King George V Letter to British POW's On Their Release in 1918

Letter to British POW's On Their Release in 1918 from King George V and the Treatment of Prisoners of War in Germany illustrated with images from In The Prison Camps of Germany: A Narrative of "Y" Service among Prisoners of War, 1920.

Letter from King George V to British POW's On Their Release in 1918.

Letter from King George V to British POW's On Their Release in 1918. GGA Image ID # 20d82fd657. Alamy

Buckingham Palace, 1918

The Queen joins me in welcoming you on your release from the miseries and hardships, which you have endured with so much patience and courage.

During these many months of trial, the early rescue of our gallant officers and men from the cruelties of their captivity has been uppermost in our thoughts.

We are thankful that this longed-for day has arrived and that back in the old country, you will be able once more to enjoy the happiness of a home and to see good days among those who anxiously look for your return.

/s/ George R. I.
His Majesty King George V of the United Kingdom.

Information about the Document

  • Date: 1918
  • From: King George V
  • To: British POW's - H. Godfrey
  • Dimensions of Letter: 19 x 24.6 cm

The Treatment of British POWs by the Germans

Owing to the increasing shortage of food in Germany, and to the fact that the rations in England for a long time were maintained at a reasonable level, the number oí parcels tent to German prisoners was lar smaller than that sent to British prisoners.

At first a considerable amount oí food was sent into the German prisoners' camps in England from their relations and friends residing in Great Britain, but when the shortage became acute it became necessary to prohibit this practice.

The Hague Convention also requires the captor to treat his prisoners as regards clothing on the same footing as his own soldiers The German Government claimed that it strictly observed this article and forbade the sending of clothing by the British Government.

The article was not observed at all in some German camps, and great trouble was caused by the claim, in at all events some army corps, that boots were part of a soldier’s military equipment, and that the captor« were entitled to take them.

The clothing in any case supplied by the Germans was quite insufficient, and arrangements were made by which an adequate supply was dispatched according to a regular scale. Some of it went astray and some was stolen, although a good proportion reached the addressees.

In England clothing was issued when necessary to enemy prisoners, other than officers, on a regular scale, which provided for them having a sufficient change of clothing, while in both countries officers made their own arrangements for the supply of the necessary clothing.

American Supplies Ready for Distribution to Prisoners at Rastatt.

American Supplies Ready for Distribution to Prisoners at Rastatt. In The Prison Camps of Germany, 1920. GGA Image ID # 19669f4c6e

Application of the Military Law of the Captors.—Article 8 enacts that prisoners of war are subject to the laws, regulations and orders in force in the army of the captor State, a provision which gave rise to a good deal of trouble, owing, in England, to the difficulty of carrying it out strictly—while in some cases, at in Bulgaria, punishments were allowed—such as flogging—for ordinary breaches of discipline—which were quite alien to British ideas of what is permissible.

The German military law is in general far more severe than the British, and there is this further great difference, that in Germany officers as well as men may be summarily sent to cells or awarded other severe punishments for trivial offences, while in the United Kingdom, strictly, any offender above the rank of private should have been tried by court-martial, a provision amended during the war by the substitution of military courts.

In another respect the German code is more severe in that all sentences of arrest involved solitary confinement, while one of dose arrest, which was limited to four weeks, meant that the prisoner was confined in a dark cell, with a plank bed and bread and water diet, though these aggravations of the punishment were omitted on the fourth, eighth and subsequently every third day, the prisoner receiving the ordinary camp diet on these days.

One punishment officially termed "field punishment," but more generally known in England as the "post punishment," caused a great outcry in that country and much resentment among British prisoners in Germany. It is provided in the German Manual of Military Law that the punishment is to be inflicted in a manner not detrimental to the health of the prisoner, who is to be kept in an upright position with the back turned to a wall or a tree in such a manner that the prisoner can neither sit nor lie down.

