Map of the Principle British and Dominion prisoner of war camps in Europe, 1944.

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Map of the principle camps for the British and Dominion prisoners in Europe. Dated June 1944.

This is a map for use by the British Red Cross and St. John War Organisation, detailing the principle prisoner of war camps in Europe for British and Dominion soldiers during the Second World War. The map clearly shows the various camps for captured British and Commonwealth forces in occupied Europe, including locations such as the now famous Stalag Luft III, which mainly held allied airmen, in what is now Zagan, Poland. This camp was the scene of the ‘Great Escape’ of allied prisoners of war in 1943, the event later being depicted in the famous film of the same name. The map itself illustrates the large task that the British Red Cross as an organisation had in order to make sure that the prisoners of war would receive the care packages. Food, letters from home and other useful items eased their stay when away from their families and friends.

The British Red Cross during the Second World War did a great deal to ensure that around 20 million food parcels alone were sent and received by allied prisoners. The organisation also ensured that an acceptable level of care and as much comfort as possible was maintained in the camps late into the war before the liberation of the camp in 1945.

I was particularly interested in this object as it really details the importance of the work of the Red Cross during the Second World War, ensuring that our soldiers, airmen and sailors were cared for even when they were not in the country, that they were not forgotten.

Audio recording by Leon Janes (Volunteer), London.
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