POW Camps in India

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The marriage of Edward Meyers, Boer Prisoner of War took place on 28 November 1902 at Amritsar

Prisoner of War and Internment Camps in India

Boer War

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.[1]

In India, there were Boer prisoners of war camps at

(Information mainly from the Anglo Boer War Museum website)

Catalogue reference BACSA Archive at the British Library Ceylon: Boer POW Camp Mss Eur F370/785

FamilySearch microfilms

  • Archives of the Staff Officer, Prisoners of War, Cape Town, 1900-1903 (SO/POW) Microfilm of originals at the Transvaal Archives Depot, Pretoria. Contains details of Boer prisoners of war, lists of prisoners who were in the various camps in India, Ceylon, St. Helena and Portugal, lists of prisoners who were released, paroled or who took the oath of allegiance.
  • Lists of prisoners of war in South Africa, 1899-1902 Microfilm of original manuscripts in Orange Free State Archives, Bloemfontein, Republic of South Africa. High reduction (42x) microfilm, use high magnification reader. Published lists of Afrikaner prisoners of war, arranged alphabetically and chronologically, with full name, home address, marital status, regiment location, age; date and place of capture, internment, death, relocation; notes on parole, rank, or release during the Boer War in South Africa (1899-1902). Besides South Africa, many P.O.W.s were relocated to the island of St. Helena, India, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), and elsewhere in the British Empire.
  • How to order microfilms

External links

Historical books online

First World War

Historical books online

External links

  • 
Prisoners Of The First World War- 
ICRC Historical Records. International Committee of the Red Cross. Includes a free Search facility. Retrieved 4 August 2014
    • The International Prisoners-of-War Agency. The ICRC in World War One. html version, pdf An eleven page 2007 document setting out the type of records available. Retrieved 4 August 2014
  • Finding Aid: Foreign Office Files (FO 383) at the National Archives: Regarding Military & Civilian Prisoners of War: List of Files and Contents: 1915-1919. Compiled September 2014 by seaforths[2] Contains a FIND (Search) function. onedrive.live.com. Retrieved 30 September 2014. Contains references such as
    • Reference: FO 383/20 1915. Description: Germany: Prisoners, including: Correspondence regulations at Ahmednagar, India: includes printed copy of Memorandum issued by the Adjutant General in India (in docket no.147691).
    • Reference: FO 383/436 1918 Description: Germany: Prisoners, including: Lists (in docket nos. 97151 and 109002) of German civilians transferred from East Africa to camps at Ahmednagar and Belgaum, India, with printed correspondence relating to individual cases.
  • India: first mission led to long tradition of humanitarian action in Asia icrc.org. Includes photograph taken at Belgaum, WW1.
  • 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. (archive.org link)
    • From notes in the Australian Archives regarding 34 Welsh General Hospital in Deolali : Sister Alma L. Bennett, Matron in 1917, said: ‘containing 3000 beds – 4 hrs train journey from Bombay'. ... Our cases were all from Mesopotamia – some direct – others individually coming from various Bombay Hospitals… We also had 200 Turkish Prisoners of War, almost all Surgical cases, some with shocking wounds – septic.’ Matron Gertrude Davis said: ‘When we became a P. of W. hospital our number of beds was increased to 700, 200 for British and 500 for prisoners as later we had the German prisoners from East Africa also an occasional one from Mespot’. [3]
  • Turkish POWS on the ship S.S. Ellenga in Bombay Harbour in late December 1915 are mentioned in a poem written by Rifleman John Layton of the 18th Battalion, Rifle Brigade, who wrote "Those barbarious Turkish brutes, who looked a deplorable sight. They were dirty and covered with vermin, dying like rotten sheep"[4]
  • 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. (archive.org link)
  • "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. (archive.org link)
  • The history hidden in Haydarpaşa Cemetery by Vedika Kant 01 August 2013. Includes a section on the Thayetmyo POW camp
  • Reports of Germans about the time of the First World War in British India Includes two reports concerning Ahmednager, and reports from missionaries in the camps. In German language, but use Google translate, or Google Chrome provides an automatic translation. From the website "Gaebler info and Genealogy", section India

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. At least one Italian POW is known to have been transferred from India to POW camps in Australia.[5]

  • 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 (archive.org link).

