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Remembered Today:

Internment of survivors from U-8 & U-12


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In response to Germany’s declaration of unrestricted submarine warfare in February 1915, someone in the Admiralty or the British Government thought it a good idea that henceforth all captured German submariners would no longer be treated as Prisoners of War, but instead they were to be considered common criminals, deprived of any entitlements under the Hague Convention.

Subsequently 39 survivors from two U-boats sunk in UK waters during March (U.6 & U.12) were incarcerated in Naval Detention Quarters, rather than standard PoW Camps. This provoked an outrage on the part of the Germans, and it retaliation 39 British Officer prisoners in Germany were placed in solitary confinement (eventually forcing Britain to abandon this policy).


I couldn’t find too much additional information concerning this, but I do have a number of questions…

- Who initiated and authorised the policy?

- What was the specific location were these German prisoners were held?

- Does anyone know the names of the 39 British prisoners placed in solitary confinement?


Some expert assistance would be very much appreciated.




Edited by KizmeRD
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Further to my original posting, I have since discovered from Hansard, that Lord Newton speaking in the House of Lords on 27 April 1915 said…


Owing to what is generally believed to be the more or less independent action of the First Lord of the Admiralty, the prisoners taken from submarines have been treated differentially from other prisoners. What is the result? The German Government has not only retaliated, but it has retaliated with vindictive tyranny. By retaliation I understand that you do exactly the same thing as the other party. But in this case there is no equality of treatment. The submarine prisoners, I believe, consist of three officers and thirty-six men, whereas the German Government has laid hands upon thirty-nine British officers irrespective of rank, and has apparently chosen officers who belong to families whose names are well known; and it is an instructive sign of the feeling of the German Government with regard to this matter that one of these unfortunate hostages is the son of the ex-British Ambassador at Berlin who only a short time ago was so severely wounded that his life for a time was despaired of. 

So it would appear that the Fist Sea Lord (Jackie Fisher) First Lord of the Admiralty (Winston Churchill) carries the blame for making the decision to treat U-boat crews differently from other PoW’s. That’s one of my questions answered.


Edited by KizmeRD
First Lord of the Admiralty = Winston Churchill
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The prisoners in question would have come from U 8 (sunk March 4, 1915, 29 survivors) and U 12 (sunk March 10, 1915, 10 survivors) — U 6 was only sunk on September 15, 1915 with five survivors.

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Thanks you Michael, I shall change the title of the thread to reflect the correct identity of the German submarine crews.


I have also now discovered that the German Prisoners were kept in two locations, DQ barracks in Chatham and in Devonport.


Still working to discover the names of the British prisoners held in solitary, but I’ve already learnt a few names (some of whom were very well connected).



Edited by KizmeRD
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  • KizmeRD changed the title to Internment of survivors from U-8 & U-12

As you have probably found out the places of detention (DQD & DQC) for the two U-Boot crews are recorded in the Red Cross files. Have you tried looking in the RC files regarding the British prisoners? I had a look at D‘Arcy Levy‘s files but there was nothing out of the ordinary.


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Thank you Charlie, I am currently looking through red cross records and visit reports by the US Embassy staff (Mr Lowry, who went to Burg & Magdeburg prison camps - holding 22 of the 39). The others were held at Torgau, Cologne, Frankfurt-am-Oder & Rastatt.

There is also a TNA report FO 383/61 that I want to read at some stage.

If I am able to compile the complete list of British Reprisal Prisoners, I will publish their. names here.




Edited by KizmeRD
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  • 4 months later...

Been a while, but I did eventually discover the names of the 39 reprisal prisoners, these were…

Robin Grey, Royal Flying Corps.
George Elliott, Royal Irish Regiment.
Coke, Scots Guards. 
Jump, 1st Dragoons. 
Montgomery, 7th Dragoon Guards. 
Spence, Middlesex Regiment. 
Ashton, 2nd Life Guards.
Houldsworth, Gordon Highlanders.
Master of Saltoun, Gordon Highlanders.
Goschen, Grenadier Guards.
Campbell, Royal Horse Guards.
Ivan Hay, 5th Lancers.
Hunter Blair, Gordon Highlanders.
Keppel, Coldstream Guards.
Lord Garlies, Scots Guards.
Trafford, Scots Guards.
Colin Campbell, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
Fitzroy, Scots Guards.
Hamilton, Gordon Highlanders.
Bingham, Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
Cartwright, Middlesex Regiment.
MacLeod, Royal Field Artillery.
O'Malley, Royal Munster Fusiliers
Robertson, Gordon Highlanders.
Stewart, Gordon Highlanders.
Wavell-Paxton, Coldstream Guards.
H. G. McNeile, Coldstream Guards.
Hickman, 4th Royal Irish Dragoons.
Graves, Royal Scots.
Graham Watson, Royal Scots.
French, Royal Irish Regiment.
Palmer, 2nd Life Guards.
Allistone, Middlesex Regiment.
Rogerson, 18th Hussars.
Sanderson, 4th Dragoons.
Stewart Menzies, Scots Guards.
Gage Brown, 1st Life Guards
Schoon, King's Royal Rifles.
Jolliffe, Scots Guards.
15 of these were held at Magdeburg, 
7 at Burg, 
1 at Torgau, 
13 at Cologne, 
1 at Frankfurt an der Oder,
2 at Rastatt (later transferred to Karlsruhe).


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McNeill of the Coldstream is likely John Henry  as only one of that surname 

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Thank you for that - annoyingly, I could only discover the Ranks, Surnames and Units (based on information supplied from the US Ambassador to Germany at the time), so having a full name opens up another level for further research.


Edited by KizmeRD
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