British POW Camps in the First World War
By Norman Nicol
Pen & Sword, 2017
This work is essentially a comprehensive compendium of prisoner of war camps in Britain used to hold captured combatants during the First World War, although it also covers the internment of Irish political prisoners.
The book is split by internment camps and medical facilities. The amount of information for each camp or medical facility varies, and entries range from a few lines to a few pages and list the location, a description of the facility, as well as other relevant facts and stories that have been uncovered. For example, the facility closest to me was Belmont POW Hospital. The book reports that there were allegations of poor hygiene and that doctors were reportedly too quick to make decisions about amputation.
The content draws heavily on the surviving records of the British POW Information Bureau, an organisation set up in 1914 to record details of prisoners of war and deal with enquiries about them, and also German records about the British camps. A selection of photographs show many of the locations (including a number of then and now shots).
As the locations are listed alphabetically, an index would have been useful, for example to group the facilities by county or region. However it is obvious that a vast amount of research has gone into the book, which will surely become the ‘go to’ reference work for anyone with an interest in the internment of German prisoners during the First World War.
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Captured Germans – British POW Camps in World War I