Would it have been possible for the local Homeguard to have anything to do with the PoWs?
I am currently researching my great grandfather's Homeguard service, and it looks as though he was with D (Kirkham) Coy, 6th County of Lancaster Bn. Also, my grandfather worked for the ICI in nearby Thornton, and told me years ago that he remembered seeing German PoWs lying on the grass there (presumably during a break from war work) who were difficult to see because of their uniforms. He also told me that the 'head' PoW was called Wolfgang, and he heelped to stop a couple of other PoWs from trying to escape by boat on the River Wyre. I would be interested in any comments/observations that you may have on these lttle vignettes.

By Gordon @ 19 January 2009 15:01
Hi John,
Welcome to the forums.
Brookmill was a base camp, meaning PoWs were held there until sent to particular camps or work placements. As for location, the only NGR given in the EH report is SD42_32. I can't narrow that down online, but there IS a brookmill industrial estate in nearby Wrea Green. It might be worth eliminating that first.
Failing that, what about Brown's Lane next to the prison?
The local HG might have been used to guard the prisoners at some point, but it depends when you're talking about. Germans didn't arrive in any great numbers until after D-Day, and were kept under armed guard while employed on farms. The HG themselves were disbanded in December '44.
It's also worth remembering that die-hard ("Black") Nazis weren't allowed out of camps to work until after the war finished, so the ones usually sent on work details were regarded as low risk, in which case the HG might well have guarded them.
You might try obtaining copies of that unit's war diary from, I THINK they're in file WO165/93.
Those are nice reminisces! If you have any more to share, I would love to read them!

By rachel blunn @ 25 January 2009 23:14
Hi Gordon, just came across this site, really useful, thanks. Was wondering if you can help me: my grandmother is currently doing some family research (but is not internet-literate!). As a girl during the war, ahe and her family lived on a farm in what was Huntingdonshire, now Cambridgeshire, a few miles to the east of Huntingdon. She recalls a couple of German and a few more Italian POWs working on the farm. I was wondering how I could find out more about these men for her? Some of the Italians did not work on day release: they lived on the farm, and had their own hut, which her father locked at night. She remembers the Italians, in particular, fondly (they were apparantly very cheerful!) they rigged up a swing for her and she first tasted pasta when they persuaded her mother to let them make spaghetti! I believe her father used to do the paperwork for these men in Huntingdon itself, but I'm not totally sure. It would be great if she could have a few details about these men, such as the camps in which they might have been based, their units, and where they were captured etc., so any help would be gratefully appreciated. Thanks, Rachel.

By Gordon @ 31 January 2009 00:55
Hi Rachel,
You could try the local council archives first-
They may well have an initial lead for you.
Also try the following files at the national archives (
MAF80 (Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries)
FO939 (Foreign Office)
If you can't get to Kew, their website has a list of independent researchers who could probably do your digging for you.
Please let me know how you get on.

By andrea cox @ 07 February 2009 00:31
I am trying to trace my grandfather who was an Italian Prisoner of War at a camp in Low Santon, Lincolnshire. I understand that this was not a main camp and that the administrative camp could have been Pingley Farm, Brigg or possibly Castlethorpe Hall, Brigg. Any suggestions on how I can obtain a list of names, photographs..?

By melanie jones @ 14 February 2009 03:49
hi Gordon, was wondering if you would be able to help me. I am trying to piece imformation about my father (Walter Raab). he was serving with the German army on the channel islands,between 1943 1945. then was made a prisoner of war in Gerseney. was then taken to England, the Wem area of Shropshire or whichchurch?. could you tell me the camp numbers that took German pow's in that area? we know he worked on farms as a labourer and held a A.R.C. between 1945, 1947 but aslo came across A.E.C in shropshire, what does that stand for? we have his discharge paper 1948, but with no service would i be abe to accuire this? gratefully appreciated in any off the information you maybe able to find me.

By Patrick O'Shea @ 14 February 2009 05:14

Re German Working Camp Carburton-can you provide any the camp history. When built, how large etc? Was it officers, Army , Navy etchardline Fascists etc or just an ordinary other ranks working camp.

Also, I can help Lisa with her request re the British Land Army if she would like to contact me



By fiona roberts @ 15 February 2009 19:21
I'm really confused! I'm trying to find out information about my late uncle, an Italian POW. He died a number of years ago and nobody seems to know what exactly he did during the Second World War... What we do know is that he ended up being put to work on a farm in Penrith where he became great friends with the farm owners and, through them, met my aunt and applied for British citizenship, staying in the UK until his death in 1996. I see there are 3 "camps" in Penrith but I am looking for the farm he was working at and without knowing any real details it is like looking for a needle in a haystack. I am aslo not very well versed in war history so would he have been staying at a camp but sent out to work on the farm or is it possible he may have resided at the farm? And does anybody have any idea of the farms in the area that the Italian POW's were sent to work at? I'm sorry for sounding incredibly think but with no really solid details or addresses I'm really struggling to find anything out and my head is about ready to explode!! Would be most grateful for any information you can offer.