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.

There was an internment camp at Mhow for Germans residing in India.[6]

Catalogue reference BACSA Archive at the British Library India: Italian POW Camps Mss Eur F370/853

External links

German prisoners of war

Italian prisoners of war

Records

British Library

Records include

  • United Kingdom High Commission files relating to cemeteries IOR/R/4/1-539 1943-1967. Transferred from Indian Public Works Department to the British High Commission, New Delhi, and from there to the India Office Records in 1972-73. As they were originally Public Works Department files, they may not often (if at all) refer to individuals.
    • File 18/3/1 General correspondence on prisoner of war graves IOR/R/4/102 Dec 1947-Feb 1951
    • File 18/3/2 General correspondence on prisoner of war graves IOR/R/4/103 Feb 1951-Jul 1965
    • File 18/3a Lucknow Diocese: cemeteries containing prisoner of war graves IOR/R/4/104 Mar 1951-Jul 1952
    • File 18/3b Bombay Diocese: cemeteries containing prisoner of war graves IOR/R/4/105 Nov 1948-May 1953
    • File 18/3c Nasik Diocese: cemeteries containing prisoner of war graves IOR/R/4/106 Nov 1948-Jul 1952
    • File 18/3d Calcutta Diocese: cemeteries containing prisoner of war graves IOR/R/4/107 Nov 1948-May 1953
    • File 18/3e Nagpur Diocese: cemeteries containing prisoner of war graves IOR/R/4/108 Oct 1951-Dec 1953
    • File 18/3f Punjab Diocese: cemeteries containing prisoner of war graves IOR/R/4/109 Jul 1948-May 1953
    • File 18/3g Delhi Diocese: cemeteries containing prisoner of war graves IOR/R/4/110 May 1949-May 1953
    • File 18/3h Chota-Nagpur Diocese: cemeteries containing prisoner of war graves IOR/R/4/111 Jul 1950-Apr 1953
    • File 18/3i Madras Diocese: cemeteries containing prisoner of war graves IOR/R/4/112 Nov 1948-Jun 1953
    • File 18/3j Assam Diocese: cemeteries containing prisoner of war graves IOR/R/4/113 Nov 1948-Jun 1949
    • File 18/4/1 Correspondence on German prisoner of war graves in India IOR/R/4/115 Dec 1952-Jul 1953
Note these records are available on LDS microfilm [7] where there is more detail provided about the individual items, in the "Film Notes" and is indicated there are at least some lists of prisoner-of-war graves. As an example “R/4/102-103 Correspondence regarding prisoner-of-war graves (frames 1213-1222, 1325-1327, 1339, 1358, 1397, 1401-1402 include a list of prisoner-of-war graves, as well as 33rd Duke of Wellington's Regiment. Also includes list of cemeteries that include German, Boer, Italian, and Turkish graves), ca. 1947-1954”

The National Archives

References

  1. Email to FIBIS Webmaster dated 8 November 2012 from Prof Omer SK Tarin. Director, TSI, Abbottabad, Pakistan.
  2. seaforths "Foreign Office Files on POWs (FO 383)" Great War Forum 30 September 2014. Retrieved 30 September 2014
  3. Great War Forum post by 'KateH' dated 23 January 2014, part of a thread 'Concentration Camp Deolali'
  4. stiletto_33853 18th Rifle Brigade Great War Forum 30 May 2006 et al. Retrieved 8 December 2014
  5. Francesco Barbera was an Italian POW captured in North Africa in 1941, who spent a few years In India. He was sent to Australia in 1943 where he spent time in POW camps in Liverpool, Cowra, Tumut and St Ives, now a suburb of Sydney. Article in North Shore Times 25 April 2014, page 11
  6. Page 25 A Soldier's Life in War and Peace by Maj.Gen A. S. Naravane Google Books ISBN 81-7648-437-7
  7. Microfilm catalogue entry British High Commission cemetery records, ca. 1870-1967