These last words were construed to mean tying the prisoner to a post, sometimes his feet were placed on a brick which was removed after he was securely tied, and sometimes his hands were secured above his head.

Apart, at all events, from these aggravations, this punishment was in strict accordance with the military law of the captors; indeed it corresponds to the field punishment No. 1 authorized by the British military law and described in the rules for field punishment for offences committed on active service made under Sec. 44 of the Army Act.

These rules authorize the keeping of the offender in fetters or handcuffs or both, and when so kept he may be attached by straps or ropes for a period or periods not exceeding two hours in any one day to a fixed object during not more than three out of four consecutive days not more than twenty-one days in all.

In Germany all prisoners are liable to be treated as "in the field," i.e. on active service.

In one respect, via. the punishments for attempted escape, the German military law was less severe than the British, the greater severity of the latter having apparently arisen from a misunderstanding of the expression “peines disciplinaires" in the second paragraph of the 8th Article of the Hague Convention.

This seems to have been understood on the Continent as a punishment which could be awarded summarily: that is. arrest, open, medium or close, for a period not exceeding six weeks.

In Great Britain the punishment was limited to 12 months' imprisonment; in Germany it was far less for the simple offence, though it was frequently added to by the addition of charges for damaging Government property, and the like.

The matter came under discussion between the British and German Delegates at The Hague in 1917 and 1918, and an agreement was arrived at by which the punishment for a simple attempt to escape was to be limited to fourteen days, or if accompanied with offences relating to the appropriation, possession of or injury to properly to two months' military confinement.

In addition to the summary punishments, there were, of course, in both countries the punishment oí death and imprisonment, which could only be inflicted by court-martial.

In some cases the German code lays down minimum punishments of great severity, and in many oí those eases, in which the infliction of very severe punishments properly raised a great outcry in England, the German court-martial had no option but to pass them.

The British military law on the other hand has only one offence —murder—for which there is a fixed punishment; for others it is "such less punishment as is in the Act mentioned."

In one respect the prisoners of both countries never were satisfied. Neither understood or appreciated the procedure of the other. The British never understood the long delays, sometimes it is to be feared deliberate, which occurred in bringing them to trial for alleged offences, and during which they were kept under arrest, nor, owing to their ignorance of the German military code, could they understand the very severe sentences necessarily passed by courts-martial (which seem usually to have been conducted with fairness), nor the right of the prosecutor to appeal against a sentence which he considered to be inadequate.

View in One of the Barracks at Göttingen.

View in One of the Barracks at Göttingen. In The Prison Camps of Germany, 1920. GGA Image ID # 196883fa23

On the other hand, the Germans never appreciated the British procedure, nor could they understand the absence oí any right of formal appeal from a sentence, for which ample provision is made in Germany, even against the award of a disciplinary punishment, a right which, oddly enough, by See. 52 of the Regulations relating to it, the accused shared with the prosecutor “only when the sentence has been carried out."

Parole.—Articles 10, 11 and 12 deal with the subject of parole. In the World War no combatant prisoners, with one exception, were allowed to leave Germany or Great Britain on parole, or to reside outside the camps.

The only cases in which questions arose were with regard to the temporary parole given when officers left their camps for a walk, and the parole given by those who were interned in neutral countries.

According to the custom of the British Army no officer ought to give his parole, it being his duty to escape and rejoin his unit if he can, nor can anyone below the rank of officer give a parole.

In both countries, however, officers were eventually allowed to go out for a walk in parties accompanied by an officer, each giving in writing a temporary written parole that he would not attempt to escape, nor during the walk make arrangements to escape, nor do anything to the prejudice of the captor State. The parole was given on leaving the camp and returned on reentry.

The case of those interned in neutral countries was different. The British officers of the Royal Naval Division interned in Holland after the fall of Antwerp were permitted to choose their own residence in Groningen on parole, the men being interned close by. This privilege was withdrawn for a time, and the officers were interned in a fortress, but it was restored later.

