Prisoners of War exhibition opens
Previously untold stories of Scottish soldiers captured during World War I and imprisoned in Germany will be revealed in a new exhibition by National Records of Scotland (NRS).
On display from 22 October, For You The War Is Over features soldiers’ personal letters and photographs telling their stories from “behind the wire” in their own words, including one soldier’s darkly amusing war diary.
Scottish Prisoners of War clashed with their captors and resisted their authority, to make running prison camps as difficult as possible. Documents and audio recordings of prisoners’ testimony take visitors onto the battlefield where they were captured and inside the camps to discover how they continued the struggle against their captors while incarcerated with courage, resilience and humour.
Letters and other documents describe ambitious escape plans, hidden tunnels and a long trip home in a famous general’s personal motor car; while items sent from Scotland show how worried families helped maintain the men’s morale, health and sanity.
Presented in a unique partnership with private archives, For You The War Is Over uncovers these inspiring and tragic events to explore the experiences of those who returned home to their families after Armistice Day and those who sadly did not.
Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “For You The War Is Over is a great chance to find out about this under appreciated aspect of the First World War, as we mark the centenary of the Armistice. The exhibition sheds new light upon the experiences of those who fought and sacrificed so much in this terrible conflict, both on the battlefield and in captivity, one hundred years after their release.”
Anne Slater, Chief Executive of NRS, said: “Our archivists have created a fascinating snapshot of life in the prison camps of World War One. Combining specially chosen items from private archives and selected documents from our records, this exhibition shows how the cultural and historical treasures that National Records of Scotland holds and supports can bring Scotland’s past to life.”
For You The War Is Over: Scottish POWs, 1914-1918
Free exhibition being held at National Records of Scotland
General Register House 2 Princes Street EH1-3YY
22 October – 23 November 2018