Findmypast releases Prisoners of War records in partnership with TNA

  • Over 43,000 ANZAC Prisoners of War records released in partnership with The National Archives to coincide with the centenary of the Gallipoli Landings
  • The release marks the first phase of a partnership with The National Archives to digitise PoW records spanning 250 years
  • On completion, Findmypast’s Prisoners of War 1715-1945 collection will span the Jacobite rebellion to the Second World War

London, 25 April 2015 - To coincide with ANZAC day and the Gallipoli centenary today, Findmypast has released over 43,000 Prisoners of War records in partnership with The National Archives.

The new Prisoners Of War 1914-1920 records are the first phase of what will eventually become a wider Prisoners of War Collection 1715-1945 at Findmypast, available online for the very first time. The collection will relate to the internment of both allied and foreign members of the armed forces, civilians and merchant seamen of various nationalities spanning 230 years. Although the majority of the collection is still to be digitised by Findmypast, 10 series relating to prisoners held by the Ottomans are now available to search.

The records available today come from The National Archives’ collection Foreign Office: Prisoners of War and Aliens Department: General Correspondence from 1906 (FO 383) and consist of lists and general correspondence. They contain the names, ranks and locations of PoWs and provide insights into life in the Ottoman camps.

Prisoners Of War 1914-1920 includes not only the names of military personnel taken prisoner – both allied and foreign – but also the names of civilians, seamen, fishermen, diplomatic employees and more. They also contain details of requests made by inmates for items including footballs and biscuits, details of visits by foreign diplomats and reports on camp conditions.

Through the records you can gain insight into the experience of a prisoner of war. Some volumes include inspection reports of prison camps which describe the buildings, provisions and equipment in detail. There are also testimonies from British prisoners held in Bulgarian prisoner of war camps.

The complete Prisoners of War 1715-1945 Collection will be released in phases over the coming year and, on completion, will contain the records of prisoners captured during the Jacobite Rebellion, French Revolutionary Wars, the Boer Wars, the First World War and the Second World War.

Caroline Kimbell, Head of Licensing at The National Archives said: “As the grand-daughter of a Gallipoli survivor I’m grateful to our partners at Findmypast for bringing these very human records to a worldwide audience for the first time. The collection marks the start of a complex and fascinating programme of PoW records through the ages.”

Paul Nixon, military historian at Findmypast said: “The Prisoners of War Collection comprises an extraordinary array of fascinating record sets and Findmypast is thrilled to have been awarded the licence to digitise and publish these records online for the first time.”

About Findmypast

Findmypast (previously DC Thomson Family History) is a British-owned world leader in online genealogy. It has an unrivalled record of online innovation in the field of family history and 18 million registered users across its family of online brands, which includes Mocavo, Genes Reunited, The British Newspaper Archive amongst others.

Its lead brand, also called Findmypast, is a searchable online archive of over two billion family history records, from parish records and censuses to migration records, military collections, historical newspapers and lots more. For members around the world, the site is a crucial resource for building family trees and doing detailed historical research.

In April 2003 Findmypast was the first to provide access to the complete birth, marriage, and death indexes for England & Wales, winning the Queen’s Award for Innovation. Since that time, the company has digitized records from across the globe, including major collections from Britain, Ireland, Australia, and the United States.

About The National Archives

For the record, for good… The National Archives is a government department and an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). As the official archive of the UK government and England and Wales, we look after and make available to the public a collection of historical records dating back over 1,000 years, including records as diverse as Domesday Book and MI5 files.

Our 21st-century role is to collect and secure the future of the record, both digital and physical, to preserve it for generations to come, and to make it as accessible as possible. We do this by devising technological solutions to ensure the long-term survival of public records and working to widen access to our collection. The National Archives also advises on information management across government, publishes all UK legislation, manages Crown copyright and leads the archive sector. We work to promote and improve access to public sector information and its re-use.