Photograph showing the arrival of food parcels in a Second World War Prisoner of War camp

Production date
Audio tour

See full details


Between 1939 to 1945 a photograph was produced of prisoners of war receiving food parcels. By the Second World War the food parcel was a symbol of survival and integral to society’s war effort. From the photograph it was apparent that the prisoners of war would wait in dreaded anticipation for the arrival of their food parcels, because of their reliance on such parcels for means of survival and persistence.

The objects were also symbolic of hope and the humanitarian effort to enhance the lives of the oppressed and victimised. During the Second World War, The Prisoners of War Department assembled and sent out [around]19 million food parcels.

Personally, I was attracted to the photograph due to the expressive smiles and facial features of the prisoners. My favourite prisoner has a gleeful smirk with a cigarette trawling from the corners of his mouth. The photograph captures an emotive and suggestive moment in history. From within the confines of the photograph the prisoners are halted and removed from the horrors and atrocities of conflict.

Audio recording by Amy Robertson (Volunteer), Edinburgh.
Collection Type
Level of Current Record
Catalogue Number

Explore by colours