John William Saunders: A Prisoner of War in WW1

My FindMyPast subscription was due for renewal earlier this month but I decided that I was tired of trying to work out how the new search system works.   When I first started researching my family history I joined The Genealogist, and a special offer for previous subscribers had arrived in my inbox just a week before I gave up on FMP – so I paid my money and started searching.

I was interested to learn that the site has just released some World War 1 Casualty Records:

My great grandfather, John William Saunders (1875-1920) received the Silver War Badge and died in 1920. He has a Commonwealth War Graves headstone on his grave at Chingford Mount Cemetery – so was he wounded at some point?  I looked him up – and was amazed to see that he appears in the War Office weekly Casualty List for 18th September 1917, and the details show that he was “previously reported missing, now in German hands”.

This information led me to the website of the International Committee of the Red Cross which holds the WW1 Prisoner of War Records.  It took just a few minutes searching on to locate my great grandfather’s record, and to discover that he had been taken prisoner at Ypres in June 1917, registered at the prison camp at Limburg an der Lahn and then  transferred to hospital in Wurzburg.

There’s a lot more to find out – the two websites are fascinating and there is lots of interesting information, with photographs of some of the POW camps, on the ICRC site.




About familyhistoryfootsteps

I have been researching my family history for several years. I'm particularly interested in social history and enjoy learning about, and trying to understand the context of our ancestors' lives. From the mid 1800s onwards most of my direct ancestors lived and worked in London.
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