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

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Mersburg 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

Mersburg 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. George Elsden Mears Coldstream Guards

George Mears was a prisoner at POW camp Mersburg 1915-1918.


Gem Wilfred Brown Machine Gun Corps

My Grandfather, Wilfred Brown, fought at Saint-Quentin and was captured in the German Spring Offensive, date of capture 21/3/1918. Detained in Standal POW camp. Moved to Merseburg camp, repatriated at the end of the War, via Hull.

All above information supplied by ICRC.

Russell Evans


A/Cpl. James Stanley Howard 1/6th Btn Cheshire Regiment

My grandfather James Howard enlisted in the Cheshire Regiment Army Reserve on 13 Dec 1909. Between that date and the outbreak of the First World War he attended various annual training camps, during one of which he was promoted to lance corporal on 20 May 1914. He was mobilized into 1st Battalion on 5 Aug 1914 and promoted to acting corporal on 3 October 1914. Shortly after arriving in France he was captured at a place called Violaines, near La Basse and was confirmed as a POW on 22nd Oct 1914. Details of his units capture can be found in "The History of the Great War" by Arthur Crookenden (Col. of Rgt.) pages 28 & 29. He spent the remainder of the war in various Prison of War camps as listed below. The dates and places were supplied by the International Red Cross Committee: 16 Jan 1915 Wahn, 19 Jul 1916 Merseberg, 4 Sep 1916 Wittenberg, 25 Jan 1917 AltenGrabow, still there on 10 Feb 1917, 21 Mar 1917 Magdeburg/Sud (IRCC quote 'Hilfskrkanst' as part of the camp name) Detailed as arriving in England on 18 Nov 1918 on the SS "Willochra" on an undated list.

Having returned to England he was transferred to Army Reserve on 18 Feb 1919 and then discharged from the Army on 31 Mar 1920. Having experienced the conditions of the Prisoner of War camps one would expect him to have settled for a civilian existence but he re-enlisted into Section D, Army Reserve at Chester on 28 Mar 1922 with Army number 4118343, rank - Private. He was finally discharged on 27 Mar 1926.

He re-enlisted yet again into the Territorial Army (Royal Artillery) with No. 4118343) on 27 Oct 1938. Embodied 25 Jun 1939, Disembodied 20 Jul 1939, Embodied 24 Aug 1939. Transferred to Cheshire Regiment and posted to 8th Home Counties Defence Battalion 24 Jul 1940 (late redesignated 30th Battalion). Posted to No. 2 Company 27 Jun 1942. Attached to G setion, 165 Provost Company as Cook 17 Nov 1942. Attachment ceased 28 Sep 1943 Posted to 2nd Battalion 2 Feb 1944 Posted to 38 Reinforcement Holding Unit 5 Apr 1944 Posted to 35 Reinforcement Holding Unit 12 Apr 1944 Posted to 24 Machine Gun Training Centre 30 Apr 1944 Posted to No. 4 Army Selection Centre 14 Aug 1944 Discharged again on 27 Aug 1944 as his services were no longer required.

Having survived through two wars he passed away on 5 Feb 1966 as a result of being hit by a car whilst crossing the road.

Harold Keith Howard


L/Cpl. Ben Schofield 1st Btn. Cheshire Regiment

My great grand father, Lance Corporal Ben Schofield no:9594, enlisted in the 1st battalion Cheshire Regiment on the 28th Feb 1911 at Chester.

He was posted to Belfast on the 10th July 1911, where he had his tonsils removed in Musgrave Park Military Hospital and was paid 2 shillings compensation.

He was then transferred to Ebrington Barracks in Londonderry on the 10th Jan 1913.At the out break of the War he was returned with the Regiment to the Regimental Depot and sent to France, arriving there on the 16th January 1915.

Overall his conduct was listed as good for his time in the U.K. There is only one entry on his ‘crime sheet’ dated 20 January 1914 ‘’Awarded 21 days detention by the C.O for being in possession of goods which where the property of a comrade.’’

The Regiment then took part in the second Battle of Ypres. On the 8th of May the First Battalion were fighting around the village of Frezenbuerg, L/cpl Schofield was wounded in the right arm and back then captured.

After receiving medical treatment in a German field hospital he was transferred to Mersburg Prisoner of War Camp, Saxony, Germany. It was here that he joined No 2 Company, being given the P.O.W number 1514.

He was repatriated to Britan on the 9th of January 1919 and discharged on the 9th of April 1919.

After the war he settled in Belfast, he married and raised 5 children after finding work as a tram driver for the Belfast Transport Corporation.

Neil Wilson

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