Leicestershire Record Office On The Look Out For PoW Stories

By Graham Spicer | 27 July 2005
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Shows a black and white photo of a column of men carrying kit bags on their shoulders through a street

German PoWs, kit bags on shoulders, marching through Leicester. Courtesy Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland

Leicestershire Record Office is appealing to local people who had contact with prisoners of war during World War Two to help with a forthcoming exhibition.

The Record Office is looking for people to recount their experiences and to exhibit any documents, photographs or objects made by the prisoners. The information and objects will help form their Prisoners of War in Leicestershire During World War Two exhibition, opening on September 5 2005 at the Record Office, Leicester.

Leicestershire had one of the largest number of PoW camps in the country, holding more prisoners than any other part of Britain. It is thought that there were at least 23 camps across Leicestershire and Rutland, with Italian, German and also Ukrainian and other eastern European prisoners.

At the camp at Shady Lane, Stoughton, German prisoners remained until 1948. They worked on the land for farmers and built sewers and roads for the growing city of Leicester.

Shows a black and white photo of three women holding spades in a ploughed field with what looks like a church building in the background

Another exhibition at the Record Office will look at the role of the Land Girls in the war. Photo courtesy Trafford Local Studies

Local people befriended some of them, and they were known to make toys for local children and to paint scenes of the Leicestershire countryside. Staff at the Record Office are keen for people to lend them any examples of these for the exhibition.

The Record Office is the centre for historical research for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland. It preserves records of all kinds, including manuscripts, maps and photographs, making them available for research by the public.

Along with the Prisoners of War exhibition, the Record Office will be running two further World War Two exhibitions in September. The Forgotten Front will look at the role of the women’s Land Army and Digging For Victory will examine the transformation of the Leicestershire countryside during the war.

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