As time went on, the Netherlands Government permitted officers to return to England and Germany on parole, on proof of the serious illness oí a near relative, a concession which was afterwards extended so that regular periods of leave were enjoyed by both officers and men, the former giving a formal parole and the latter a promise to return on the expiration of their leave, while the British Government gave its assurance that the men would not be employed on any work to do with war, and would return at the end of their leave. Similarly, the Danish and Norwegian Governments granted leave to British and German combatants interned in their countries.

No parole seems to have been taken from those officers who were interned in Switzerland or Holland under the agreements made in 1917 and 1918 with the German Government.

Relief Societies.—Article 15 deals with societies for the relief of prisoners. An immense amount of valuable work, impossible here to particularize, was done by such societies. The American branch of the Y M C.A. especially did much for the prisoners in England and Germany, bring permitted to work on the following conditions, substantially the same in both countries.

A building or tent might be erected in the camp with the consent of the general officer in command of the district or army corps, but nothing might be sold in it nor could any one be employed there other than a prisoner.

A member of the association might visit the camp once a week for a definite time. He might hold services, provide materials (or games, entertainments and employment, arrange instructional courses, provide books (subject to censorship) and writing materials other than writing paper and envelopes. Nothing might be given to or received by a prisoner without the commandant's consent.

Recreation.—No express provision is contained in the Hague Convention relating to the occupation of prisoners in their leisure time, but much of the good work done by the societies had to do with the recreation and education of prisoners. In both countries, and in nearly all camps, provision was eventually made for sufficient space for recreation and exercise, but this was not the case at first.

At Haile, for instance, a German camp for officers, established in a disused factory, the only place for exercise was the space enclosed by the three buildings, in which some 500 officers lived.

It measured about 100 yards by 50, and in winter was a morass of water and mud; in summer deep in dust. In some of the men's camps the space was very confined, and organized games of any kind were imposable.

But later things improved, and in most provision, sometimes at the prisoners' expense, was made for sufficient room for tennis, football and other games.

In England, facilities were provided by the War Office. To take two typical instances, it may be said that at Donnington Hall for German officers, there was a considerable space in front of the house, and at Dorchester, for men, there was a large field where any games could be played.

As time went on, walks outside the camp were permitted for officers on their giving a temporary parole, and in Germany, in some of the larger working camps, the men were allowed out for walks on Sunday.

With regard to educational facilities, in England both officers and men made their own arrangements, as they did in Germany, with the full concurrence of the authorities.

The British Social Club, Rembahn.

The British Social Club, Rembahn. In The Prison Camps of Germany, 1920. GGA Image ID # 196f453c65

At Munster, for instance, the general officer commanding excused all students from work, and much was done by some of the prisoners in the organization of classes and lectures.

The neutral organizations, such as the American and Danish Y.M.C.A.'s, also did a great deal in this direction, as did certain of the German civilians in the neighborhood of the great camp at Göttingen.

Professor Stange and some of his colleagues interested themselves in the prisoners and organized the educational work in the camp, and he himself had an office there where he was accessible to prisoners, and assisted them with his advice on educational matters.

He used even to obtain the requisites for games through the Red Cross in Switzerland. Unfortunately for them, all the British prisoners were ultimately removed from Göttingen, which had become something of a model camp.

Some of the larger employers were also very considerate in this respect, providing recreation halls and fields for playing games, and even musical instruments.

At Mulheim the Dutch visitor found the employers had paid the expenses of the prisoners' Christmas festivities.

Letters.—Article 16 was observed by both countries, except that at one time in some of the camps in Germany customs duties were charged on the contents of parcels, but this seems to have been due to some misapprehension, and was soon abandoned.

Prisoners were as a rule allowed to write two letters a month and a postcard every week, and, in addition, a postcard in the prescribed form acknowledging the receipt of a parcel.

But later in the war a "first capture postcard" was introduced, by which on a printed form a prisoner was allowed to notify to his relatives his capture, his state of health and his address.

