1914 PoWs

The story of HRH The Princess Mary's desire to send all serving soldiers and sailors a gift for Christmas 1914 is probably well known but is still worth repeating here. The appeal, launched on 4th November 1914 read:

"Princess Mary is appealing for help to send a Christmas present, from the Nation to every sailor afloat and every Soldier at the front. Remittances should be sent to HRH The Princess Mary, Buckingham Palace..."

Thus was born the appeal for that staple of British militaria fairs, the Princess Mary tin; an appeal which subsequently raised over £194,000 and saw over 2.6m tins (and gifts) issued to soldiers and sailors.

There were some men though who did not receive Princess Mary's gift that Christmas 1914 and these were men who had been captured and were prisoners of war. After the cessation of hostilities, the Princess Mary, through Sir Ernest Goodhart, wrote to all regiments requesting they submit the names of those men who had been captured on or before 25th December 1914 so that these men could also be sent - somewhat belatedly - the Princess's gift.

Correspondence from Sir Ernest Goodhart's office and the lists of men that were sent to him, survive today in an Imperial War Museum collection and have been transcribed by me. The information supplied by regiments varies in detail and in some cases repeats information supplied to them by prisoners of war care committees or similar. I am only publishing basic details here - regimental number, rank (where given) and name - but in many case my data also includes additional information such as date of capture, home address, next of kin address, other information and notes.

Do note that these regimental lists should not be regarded as complete rolls (for instance, repatriated Prisoners of War do not, for the most part appear here) and note also that not all regiments are represented here either because the records have been lost or because the originals are too badly faded to be legible.

The records - some 21,380 in total (including some men for whom there is more than one entry) are, for the most part, of Other Ranks captured on or before Christmas Day 1914.

You can purchase the full transcriptions of these PoW lists. Typical information to be found includes:

  • archive reference
  • regimental number
  • rank
  • forename
  • last name
  • regiment
  • date captured
  • home address and/or next of kin name, relationship and address
  • other information
  • transcriber's notes

Remember, these lists have never been published in such depth before and are extremely valuable research resources of benefit to family historians, military historians and medal collectors alike. Lists cost from £10. CONTACT ME to purchase these records. Terms and conditions of usage apply.

The following regiments are represented and I will publish all names on this blog in due course.

Royal Artillery

Royal Garrison Artillery (11 named individuals)
Royal Field Artillery (197 named individuals)

Household Cavalry

1st Life Guards (16 named individuals)
2nd Life Guards (17 named individuals)
Royal Horse Guards (The Blues) (6 named individuals)

Cavalry of the Line

1st (King's) Dragoon Guards (6 named individuals)
2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen's Bays) (20 named individuals)
3rd Dragoon Guards (4 named individuals)
4th (Royal Irish) Dragoon Guards (78 named individuals)
5th Dragoon Guards (20 named individuals)
6th Dragoon Guards (45 named individuals)
7th Dragoon Guards (5 named indivduals)

1st (Royal) Dragoons (5 named indivduals)
2nd Dragoons (30 named individuals)
6th Dragoons (10 named individuals)

3rd (King's Own) Hussars (10 named indivduals)
4th (Queen's Own) Hussars (25 named individuals)
10th (PWO) Hussars (9 named indivduals)
11th (Prince Albert's Own) Hussars (50 named individuals)
15th Hussars
18th Royal Hussars (Queen Mary's Own) (87 named indivduals)
19th Hussars (12 named individuals)
20th Hussars (19 named individuals)

9th (The Queen's Royal) Lancers (62 named individuals)
12th (Prince of Wales's Royal) Lancers (54 named individuals)
16th (The Queen's) Lancers (10 named individuals)
17th Lancers (13 named indivduals)

Foot Guards

Grenadier Guards (174 named individuals)
Coldstream Guards (366 named individuals)
Scots Guards (278 named individuals)
Irish Guards (90 named indivduals)

Infantry (Line and Territorial Force)

Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (150 named individuals)
Bedfordshire Regiment (173 named individuals)
Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) (53 named individuals)
Border Regiment (107 named indivduals)
Cameron Highlanders (166 named individuals)
Cheshire Regiment (687 named individuals)
Connaught Rangers (305 named individuals)
Dorsetshire Regiment (390 named individuals) and HERE
Durham Light Infantry (184 named individuals)
East Lancashire Regiment (137 named individuals)
East Surrey Regiment (119 named indivduals)
Essex Regiment (44 named individuals)
Gloucestershire Regiment (45 named individuals)
Gordon Highlanders (806 named individuals)
Hampshire Regiment (191 named individuals)
Highland Light Infantry (148 named individuals)
King's (Liverpool Regiment) (19 named individuals)
King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment) (221 named individuals)
King's Own Scottish Borderers (190 named individuals)
King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (385 named individuals)
King's Royal Rifle Corps (358 named individuals)
Lancashire Fusiliers (162 named individuals)
Leicestershire Regiment (89 named individuals)
Leinster Regiment (66 named individuals)
Lincolnshire Regiment (256 named individuals)
14th London Regiment (London Scottish) (25 named individuals)
Loyal North Lancashire Regiment (509 named individuals)
Manchester Regiment (108 named individuals)
Middlesex Regiment (397 named individuals)
Norfolk Regiment (215 named individuals)
North Staffordshire Regiment (1 named individual)
Northamptonshire Regiment (61 named individuals)
Northumberland Fusiliers (152 named individuals)
Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment) (425 named individuals)
Rifle Brigade (304 named individuals)
Royal Berkshire Regiment (29 named indivduals)
Royal Dublin Fusiliers (388 named individuals)
Royal Fusiliers (247 named individuals)
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (102 named individuals)
Royal Irish Rifles (165 named individuals)
Royal Munster Fusiliers (670 named individuals)
Royal Scots (223 named individuals)
Royal Scots Fusiliers (462 named individuals)
Royal Sussex Regiment (26 named individuals)
Royal West Kent Regiment (158 named individuals)
Scottish Rifles (32 named indivduals)
Seaforth Highlanders (39 named indivduals)
Sherwood Foresters (530 named inmdividuals)
Somersetshire Light Infantry (186 named individuals)
South Lancashire Regiment (342 named individuals)
South Staffordshire Regiment (282 named individuals)
South Wales Borderers (94 named individuals)
Suffolk Regiment (621 named individuals)
Wiltshire Regiment (686 named individuals)

Other Corps

Army Service Corps (60 named individuals)
Royal Army Medical Corps (365 named individuals)
Army Ordnance Corps (11 named indivduals)
Royal Engineers (84 named individuals)

Royal Naval Division

Does not strictly belong on this blog about Army Service Numbers but I include this extensive list here which covers the following:

Royal Naval Division (including Royal Naval Reserve, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, Royal Fleet Reserve)
Royal Marines (Including Royal Marine Light Infantry and Royal Marine Artillery)

The undated photo of Private Sidney F Godley VC of the 4th Royal Fusiliers in his PoW uniform appears on a number of websites and I would be happy to credit the original source. The image of the ubiquitous Princess Mary tins is my own, photographed at the Imperial War Museum.


Anonymous said...

I notice the list of names that were POWs before 25th Dec 1914.

My Great Uncle was captured at Le Cateau on 26th August 1914, he was in the 2nd Btn KOSB. I don’t see his name on your list.

His name is Pte James Watt, no 11338, POW at Dyrotz.

Can you advise please

Regards John.

Paul Nixon said...

I am not surprised, John. The list is far from complete and some regiments are missing altogether. I was only able to transcribe what was there - and legible.

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