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16 minutes ago, Pet said:

I don’t have a card number to access a prisoner list, but I would really like to know if anyone has found out anything about where the salt mines on the’Russian Front’ were located and the names of the POW camps on the Russian front, because I have it on record that’s where he was a prisoner. Where exactly was the Russian Front located in August 1917, as I know the line was fairly fluid during the war.


The Russian Front was very long and seldom the conventional trench and no mans land of the Western Front. It's also easy to forget that states that are independant now, (Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and the Ukraine), were then part of the Russian Empire. And thats before you go into the fighting against the Turks in Roumania, Transcaucasia, (what is now) Armenia, and northern Persia.


I don't have a specific answer for your salt mine question but by co-incidence I've just been using an article  from the edition of the Brimingham Daily Mail dated Thursday, May 17,1917, and happened to notice that a nearby article was headed "British Prisoners in Russia". I'd mentally filed it as something to come back and read, but then came on the Forum and saw this thread, so thought it might help if I took a crop and attached it. Unfortunately I sourced it from the British Newspaper Archive while I was in the Library and as I was unaware of the articles contents I don't have the other page it refers to. As it's a report of a debate the previous day in Parliament then you may well find there are other references to British Prisoners in Russia in the online version of Hansard.


I was also able to help a blogger a few years back with details of a Norfolk Regiment man who died in Riga. They seemed to have scaled back their site but their various posts on the ill-treatment of prisoners can be seen here:-

https://britishwargravesjelgava.blogspot.com/search/label/ill-treatment of British Pows


It really would be a benefit to have a name - some of the members here were trying to keep track of cards on the ICRC site that have been mis-filed, so may know where to look.


Hope that helps,



Birmingham Mail - Thursday 17 May 1917 p3 British Prisoners in Russia crop sourced BNA.png

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One has to bear in mind that the British POWs that were sent to work in bad circumstances in the East were in fact sent there as reprisal measures, which both sides were guilty of taking. F.i. French POWs were sent to the East after German POWs were sent to North Africa and had to work there under harsh conditions. The first British POWs were sent to the East after German POWs had to work for the British in some harbours in France. Of course, one reprisal followed another (on both sides), making it sometimes difficult to exactly find out who really started or who took the harsher reprisal. Of course this doesn't justify either side.


Making POWs (at least men and NCOs, not officers) work (but not in the war industry) was allowed by the treaties of that time. The POWs should be paid though. Of course discussions started about what was exactly working in the war industry or not. And again both sides were guilty of crossing the borders of what was allowed.


It is all a very grey area, sometimes a bit more black, sometimes more white. Anyway, the men involved had to bear the consequences for something that was beyond their own responsibility.



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Find us an account of German PoW's receiving similar treatment; I challenge you to do so.


And while we're on this sort of subject, I wonder what the slave labour conscriptions in Belgium were a "reprisal" for?


Or the deliberate destruction of ancient monuments - not forgetting of course the destruction or seizure of everything of any value that could be hauled away.








And many others no doubt.


There were some photos of a 13th Century chateau being blown up, obviously of German origin since they showed the process in proud detail.  I see those have disappeared from the Internet now, no doubt "sanitized" by some of the herrenvolk.

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  • 1 month later...



I live in Dublin and my maternal grandfather Oaddy and his brother David were in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. My grandfather was wounded and taken prisoner but his brother was blown up to 'smithereens' as were were told. My grandfather always told me that he was sent to the salt mines in Silesia - nowadays southwestern Poland. So that would confirm POWs in saltmines. My grandmothers 2 brothers James and Jack also served, both died - one is buried on the Mount of Olives (after being wounded in action)  outside JerusalemThe other suffered from gas poisoning, was repatriated but died in the Adelaide Hospital in Dublin.

My grandfather was a sergeant on discharge and had a brief service with the newly formed Free State Army after the Treaty. He ended his career as  Clerk of the Court at the 4 Courts in Dublin. He died as a result of a simple fall when he spun around to answer a neighbours greeting ( on his wounded leg side) and sustained a fatal head injury. 

Hope this helps.

Dave Owens

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On 30/10/2019 at 08:45, Keith_history_buff said:

This "reprisal" may be of interest. I had never heard of Germans being used to perform labour in North Africa


On 30/10/2019 at 08:45, Keith_history_buff said:

I was amazed to read of a German WW1 POW cemetery in North Africa earlier today (on the French language "forum Pages 14-18"), and had to double-check that it wasn't from 1943, as it isn't something you read about in english language sources.

 I came across an online book in German, but my German  is not good enough to read it


Kriegsgefangen in Afrika. Von dem Kriegsgefangenen E. Braner aus Heerfelden, in die Schweiz ausgetauscht im Mai 1916. Bericht in Briefen, schildernd die Schicksale und traurigen Erfahrungen aus 19 monatiger französischer Kriegsgefangenschaft





Using Google Translate the title is Prisoners of war in Africa. By the prisoner of war E. Braner from Heerfelden, exchanged to Switzerland in May 1916. Report in letters, describing the fates and sad experiences of 19 months French captivity


There is a photograph titled Michelet Djurjura Mountains, which is in Algeria

http://digital.wlb-stuttgart.de/sammlungen/sammlungsliste/werksansicht/?no_cache=1&tx_dlf[id]=8281&tx_dlf  (which can be rotated)






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Online book in French from ICRC website/scribd about POW camps in Tunisia and Algeria  for German prisoners (WW1 period)


Website English description of the book  "A report by P. Schazmann and Dr O--L. Cramer on their visits to the German prisoners in Algeria"

There is an index at the back of the book, although Michelet Algeria (post 31 above) is not mentioned as far as I can tell . The camp at Maillot page 94 appears to be in the same general area. (My French is limited)




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