King's Own Royal Regiment Museum

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Regimental History - 20th Century

Second World War 1939-1945

Prisoners of War

As soon as the Germans invaded the Low Countries and France in May 1940 some soldiers were captured by the Germans, adding to sailors and airman who had already been held as prisoners of war.  The first soldiers of the King's Own Royal Regiment to be captured were in May and June 1940.  There was a well organised system established for the communication between the authorities over prisoners of war. 

In the summer of 1940 a question was asked in the House of Commons about the procedure in obtaining the names of Prisoners of War from Germany. The reply was detailed:
The German Prisoners of War Information Bureau furnish lists of British prisoners of war to the United States Embassy at Berlin as representing the Power in charge of British interests. These lists are normally transmitted to the United States Embassy in London by mail and sent by the Embassy to the British Prisoners of War Information Bureau. The lists are then passed on to the Casualty Branch of the Service concerned. At the same time as the lists are handed to the United States Embassy in Berlin, a duplicate is sent by post, occasionally by telegraph, to the International Committee of the Red Cross at Geneva which also issues postcards to be filled in by prisoners on first capture. Under arrangements recently made details of identification are extracted from the lists and postcards by the International Committee and telegraphed to the Prisoners of War Information Bureau in London and the lists are being sent by the United States Embassy at Berlin to Lisbon and forwarded from there to London by air mail. In consequence of the large number of prisoners captured by the Germans, there has been considerable delay in the transmission of the lists to the United States Embassy at Berlin, but lists containing the names of about two-thirds of all British prisoners of war have now reached Geneva. It is hoped that the methods which I have described will result in complete lists of all prisoners being received by the Casualties Branches of the Service Departments concerned in the near future.

 

 

 

Images are copyright, Trustees of the King's Own Royal Regiment Museum.
 You must seek permission prior to publication of any of our images.

Only a proportion of our collections are on display at anyone time.  Certain items are on loan for display in other institutions.  An appointment is required to consult any of our collections which are held in store.

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