POW Camps in India
Prisoner of War and Internment Camps in India
Until April 1901 the British captured approx 25,000 Boers. Of these various numbers were sent to various places as POWs.Only a total of 9000 Boer POWs were ever sent out to India of this number, and they were held in some 14-15 camps in selected Indian cantonments.
In India, there were Boer prisoners of war camps at
- Kakool (Kakul) near Abbottabad
- Bhim Tal, near Naini Tal
- Dagshai and Solon
- Fort Govindgarh, (Gobindgarh) , Amritsar
- Kaity ( Keti,Kaiti) in the Nilgiris, near Ootacamund. There is also mention of a camp at Wellington which is in the same area. It is not known whether these are the same, or different camps.
- Upper Topa, near Murree
(Information mainly from the Anglo Boer War Museum website)
- Prisoner of War Camps in the Boer War in India , Ceylon and St Helena with a map from Anglo Boer War Museum. This website includes a Prisoners of War database search
- Boers,( ancestry24.com) includes a section “Boer Prisoners of War – Camps” (scroll down) including general mention of the camps in India
- Camps for Boers - India angloboerwar.com (This link may be slow to load and is found at Miscellaneous information/Prisoner of war camps/ Camps for Boers – India).
- Article "South-South Gothic" by Isabel Hofmeyr, University of the Witwatersrand “A haunting tale of suspense featuring a cemetery in the punjab, boer prisoner of war graves, cold war neo-medievalism and much more” html version, original pdf
- Article "The Indian Ocean Civil Dead: Boer Prisoner-of-War Graves in India" by Isabel Hofmeyr, University of the Witwatersrand. Paper presented at "The Politics of Heritage" 8-9 July 2011 Museum Africa, Johannesburg html version, original pdf
- Article "India and the Anglo-Boer War" by E S Reddy 29 July 1999 html version, original pdf now archived, version from mkgandhi.org,without footnotes
- India 1902 Fort Govindgarh Censored Envelope With Letter "The POW camp at Fort Govindargh was known as "The Hell" amongst the 1200 Boer prisoners kept there. The heat was oppressive and the Boers sometimes swam in the moat surrounding the fort. The water, however, was polluted and inevitably would give both the POWs and their guards typhoid fever. The camp was eventually closed on 10 December 1902".
- Boer prisoner of war art Extract of article by Fransjohan Pretorius in History Today 1 March 2006
- Time to settle old score 20 December 20 2011. iol.co.za. Contains reference to the playing of cricket in the camps, particularly in Ceylon, and contains a photograph of the Ahmednagar Boer Cricket Club in India who "played frequently against their British guards"
- Photograph of Boer prisoners held by the British army at Kakul, India (now in Pakistan) during the Second Boer War, 1902. Getty Images
- Abstract of an article "The erection and maintenance of monuments to Boer prisoners of war in India 1902-1948" by J Wassermann South African Journal of Cultural History Volume 24, No 2 (2010)
- Article "Island of no return" (St. Helena) by Gavin Bell Weekend Australian 14 July 2012 Travel and Indulgence section, page 1 briefly mentions the graves of the 156 POWs who died and the memorial to them.
Historical books online
- Recollections of a Boer Prisoner-Of-War at Ceylon by J N Brink, "late adjudant of General Crowther" 1904 Archive.org
First World War
Historical books online
- Reports on British prison-camps in India and Burma, visited by the International Red Cross Committee in February, March and April, 1917 1917 Archive.org Contents
- page 18 Sumerpur, Rajputana. Mainly Turkish prisoners of war, some civilians
- page 25 Ahmednagar, Bombay Presidency. Mainly civilian, but some military including captured crews of German ships
- page 35 Belgaum, Bombay Presidency .German and Austrian civilians
- page 40 Bellary, Bombay Presidency. Turkish prisoners of war
- page 44 Depot Camp at Calcutta for prisoners of war in transit to Burma
- page 45 Katapahar in the Hills near Darjeeling. Civilians
- page 47 Thayetmyo, Burma. Turkish prisoners of war.
- page 57 Camp for Convalescents at Schwebo, Burma. Turkish prisoners of war.
- page 59 Quarantine Camp Rangoon, Burma. Turkish prisoners of war.
- The POW Camps are mentioned on pages 211-212, Under Ten Viceroys: the Reminiscences of a Gurkha by Major-General Nigel Woodyatt 1922 Archive.org
- Turkish POWs at Deolali are mentioned in Reading between unwritten lines: Australian Army nurses in India, 1916-19 by Ruth Rae. Australian War Memorial website.
- The POW Camp at Belgaum is mentioned in the entry for 6 April 1918 from The Diary of Frederick Pendall, a member of the Norfolk regiment who was in Belgaum from March 1917 to March 1918 (archived website)
- Postcard to Germany from Ahmednagar POW camp 1919 stampcommunity.org
- "Indian Soldiers and POWs in the Middle East during World War I" by Vedica Kant, Robert Upton, and Chris Gratien, Ottoman History Podcast, No. 86 (December 21, 2012) “ In this podcast, Vedica Kant talks about the experience of Indian POWs in the Ottoman Empire as well as that of Ottoman soldiers captured by the British army and brought to India and Burma, with additional commentary by Robert Upton regarding military recruitment in British India...” Webpage contains images of prisoners at Bellary and Thayetmyo
Second World War
The Prisoners-of-war were interned in India in 29 camps forming 6 Groups of camps. In addition, there were two Civil Internment Camps at Dehradun and Deoli and one camp in Delhi for the Japanese prisoners captured in Burma.
- Group I – Bangalore: Camps 1 to 8 - Italian prisoners.