Pay.—Article 17 provides for officers receiving the same rate of pay as officers of the corresponding rank in the army of the captors. This provision was not observed by the German Government, who paid subalterns 60 marks a month and other ranks rather more.

Accordingly, the British government declined to carry out the terms of the article and paid the German subalterns 4s. a day and other ranks 4s. 6d., naval officers being paid according to their relative rank. Out of this an officer was required to pay for his food, laundry and clothing, a deduction being made if he was in hospital (where, of course, he was provided with everything necessary).

By an arrangement made later, the German Government was allowed to make a small addition to these daily rates of pay. Medical officers employed in the care of sick and wounded prisoners of their own nationality received the full pay of medical officers of corresponding rank in the army of the captors.

Religious Exercises.—Article 18 is designed to secure to prisoners complete liberty in the exercise of their religion, and during the World War no real complaint was made on either side.

In the United Kingdom German pastors who had been resident in the country were allowed to hold services in the camps, but difficulties arose and the permission was withdrawn.

Thereupon some pastors elected to be interned, with a view to ministering to the prisoners. Later, however, the permits were issued in a modified form, and English and American clergy and laymen and members of the Danish and Swiss Student Christian Movement were allowed to visit the camps, the necessary funds being provided by the American Branch of the Y.M.C.A.

The Roman Catholic prisoners were usually attended by the priest of the district in which the camp was situated and every facility was given to them.

Where no German-speaking priest was at hand the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster charged the German priests of his archdiocese to visit the camps every now and then in order to enable the prisoners to go to confession and to hear a sermon in their mother tongue.

In Germany, at first, the Rev. F. Williams, who had been in charge of the English Church in Berlin, was allowed to visit the different camps and hospitals.

Arrival in Camp of French and British Prisoners.

Arrival in Camp of French and British Prisoners. In The Prison Camps of Germany, 1920. GGA Image ID # 196a042a3c

But this permission was withdrawn and the prisoners were left to conduct their own services, to which, except at Grossenweder Moor, no objection was raised.

A few British chaplains were captured, and did good work until they were repatriated. Great assistance was given also by the American branch of the Y.M.C.A., and by Archdeacon Nies, an American clergyman at Munich, until the United States came into the war.

The German clergy also did what they could for the prisoners in many camps and hospitals. Some of them were spoken of very warmly by the British prisoners.

The needs of the Roman Catholics were more easily met owing to the presence among the French prisoners of many priests who did excellent work, and the Bishop of Paderborn (afterwards Archbishop of Cologne) did much for the prisoners.

Moreover, Father Crotty was sent from Rome and was permitted to minister at Limburg and Giessen, partly perhaps because he was an Irishman, and it was hoped his influence might be useful to the Germans.

In the German working camps there was no regular provision for religious services, though Mr. Williams seems to have visited some of the larger places, and in one district a German pastor is said to have travelled around the small camps and ministered to the prisoners.

There was a standing order of the Kricgsministerium that, at all events in the country districts, the prisoners should be allowed to attend the local churches.

This, though of value to Roman Catholics, was not much use to the Protestants, owing to the difficulties of language.

At Zossen the Germans built a mosque for Mahommedan prisoners, and generally arrangements seem to have been made to avoid hurting religious and caste prejudices.

Medical Treatment.—Up to this point an attempt has been made to show how the provisions of the Hague Convention were applied in Great Britain and Germany. But this Convention does not deal with everything which affects the well-being of prisoners of war.

The Geneva Convention of 1906 requires the belligerents to respect and take care of the wounded and sick without distinction of nationality, and leaves them at liberty to agree for the restoration of wounded left on the field, the repatriation of wounded after rendering them fit for removal or after recovery, and for handing over the sick and wounded to a neutral State to be interned by it till the conclusion of hostilities.

What was in fact done must be considered under three heads: the attention given (1) in the regular hospitals, (2) in the main camps and (3) in the working camps.