By Gordon @ 17 February 2009 00:44
I'm sorry but I can get absolutely nothing on Low Santon farm. Do you know if the name has changed since the war?
I suggest you contact Lincs archives at // and see what they can turn up.
Be very interested to hear how this one goes!

By Gordon @ 17 February 2009 01:21
The most obvious place in Wem itself was #679, #83 Ordnance Supply depot Camp, Soulton Rd, Wem. This was an annexe to a pre-existing camp. The prisoners wouldn't have worked there, since that would have been a breach of the Geneva Convention.
Whitchurch camp shut in 1941, so your father wouldn't have been there.
The main base camps in the area were #8 Mile House, Oswestry and #192 Adderley Hall, Market Drayton, although there was another camp at Oswestry and also one at Wellington. There was also #23 at Greenfields, Shrewsbury.
I'm still working on the two designations, but I suspect they're something to do with your father's political classification (as it may have stood at the time!).
Leave it with me.

By Gordon @ 17 February 2009 01:47
Not finding much, unfortunately. There were TWO camps at Carburton, apparently- #181 which was a base camp, and #249 which was a German working camp. They're described as being ' a large complex of huts within a double fence guarded by towers' in a link to Tweedsmuir camp in Surrey (
There was some Canadian link to the camps, but I'm not sure what.
They were in existence prior to D-Day, but I can't be any more specific than that I'm afraid.
Map refernce is SK602732.
If you do find any more, I'd appreciate an update for my records.

By Gordon @ 17 February 2009 01:52
You've got a job on your hands there!
It's possible that he was in a base camp and was sent out to work each day, or he could have been billeted on a farm! Best idea would be to contact Cumbria Archives at and they might be able to narrow the exact farm down a bit for you.
Sorry I can't be more help.

By Tracy Manktelow @ 05 April 2009 18:07
Hi Gordon,
Just found your website, very interesting and I hope you can help me. I'm currently waiting for a response from the Red Cross in Geneva regarding my great grandfather. His name was Charles Henry Ottomar (or Karl Heinrich) and he lived in Newport in Wales before the first world war. He married a Welsh woman and had four children but in 1915 was shopped to the authorities and was detained as a P.O.W. I cannot find any record of his whereabouts or whether he was deported back to Gemany. Any help you give me would be fantastic

By Gordon @ 06 April 2009 17:45
Hi Tracey-
He was probably detained on the Isle of Man as an illegal alien.
The National Archives hve a records guide on that-
And there is also one by the Manx government-
Those should at least give you a few extra leads.

By Claire Holdsworth @ 20 April 2009 16:13
Hi Gordon, I've been told that my Italian granddad was held a POW during the 2nd WW at Shibden Park/Hall in Halifax. I've tried local archives & the local military musuem & no-one can find any record of this.
Can oyu help?

By Gordon @ 20 April 2009 16:35
Hi Claire,
i can only really point you to the guide at the head of this article. Hopefully it might help you turn something up.
Have you tried putting a letter in all the local papers, radio stations etc? It's a very long shot, but it might just have interesting results.

By jackie holliday @ 08 June 2009 17:06
Hi i wonder if someone can help me. I am trying to help my uncle trace his father, my uncles father was a german prisoner of war we know his name was leo clydeboker (we have spelt this as it sounds) his family were hoteliers in leipsig. We think he was at the pow camp in trumpington in cambridge. Leo was an ss soilder but the family say he was a decent man.My uncle was born in march 1949 by which time he had been sent back to leipsig or somewhere else. We wonder because he was an ss soilder would he have been executed. We also wonder if his last name sounds german. I live in cambridge and hope someone can give us any ideas of where to start. Sorry if i am waffling this is my first time on here.

By Larissa Woolls @ 13 July 2009 16:40
Gordon, this article is really interesting. I am new here and have a couple of questions. Although I never knew my grandfather I do know that he was an Italian POW from Palermo Sicily. He lodged in Maesteg, Wales and apparently worked in one of the local mines. How can I find out which mines had POWs working there and any names registered? I know that post war c1955 he left the UK for either sicily or SA.

By Gordon @ 17 July 2009 18:31
Hi Larissa.
PoWs wouldn't have been allowed to work in mines as this would have been a breach of the Geneva Convention, namely using them for dangerous work.
That doesn't mean ex-PoWs didn't work there after hostilities though. In the case of Italian prisoners, they may well have worked in the mines after being released when the Italians changed sides in September 1943, but you would probably have to go to the National Archives and look at the records for the appropriate coal company (this being pre-nationalisation in 1948).
Sorry I couldn't have been more help.

By TINA WOOD @ 31 July 2009 22:59
GORDON, i am searching for information on a Ukrainian POW. The man in question survived the war and i have all his info post war.. but would like to find out about his life during and prior to the war... can you point me in the right direction at all..??

many thanks!

By Gordon @ 02 August 2009 02:35
Try this forum-
If not, you should find the German archives address in the guide at the top of this article.
Hope this helps.

