First World War
Prisoner of War Interview - Private Richard
An interview of his time as a prisoner of war, which mentions a Dr
Cleeve and a Captain H Master of The Queen’s Regiment, survives at The
National Archives, WO161/99/143.
Prisoner of War Interview (The National Archives WO161/99/143)
Private Richard Wilkinson, number 7122, 1st Battalion, King’s Own Royal
Home address: 7 Melbourne Road, Woodville, Lancashire.
Age 35 years old. Soldiers.
Place and date of Capture: 27th August 1914. Ligny
Journey 27th August to 9th September 1914
Journey to Germany took five days; marched to Mons; then trained to
Sennelager. During the train journey, lasting 48 hours, we were given
dry bread to eat, nothing to drink. There were German wounded in the
same train; these were given any attention, but, the wounded British
were given nothing, by the Red Cross.
Sennelager 2nd September 1914 – June 1916
Taken to Sennelager, Westphalia, arriving the 2nd September 1914.
About 800 prisoners (British), some 4,000 French.
For the first week we lay in the open – no coverings. Then up to
December we were placed in tents. Afterwards in huts. In the hut there
were 60 men, being very crowded. The heating was insufficient. There was
a horse trough, for washing only – in winter the water being usually
frozen. The sanitary arrangements were fairly good. We were employed
daily on clearing of wood to make ground fit for cultivation, also the
erection of railway lines. No payment for work. There were no attempts
to force us to make munitions.
The food supplied by the Germans was very bad. The canteen was closed to
the British except for the first week; after the first week, the French
were only allowed in the canteen. The packages from England arrived
There was no clothing issued before the end of November 1914. Many
soldiers were in rags. In the years 1915 and 1916 the clothing
arrangements were good. Articles when worn out could be exchanged.
No time for recreation, the working hours being 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Private Wilkinson’s report continues to detail his time in the Camp
Hospital from July to November 1915.
1st Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, Prisoners of
War/Princess Mary Gift Tin Roll, 1919
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