Hospitals.—In Germany at first there seem to have been inadequate arrangements made for the reception of seriously wounded prisoners, but later well-arranged and well-equipped hospitals were available, the principal being in Berlin, at Cologne and Paderborn, though of course there were a large number elsewhere.

As time went on and the pressure on Germany became more and more acute, the supply of medical requisites became deficient, bandages were made of paper, drugs and anesthetics were less plentiful, but, though naturally British prisoners would fare worse than the wounded Germans, there is no evidence that the former were intentionally deprived of anything necessary for them if there was an adequate supply.

The conduct of the German doctors to the prisoners in the regular hospitals is one of the bright pages in the sad history of the World War, and is worthy of their great profession.

Most of the returned British prisoners reported that the doctors were kind and humane, while many of them spoke of them in warmest possible terms and told how the doctor had said that when a prisoner was wounded or ill he no longer looked on him as an enemy, or how, though he hated the English, he did his very best.

There were exceptions, who formed a very small minority. The large majority of German doctors worked hard, often with Infinite kindness, in the interests of those in their charge, and unreservedly placed such knowledge and skill as they possessed at the disposal of the prisoners.

In the Prison Camp Compound, Münster II.

In the Prison Camp Compound, Münster II. In The Prison Camps of Germany, 1920. GGA Image ID # 196cab69cc

The nursing in Germany was carried out by orderlies, by trained nurses or by sisterhoods. It seems to have varied very much. In some eases it was good and kind, in some indifferent, and in some rough and bad. But there appears to be no reason to think that in any ease it was intentionally less good than circumstances permitted.

Main Camps.—The same satisfactory account of the medical arrangements in the main German camps cannot be given, even after the first disorganization was overcome. There was in each camp a lazaret providing accommodation for a number proportionate to the number for which the camp was designed, but the arrangements were often very incomplete.

There seem to have been a large number of Russian doctors employed in the German camps, while in a few, for short periods, English medical officers were employed—though in all cases a German seems to have been responsible.

The nursing was in the main done by prisoner orderlies, many of whom of course were quite untrained, though they seem to have done their best.

It is impossible to generalize as to the conduct of the German medical staff in hundreds of camps over a period of four years, but the general impression produced by the evidence is that the staffs were humane and did all they could.

There is reliable evidence that the nature of the food provided in the German camp hospitals, as distinguished from the regular hospitals, where, until supplies became very short, it seems to have been satisfactory, was quite unsuited for invalids.

A sick prisoner was a non-worker, and therefore received the ordinary camp ration, less 10 per cent. This was even the ease in the typhus camps, where the requisite milk and light food for the fever-stricken patients had to be provided by the British and Allied medical officers themselves.

There seems to have been insufficient care, at all events in the early stages of the war, to prevent the spread of tuberculosis by the segregation from the healthy of those suffering from that disease.

Later, however, steps were taken to effect this, and more than one place was established exclusively for tuberculous patients, while the arrangement made for their internment in Switzerland did still more to deal with this evil.

It must not of course be said that this mingling of the sick and healthy was deliberate. It was probably due to want of thought, an excuse which cannot be made for the policy adopted by the German Government of mixing all the Allies together, although this was bound in the circumstances to lead to an excessive amount of illness.

This policy was quite deliberate. Mr. Gerard, the American ambassador to Germany, in 1915 raised the question with the German authorities with regard to officers, and reported: "I was told that this was a political move ordered for the purpose of showing to the French, British, Belgian and Russian officers that they were not natural Allies.”

The commandant of the Gardelegen camp tried to enforce the observance of this regulation during the height of the typhus epidemic at that camp, but his direct order was deliberately disobeyed by the British doctors, with excellent results.

Though this policy did not produce any ill effects upon the health of the prisoners in the officers' camps in Germany, its results, assisted by the insanitary condition of many of them, were disastrous in the main men’s camps.

