World War I prisoner of war collection features audio recordings of British prisoners of war


15 November 2022
Is your ancestor's correspondence featured in FindMyPast's latest collection?
Was your ancestor a prisoner of war during World War I? Could his voice have been recorded by sound pioneer Wilhelm Doegen as part of an academic study?

The first collection of its kind, this new set includes 56 audio recordings of British POWs. Featuring various accents and dialects, all soldiers recite the Passage of the Prodigal Son. You may also find notes on their trade, family life, religion, place of origin and the date they were captured. 

The sound recordings were part of an academic study conducted by German sound pioneer, Wilhelm Doegen, and form part of the larger Berliner Lautarchiv which has been digitised by the British Library. Enlisting the support of numerous academics, Wilhelm Doegen had sought to capture the voices of famous people, and languages, music and songs from all over the world. The collection acquired by the British Library in 2008 comprises 821 digital copies of shellac discs held at the Berliner Lautarchiv at the Humboldt Universität. This particular subset features recordings of British prisoners of war held in captivity on German soil between 1915 and 1918, and FindMyPast has been able, in many cases, to add key regimental details about many of the men.

To explore the collection, visit FindMyPast.

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In addition to the above, FindMyPast has also announced the release of ‘Prisoners of war, general correspondence, 1915’. This new collection from FindMyPast’s partner The UK National Archives comprises official documents, reports and letters, offering a glimpse into the treatment of First World War prisoners of war in Germany. 

Explore at FindMyPast.

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