In the initial phase
of the war hardly any German soldiers fell into English
captivity except a few pilots shot down.
With the beginning
of the German air offensive their number counted appr.
4,000 by the end of 1940.
From 1941 onwards
the Brits distributed their German POWs all over the
entire territory of the Commonwealth.
Britain the biggest detention camps were established
especially in Canada, Australia, the Middle East and
While the British
motherland held only 2,000 German prisoners in custody by
March 1944, this situation changed enormously by the
invasion of Normandy in June 1944.
By the end of 1944
there were already 140,000 prisoners on the British
islands, in 380 large camps and in 1,500 smaller
satellite camps, scattered all over the country.
stations the prisoners of the African Corps were kept in
the Heluan camp near Cairo as well as in the camps
established at the Bitter Lake area between Suez and
These were huge
sandy locations enclosed by barbed wire, divided into
smaller quarters. The prisoners dwelled in tents
exposed to great heat, put on meagre rations, frequented
by insects, mice and rats.
From these desert
camps the prisoners were scattered to all parts of the
In this Canada
played a key role with a prisoners' contingent of more
than 12,000 by 1942.
The prisoners were
concentrated in the big tent camp named Ozada erected at
the feet of the Rocky Mountains.