Typhus is endemic in Russia, and the Russian prisoners, herded together with those of other nationalities, spread the disease till in some camps appalling epidemics were produced. At Ohdruf, Langensalza, Zerbst, Wittenberg and Gardelegen the fever raged with great virulence.

Arrival of Food Parcels in Prison Camp, Münster.

Arrival of Food Parcels in Prison Camp, Münster. In The Prison Camps of Germany, 1920. GGA Image ID # 196caf2f47

At Wittenberg the camp was overcrowded and insanitary, the washing arrangements were nothing more than troughs in the open, which, with the supply pipes, were during the hard winter of 1914 frequently frozen.

In these circumstances, a serious epidemic broke out in Dec. 1914. As soon as this was recognized, the whole German staff, military and medical, left, and never came inside again till Aug. 1915, by which time all the patients were convalescent.

For his services in combating the epidemic Dr. Aschenbach, the German principal medical officer, received the Iron Cross. Many Allied and British medical officers had been improperly detained in Germany after their capture, and were dispatched to take the place of the German doctors, who (it is charitable to believe, in obedience to superior orders) had deserted their charges.

In Feb. 1915, she British medical officers were sent to the camp which they found in a state of misery and disorganization. Of the six, three died of the fever, as did several French and Russian doctors.

Notwithstanding the fact that there seem to have been ample supplies of medical necessaries available, the difficulty of obtaining sufficient drugs and dressings was extreme.

Prison Camp Program Cover at Döberitz.

Prison Camp Program Cover at Döberitz. In The Prison Camps of Germany, 1920. GGA Image ID # 196ebc8d9f

There was not even any soap till one of the British doctors obtained a supply at his own expense from England, nor, till April 1915, were beds or bedding for patients requiring hospital treatment improvised in one of the barracks.

There were between 700 and 800 British prisoners among at least 15,000 in all, who, incredible as it may seem, were confined in an area not exceeding 10 1/2 acres. Of the British about 300 were attacked by the disease and 60 died.

At Gardelegen the same story was repeated. As soon as it was apparent in February 1915 that something was wrong, captured medical officers were dispatched to Gardelegen, where the conditions were favorable for the propagation of disease.

Though there were empty huts in the camp, the commandant refused to allow them to be used, and the prisoners' rooms were very overcrowded, the nationalities, as usual, being all mixed up together.

To each company of 1,200 men was allotted for washing one outdoor trough, which was often frozen, and there was a small hut containing at the most thirty showers for x 1,000 men. The place was bitterly cold, the heating arrangements entirely inadequate, consequently the huts were kept dosed, and the atmosphere therein became foul.

Four days alter the arrival of the Allied medical officers every German had left the camp, and the commandant, standing outside the barbed wire, informed the medical officers that no person or thing was to pass out, and that they were responsible for the discipline and general internal arrangement of the camp, and for the care of the sick.

Dr. Weasil, the German principal medical officer, left the camp with the rest, but soon afterwards died of typhus. His two successors never came inside the camp.

But the third, Dr. Kranski, a civilian, came in March and devoted himself seriously to the welfare of the camp, and, though he took no part in the care of the sick, did much to improve the sanitation, and in that way to aid the medical men in their work. It is unnecessary to go through the whole story of the struggles to obtain the barest requisites.

The Parcel Post Rooms at Prison Camp, Dülmen.

The Parcel Post Rooms at Prison Camp, Dülmen. In The Prison Camps of Germany, 1920. GGA Image ID #

In the tray of food, drugs, dressings or furniture. The plague was stayed after four months, during which over 2,000 cases were treated out of 11,000 prisoners, the mortality being about 15% of those attacked.

Of the 16 Allied medical officers, 12 took the disease and 3 died, while of 10 French priests, who devoted themselves to the care and nursing of the sick, eight were attacked and five succumbed.

