Tracing an individual – an introduction

This website and these guidance notes relate to British individuals who were taken as civilian Prisoners Of War by (POW) Germany and its allies during the First World War. Most of the information relates to Merchant Seamen and Fisherman although some sources relate to all types of British civilian prisoners of war.

1. First check the seamen POW index. (You can also access this via “POW index” link in the menu bar).

2. Check the UK National Archives Catalogue for the relevant names, especially look for class “FO 383” which contains the Prisoner of War Department correspondence.

3. Search the web pages on this website using the search box. This may find any other references that have been noted. For example from Camp Movement lists.

4. You could visit the National Archives and check the lists of Ruhleben detainees. The US Berlin Embassy with the prisoners themselves produced three complete lists of prisoners at Ruhleben, two in 1915 and the third in September 1916. These list the prisoners’ names, addresses, ages, occupations, barrack numbers and sometimes date of release. These lists (circa 5,000 names each) contain details of merchant seamen and other British civilians interned at Ruhleben. The lists are located in document MT 9/1094. These are not indexed online yet although an initial index of one volume Surnames A-B is indexed here.


This entry was posted in Articles. Bookmark the permalink.