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I was looking through the british casaulty lists of the boer war.

very, very, very men are listed as Captured-released.

The Boers in the later stages of the war did not have the possibility of keeping POWs, so they destroyed the rifles and released the men.

2 incidents always made me chuckle.

1) The British soldier who having being captured on a previous occasion and knowing what was coming, rattled of his clothing sizes so the captors knew if the stuff would fit before stripping him

2) General De Wet, furious, wanting to communicate that Soldier XYZ should be arrested for allowing himself to be captured by De Wets men for a third time.

I suppose these must have been rear area or supply men that were captured when their columns were attacked...

I would think that is the last war where prisonners who could not be taken care of were released. In WW1 raids anyone who could not be taken back was killed, and from there it has been all downhill....

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Oh I don't know about all that. Maybe as a war all in all, but I know a few chaps who shot POWs they couldn't keep in the kneecap or thumbs so they couldn't be a bother anymore, but let them go.

Edited by Ulsterman
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I have a medal group to one of those men. He was captured and released while serving with the Bedfords. In the Great War, having emigrated, he enlisted in the 98th Bn. C.E.F., transferred to the 20th Bn. and was Missing in Action at Vimy. His luck held, though, and he was able to rejoin his unit.

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  • 2 months later...

I suppose these must have been rear area or supply men that were captured when their columns were attacked...

not really Chris, the british army were under no orders to fight to the last man and bullet, so as in any conflict, soldiers gave up when they thought they no better option

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I hope a comment from a new boy will be of interest.

There was a kind of exchange of prisoners in 1914 during the East Africa Campaign. The Germans allowed some prisoners to return to their own side by accepting their "parole" - their word of honour - that they would not fight against Germany at any future time in the war.

They did this when they had prisoners whom they couldn't feed or care for. I think that at one stage they wanted to abandon a hospital which contained some British wounded. Rather than take them along, they took their parole and left them behind for the British to find them. Later in the campaign they also released two British officers on their parole.

The British also took the parole of Dr. Wolfgang Gothein, whom they had captured at Koronga in September, 1914. Dr. Gothein worked so well as a doctor in a prisoner of war camp that he was released on his parole that he would take no further part in the war.

The Manual of Military Law of 1914 has a section on rules for prisoners of war with respect to taking and giving of parole.


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Any comment from Tom Morgan will be of interest !!

welcome to the forum :D

for those who don't recognise the name, check out hellfire corner hellfire

Welcome Tom!

Agreed, I have a group to a German who was wounded on the Somme, he was traded back for a British wounded soldier then invalided out. In that case however he was of no further use.



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Welcome! Mr Tom Morgan.

And a tip of the hat to you for your work on the site at www.fylde,demon.co.uk

it is due to Gents like you that we as custodians of military history ( instead of the boring title, 'collectors') appreciate, for enlightening us to the historical aspects of or hobbies....and filling us in with the details which make our charges ( read... collections) much more understandable and meaningful... thankyou for this :)

Humble respects from wayyy down under


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