The epidemics at Wittenberg and Gardelegen in these circumstances of gratuitous suffering and official callousness made a world-impression never likely to be entirely effaced, but it is only just to add that the German authorities, having learnt their lesson at the cost to others of so much suffering and death, did their best, too late indeed, to remedy the defects, and Gardelegen and Wittenberg eventually became, if not model, at all events fairly satisfactory camps.

Repatriation.--Closely allied with the matter of medical treatment is the question of repatriation and internment in a neutral country.

As early as Jan. 1915, an agreement for repatriation of incapacitated officers was made. There was at first no agreement as to the degree of incapacity sufficient to entitle an officer to repatriation, but in August of that year an agreement was arrived at, which was slightly amended in October.

It included 13 injuries or complaints entitling a person to be repatriated, which may be summed up as being such that the person was permanently, or for a calculable period, unfit for military service in the army, or in the case of an officer or noncommissioned officer, from service in training or office work.

But besides this direct repatriation of totally incapacitated persons, many prisoners were sent to Switzerland or Holland.

In the spring of 1916 an agreement was made with the German and Swiss Governments by which prisoners whose disabilities fell within an agreed schedule, but were not sufficient to justify direct repatriation should be transferred to Swiss custody.

They were selected by mixed travelling boards composed of Swiss medical men and medical officers of the captor State, those selected being afterwards examined by a Control Board, whose decision was final.

After the Conference at The Hague in 1917, these travelling boards were abolished, and the first selection made by the camp medical officer, an arrangement subsequently modified at the meeting of 1918.

The guiding principles for internment in Switzerland were stated in 1917 as follows:—

"The following shall be interned:—(1) Sick and wounded whose recovery may be anticipated within a year, and whose cure will be more speedily and surely brought about by the facilities obtainable in Switzerland than by a prolongation of imprisonment. (2) Prisoners of war whose health in the opinion of the medical authorities appears to be seriously menaced cither physically or mentally by the prolongation of captivity, and who would probably be saved from this danger by internment in Switzerland."

If the person’s disabilities increased so as to bring him within the category entitled to direct repatriation, he was to be sent home.

Gymnastics by British Prisoners, Göttingen.

Gymnastics by British Prisoners, Göttingen. In The Prison Camps of Germany, 1920. GGA Image ID # 196cda9f51

In 1917 the Netherlands Government offered to receive in all 16,000 persons, British and German, divided into three categories: (1) invalid combatants (7,500); (2) officers and non-commissioned officers who had been in captivity for 18 months (6,500); and (3) invalid civilians (2,000).

This offer formed the basis of the agreement made between the British and German Governments at The Hague in June 1917. By that agreement the schedule of disabilities for the invalids was the same as in the case of Switzerland, except that the British Government insisted with the assent of Switzerland that tuberculous patients should go to that country.

Much resentment was felt in consequence from the benefit of this agreement. But the British delegates were powerless. Every attempt to Induce the German delegates to agree to their inclusion was vain.

The provisions of the agreement arrived at in 1917 were largely extended at a further meeting in 1918, by which all warrant and non-commissioned officers, as well as men who had been prisoners of war for more than 18 months, should, with exceptions, be repatriated, head for head and rank for rank.

Returning British POWs About to Leave the Free Port of Copenhagen, January 1919.

Returning British POWs About to Leave the Free Port of Copenhagen, January 1919. Enthusiastic Danes Wishing Them Good Speed. The Copenhagen Free Port, 1923. GGA Image ID # 1d47c3ef76


"Prisoners of War," in The Encyclopædia Britannica the New Volumes Constituting, in Combination with the Twenty-Nine Volumes of the Eleventh Edition, the Twelfth Edition of That Work, and Also Supplying a New, Distinctive, and Independent Library of Reference Dealing with Events and Developments of the Period 1910 to 1921 Inclusive the Third of the New Volumes Volume XXXII Pacific Ocean Islands to Zuloaga, New York: The Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 1922, pp. 154-158.

Conrad Hoffman, In The Prison Camps of Germany: A Narrative of "Y" Service among Prisoners of War, New York: Association Press, 1920.

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