By tom lloyd @ 29 September 2009 16:31
hi gordon,

i am not entirly sure where to post messages on this site, i hope that you receive this.

i am working on a project in leeds to study the POW camps in the city. do you have any information about the butchers hill site or the post hill camp near farnley? i would be greatful for any information at all or any contacts that may also be able to help further the investigation

kepp up the good work



By Gordon @ 29 September 2009 17:14
Hi Tom-
Found the following website which might be more help-
Neither Butcher's Hill nor Post Hill camps locations have been positively identified, but both were German Working camps.
I'll have a look through some of my literature to se if I can find anything else for you.



By tom lloyd @ 30 September 2009 14:59

thank you for the link but i am afraid that i couldn't get it to work. it claims that the address has changed.

i will keep you updated with our findings and keenly await any information you may have.


By Stewart Potter @ 17 January 2010 13:29
Stewart I am trying to find out about Gerhard Reinhard Conrads, he was a Prisoner of war in Lincolnshire somwere near long sutton, Lutton, Gedney there he met my Gr aunt Maria Cooper after the war in 1947 thay Married and lived at Roman Bank, Gedney 1n 1948 thay had a Daughter Patricia, then thay all moved to Germany but there is were the trail goes cold...... any ideas as to where i can look for them.....

By Paul Topping @ 14 February 2010 16:35
Hello Gordon,

I have been helping a work colleague research his family tree. The maternal side isn't a problem. The paternal side however, is proving to be quite a headache.

His father was an Italian POW held at Mellands Camp, Gorton, Manchester. His knowledge of him is vague at best, as his mother refused to talk too much about this man. We have a 'name' of Alfonso Richardio - though nobody seems to be sure if this is the correct spelling, or even if its the correct name. My colleague even has an address of 'Via Canal, Salerno' - although I have studied maps of Salerno and think it is almost certainly Via Dei Canalli - illustratin perfectly how names can change with foggy memories.

I have wrote to two Salerno newspapers with the little we know, with no response. A Salerno page on facebookl also brought no response. I have wrote to the Italian Embassy today, but my question is:-
Is there anywhere at all where a record of Italian -POW's is kept? I feel myself, if there is such a record for Mellands Camp, we may be able to find a name that is similar to the one we 'know of' and hopefully, move on from the stalemate we currently have.

By Helen Crow @ 18 February 2010 01:07
Hi! Just wondered if anyone could give me any help/advice on searching for my Grandfather. He was an Italian prisoner of war based around the Sleaford area of Lincs & worked on the Taskers farm in Digby. Im not sure of the name of the camp he was in. His name was Stefano & came from either Milan or Turin & was an engineer before the war. Unfortunately that is all we know. Is there a list of POWs names anywhere? I know its a long shot as we dont know his surname. Thanks!

By Stephen Wynn @ 20 February 2011 20:21
Hi I am looking for any and all information about POW Camp 266 that was located in Langdon Hills, Essex. Especially details of German prisoners who stayed there along with soldiers who served there.

By anne ridley @ 24 April 2011 08:56
An Italian POW called Michele worked on my fathers farm in Northumberland in 1944.My father was called Thomas Ridley and the farm is in Broomley,Stocksfield.My mother does not remember Michele's surname but remembers very well that he made wonderful baskets from the willows growing on the River Tyne.I can remember the laundry basket still in use in the 1970's.We also had a German POW called Henry working on the farm and have a photo of his wedding from after the war.

By anne ridley @ 24 April 2011 09:53
Forgot to mention that we have posted a photo of Michele with my father,Thomas,on Facebook;under the name of Michele Nonloso.Hope this will help us and his family!

By suzanne smith @ 11 December 2011 10:58
Hi i wonder if you or anyone can help, im trying to find some info on my grandad who was a german pow, i think he was in essex, all i have is his name and d,o,b do you have any ideas please??

By mark buckle @ 15 December 2011 16:09
Re Shibden POW camp.
As far as I'm aware this was based in the Shibden Industrial School, which was near Shibden Hall. The history of the school can be found elsewhere. But I'm aware that there were Italian POW's there, as some of them worked on my grandparent's farm, and one German POW, as far as I know, came back to farm in the area after the war. A chap by the name of Oscar, unfortunately I don't know his surname. I will try to find out more.

By Tim Line @ 26 February 2012 11:39
Hello - i'm looking for information relating to the father of my mother in law, who was Romanian, captured by the British shortly after being forced to fight for the Germans.
I know his name and date of birth but i've no idea what camp her was at.
Many thanks

By veronica elloitt @ 29 February 2012 21:08
hi gordon ' i did send a message but dont know where it has gone,my father was in camp kellerberg austria his id card is stamped 1948 he was then sent to lanarkshire then to liverpool either kirkby or ormskirk camp. ithe red cross have been for the last 5 months been searching for his army record any yesterday rang to say they had no luck but have given an address in berlin( wast) have you had any dealings with berlin and how quick are they in finding info ? also my father was from bessarabia (briceni) and left with friends when the russians invaded his country i dont know what part of the german army he was in or when he joined and only have this id card , regards veronica

By Mark Richardson @ 24 January 2013 15:21
Regarding the question by peter harden @ 22 August 2008 about Audley End: My father, George Richardson, was also sent to Audley End about that time, having been blown up during a bombing raid on London in September 1940 in which his mother was killed. We have been unable to track down any information about this place at all... any information would be welcome.

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