Monday, 28 January 2013

WW1 Holzminden & Ruhleben POWs

Yesterday I posted a short story on my other blog about a young British boy who was arrested in Berlin at the outset of the First World War for having defamed Germany, and British Foreign Office attempts to have him freed with the help of the American Embassy in Berlin. The story emerged from some Foreign Office documents that I am currently working through for my Ruhleben Project website (, in which I am trying to produce short biographical extracts for some 5500 British civilian and merchant seamen POWs who were interned at the camp on the outskirts of Berlin - it can be read at

On the back of this post, I have just had another useful site pointed out to me by reader Brenda Merriman, concerning the POWs who were interned in another camp at Holzminden. Mostly military prisoners, some merchant seamen were also included. The site is at and includes a downloadable PDF document with the names of some 500 or so individuals known to have been interned there.

Elsewhere on the Ruhleben front, Marcus Bateman has also been in touch to let me know that his current website on British Merchant Seamen interned at Ruhleben (and elsewhere) is soon to be deleted, and instead replaced by a new site at Amongst new content recently added he has a new page with names extracted from a National Archives document reference MT 9/1094, for surnames beginning A and B in September 1916. Well worth a look.

Meanwhile I am ploughing on with extracting names from a few other sources, including the Ruhleben Football Association Handbook from 1915 and files from TNA FO 369/710. I've added 70 short biographical extracts over the last 2 days, with plenty more to get on the site. With the anniversary of the war set to happen next year it's an ambition of mine to try to get the name of Ruhleben and its many stories as well known again as it once was throughout the conflict, as a tribute to my civilian great uncle who was interned there, and my civilian great grandfather who died after hiding for 16 months in Brussels to avoid arrest. Many people have been in touch in recent weeks and months with new material for the site - thanks for this, and I'll try to get through it as quickly as I can!

(With thanks to Brenda Merriman, Marcus Bateman and Simon Fowler)


Pre-order my new book, Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet, through Pen and Sword (30 April 2013), or purchase early at Who Do You Think You Are Live 2013 in London. For my other genealogy books, please visit; whilst for my online Scottish based genealogy courses please visit the Pharos Teaching and Tutoring Ltd site.

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