First World War

  • List of British Officers Taken Prisoner in the Various Theatres of War Between August 1914 and November 1918 was compiled by the military agents Cox and Co in 1919 (a missing officer’s cheque was often the first indication that he was alive).
  • Monthly Enquiry Lists were issued by the Enquiry for the Wounded and Missing Department of the British Red Cross and Order of St John. Our holdings of this are not complete (although we do have copies of all those known to exist), and some periods are better covered than others.
  • Tracing Your Prisoner of War Ancestors: The First World War: A Guide for Family Historians by Sarah Paterson (Barnsley, South Yorkshire: Pen and Sword, 2012). This contains lists of prisoner of war camps, and expands the map gazetteer compiled by Mrs Pope-Hennessey of the locations of the principal Central Powers prisoner of war camps in Germany and Austria.
  • The IWM’s Women’s Work Collection contains some information about soldiers and non-commissioned officers who were taken prisoner before Christmas 1914, and were therefore eligible to receive Princess Mary’s Gift Box. These lists are arranged by regiment in sections BO 2 1/11 – BO 2 1/328. These collections are available on microfilm and through an online database - by paid subscription to Gale Digital Collections (Women, War and Society, 1914-1918).
  • There is also a wealth of general material that will help you to understand more about the First World War prisoner experience, especially from the point of view of benevolent organisations in the UK sending aid to prisoners of war.

Second World War

  • Prisoners of War: British Army 1939-1945 (Polstead, Suffolk: JB Hayward, 1990) ISBN 0-903754-61-4
  • Prisoners of War: Naval and Air Forces of Great Britain and the British Empire, 1939-1945 (Polstead, Suffolk: JB Hayward, 1990) ISBN 0-903754-62-2
  • Prisoners of War: Armies and Other Land Forces of the British Empire, 1939-1945(Polstead, Suffolk: JB Hayward, 1990) ISBN 0-903754-63-0
  • These alphabetical nominal registers refer to POWs in Germany and German occupied territory and are correct up to 30 March 1945. They include number, rank, POW number, unit, and camp location details. You can also access this information through the subscription websites , and
  • Footprints on the Sands of Time: RAF Bomber Command Prisoners-of-War in Germany, 1939-1945 / Oliver Clutton-Brock (London: Grub Street, 2003) ISBN 1-904010-35-0
  • Unsung Heroes of the Royal Air Force: the Far East Prisoners of War 1941-1945 / Les and Pam Stubbs (Grantham, Lincolnshire: Barny Books, 2002) ISBN 1-903172-21-7
  • Unsung Heroes of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines: the Far East Prisoners of War 1941-1945 / Pam Stubbs (Lincoln: Tucann, 2011) ISBN 978-1-907516-11-5

Useful single volumes include:

  • Official History of New Zealand in the Second World War, 1939-1945: Prisoners of War by W Wynne Mason (Wellington, New Zealand: War History Branch, Department of Internal Affairs, 1954). Available online at
  • Prisoners of the Japanese in World War II: Statistical History, Personal Narratives, and Memorials concerning POWs in Camps and Hellships, Civilian Internees, Asian Slave Laborers and Others Captured in the Pacific Theater / Van Waterford (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 1994) ISBN 0-89950-893-6
  • Magazines such as The Prisoner of War: The Official Organ of the Prisoners of War Department of the Red Cross and St John War Organisation 

There are a variety of  magazines like this, as well as camp magazines – check our catalogue  to see what's available.

Korean War

  • Prisoners of War Korea, 1950 – 1953: the British Army compiled by Peter Gaston (London: London Stamp Exchange, 1976) lists men taken prisoner.