WWII Escapers & Evaders
About these records
The WWII Escapers & Evaders are a great new finding aid, pointing to individual reports for allied service personnel about their experiences evading capture, or escaping from prisoner of war camps, in Central Europe during WWII. There are 10,529 records in the index.
Each entry in the index gives name, rank, number, corps and the reference to the original paper file at The National Archives in Kew. Some entries also give details of decorations, date of capture, the camp in which they were held, and/or the date of escape, for example, across the border into Switzerland.
The following pieces in The National Archives' record series WO208 are included:
- Pieces 3298 to 3327 MI9 escape and evasion reports numbered 1 to 3,122, dating from 1940 to 1945
- Pieces 3343 to 3345 843 miscellaneous interrogation reports from 1945
- Pieces 3348 to 3352 3,048 escape reports from 1945
- Pieces 4238 to 4276 reports of prisoner of war escapes from Italy to Switzerland 1943-1944
- Pieces 4368 to 4371 sundry additional reports on prisoner of war escapes via Switzerland 1943-1944
- Pieces 5393 to 5404 MI9 reports on escapers and evaders through enemy lines in Italy 1943-1944
- Pieces 5582 to 5583 interrogation reports on repatriated allied prisoner of war escapers and evaders 1942-1946, including some appendices to reports in pieces 3305 to 3327
MI9 was British Military Intelligence Section 9. During WWII it specialised in, among other tasks, assisting British and other allied servicemen behind enemy lines this included facilitating the escape of prisoners of war and helping others evade capture and travel safely to friendly or neutral states.
Note that as well as British armed forces, many members of Australian, Canadian, Cypriot, New Zealand and South African units are also included, as well as Free French Forces and others.
Records © Brian Sims 2010
Begin with the basics
The name of the person you are searching for may not be recorded in the way you expect. Henry John Davies, for example, may have been recorded as Henry Davies, Henry J Davies, H Davies, or even H J Davies. We suggest that you initially search using the person’s last name only. If you receive too many results, you can then add a first name to narrow them down.
First name and last name variations
If you don’t find the result you want first time, it is worth trying every possible variation in the first and last name fields.
Your ancestor might have used a different first name in everyday life from the one that appears on official records. For example, your great-uncle Jack’s birth name might have been John. Last names can often be spelled in many different ways, for example, Smith, Smyth or Smythe.
We’ve added an ‘Include variants’ tickbox next to both fields to allow for common differences in spelling or incorrect spelling. If you can’t find someone recorded under the name you expect, try ticking the ‘Include variants’ boxes to include variations of the name in your results.