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Doeberitz POW Camp in the Great War - The Wartime Memories Project -

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- Doeberitz POW Camp during the Great War -

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Doeberitz POW Camp

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  These include information on officers service records, letters, diaries, personal accounts and information about actions during the Great War.

Those known to have been held in

Doeberitz POW Camp

during the Great War 1914-1918.

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Feb 2018

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Did you know? We also have a section on World War Two. and a Timecapsule to preserve stories from other conflicts for future generations.


Pte. William Robert Clegg 1st Btn. East Lancashire Regiment

My grandfather, William Clegg, served in India with the 2nd Btn East Lancs until December 1913. He was recalled and was captured at Le Cateau in August 1914. It is known that he was at Chemnitz and Doberitz POW camps.

John Neal


Able Sea. James Farrant Division (Infantry)

Able Seaman James Farrant was a POW in several prisons during WW1: Reiskatte, Gustrow and Doberitz, during which time he attempted to escape. He had been captured at the Battle of Antwerp in October 1914.


George Brearley 2nd Btn. Grenadier Guards

Former miner George Brearley was a regular soldier, with the 2nd Battalion, Grenadier Guards. He had landed in France on 13th August 1914 and after heavy fighting on 1st September a wounded comrade visited his brother to tell him that he had seen a shell burst, “blowing him to smithereens”.

As his family grieved, the reality was that George Brearley was alive, a prisoner of the Germans. Before they got to him he managed to scribble a note on a scrap of paper and placed it in a sealed bottle in the hope that someone would pass the message on to his family. “If this paper is found will you please write to this address – Mrs. Davis, Star Inn, Bulwell, Notts., England and tell them George is well.”

As unlikely as it sounds, the message was picked up a couple of weeks afterwards by a French civilian after the Germans had been forced to retreat from the area. Dutifully, he forwarded the message to Cissie Davis who had the covering letter translated by a French teacher at the Coventry Road School in Bulwell.

Despite this, George's family still doubted that he was alive and even when they received a postcard from him, it was thought that it was probably a forgery. However, the family was eventually convinced when they recognised him in a photograph of a working party in a German POW camp at Doeberitz, near Berlin. Somehow a newspaper published in Pennsylvania was sent to offices of the Dispatch. Staff there recognised George Brearley as the man, shovel in hand, digging a drainage ditch under the supervision of a German officer. Even then one family member did not believe that it was him.

The story of the sighting of him in the newspaper photograph is almost as unlikely as a message written in a bottle being discovered on a battlefield. It is true nevertheless. George Brearley returned to Hucknall after the Armistice more than four years later.

Want to know more about Doeberitz POW Camp?

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