- Group II – Bhopal: Camps 9 to 16 – Italian prisoners. Camp 16 was a hospital. Bhopal Bairagarh (Wikipedia)
- Group III – Ramgarh: Camps 17 to 20 – German Civil Internees and later Italian prisoners. Had a punishment camp for difficult Italian POWs Ramgarh was near Hazaribagh. It was used as a POW camp up to May 1942 when the POWs were moved out and the United States Chinese Training Command was established there.
- Group IV - Clement Town (Dehra Dun): Camps 21 to 24 – Separated in Wings 1: pro-Nazi, 2: anti-Nazi, 3: Italians. One of the camps was a *Central Internment Camp.
- Group V – YOL: Camps 25 to 28 – Italian prisoners. Yol was situated near Dharamsala
- Group VI – Bikaner: Camp 29 – Japanese prisoners. It was also a punishment camps for difficult Italian POWs.Bikaner (Wikipedia)
- Central Internment Camp (Dehra Dun / Premnagar): This was mixed civilian internment and prisoner-of-war camp. Italian prisoners of war and German civilian internees housed in separate camps. Wing 1 and Wing 6 held German internees.
- Delhi – Japanese Camp: Delhi housed the Japanese prisoners captured in Burma.
- Deoli – Civil Internment Camp: Deoli housed German civilian internees and Japanese civilian internees. It was also a punishment colony for Germans. Deoli (Wikipedia)
The above information is mainly taken from the website Indian Banknote:India: Prisoner-of-War Coupons
This Wikipedia article lists the following additional camps
- Deolali from February 1941, later also transferred to Dehra Dun 11 August 1941: Germans.
- Yercaud for females from Madras Presidency. Summer 1941, closed late 1942.
- Fort William, Calcutta, army camp, closed early 1940, males were sent to Ahmednagar, females to Katapahar parole camp.
- Smaller Parole Camps at Naini Tal, Kodaikanal and Katapahar (near Darjeeling), were all closed by late 1942. Inmates transferred to (family reunions) to the camps near Poona: Satara from May 1940, Purandhar (lower Fort), initially for Jewish refugees, later also other Germans, many missionaries with families.
- Indian Banknote: India: Prisoner-of-War Coupons Money used in the Prisoner-of-War Camps
- World and Military Notes contains examples of money used in the Prisoner-of-War Camps
- Google English translation of the original Italian Prigioniero a Yol India about the money used in the camps.
German prisoners of war
- India gaebler.info. Includes
- "German Missions in India" mainly in German language but includes
- extracts from the book German Missions In British India Nationalism: Case And Crisis In Missions by Paul Von Tucher 1980 concerning internment of German missionaries during World War 2 at Premnagar near Dehra Dun, Purandhar, about 40kms south-east of Poona and Satara.
- Prisoners of the Raj by Roger Croston. Originally published in The Alpine Journal 2006 Escape from internment at Dehra Dun.
- Escape by Rolf Magener from internment at Dehra Dun
- World War II in British India by Hermann M. Selzer, M. D. Born a Polish Jew, he studied medicine in Germany and Italy and worked with his wife, as doctors in Lahore from the late 1930s. In December 1940, the family was arrested and taken as enemy aliens to first Purandhar and then Satara internment camps in Southern India until August 1946, when they were released and returned to Lahore.
- "German Missions in India" mainly in German language but includes
Italian prisoners of war
- Yol: Once a haven for prisoners of war (Scroll down) by Rajendra Rajan Saturday, October 17, 1998 The Tribune (tribuneindia)
- The story of the ten thousand Italian soldiers prisoners in India Computer produced Google English translation Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 of original Italian version: La storia dei diecimila soldati italiani prigionieri in India (1a parte), (2a parte), (3a parte) www.loccidentale.it
- Updated list of Italian prisoners in Yol (India): Computer produced Google English translation of original Italian version Elenco aggiornato dei prigionieri italiani a Yol (India) loccidentale.it
- 10,000 in Himalayas: a story of war Computer produced Google English translation of original Italian version 10.000 in Himalaya: una storia di Guerra erewhon.ticonuno.it
- Prisoners in India Computer produced Google English translation of original Italian version Prigionieri in India digilander.libero.it
- Italian POWs in India, 1944 faroutliers.blogspot
- Aviators from WWII Generale di Brigata Aerea Alfredo Balsamo Contains a few photographs of Italian prisoners at Yol camp
- "Umberto's War: From the diary of Umberto Cofrancesco": From capture in Libya to the prisoner of war camps at Ramgarh and Bairagarh page 6. page 7, page 8 cofrancesco.net
- "Memories of an Italian Naval Signalman" bbc.co.uk
- This link mentions a diary book written by an Italian POW in Dehra Dun: Prigioniero in India: Vita quotidiana e grande storia nel diario di un ufficiale (Collana di biografie e testimonianze) by Domenico Salvatori 1989 ( No preview Google Books details). Includes bibliographical references. Google English translation: Prisoner in India: everyday life and great history in the diary of an officer
- Bairagarh near Bhopal. Some details of the specially built camp
- An Italian POW in India (Bhopal) timesofmalta.com. Includes a photograph of a football team.
- Photographs from flickr.com, tagged Bhopal camp barracks ruins, camp ruins. drainage system, the POW camp
- This British Library catalogue entry indicates some photographs of the Italian prisoners of war camp at Bairagarh (Bhopal) are in the collection.
- Photograph of a Group of Italian POWs at the Ramgarh POW camp in northern India 1942. Group of Italian POWs about to begin a soccer game at the Ramgarh POW camp in northern India 1942 trove.nla.gov.au
- ↑ Email to FIBIS Webmaster dated 8 Novemebr 2012 from Prof Omer SK Tarin. Director, TSI, Abbottabad, Pakistan.