prisoners of war

Events In History


Prisoners of War

  • Prisoners of War

    During the Second World War New Zealanders became prisoners of war in large numbers. Most Kiwi POWs were soldiers captured in Greece, Crete and North Africa. In total, more than 8000 were held in captivity - one in 200 of New Zealand's population at the time.

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  • Page 2 – Capture

    Most of New Zealand's Second World War POWs were captured in the European theatre in the early stages of the war. Only about 100 New Zealand servicemen fell into Japanese hands

  • Page 3 – Incarceration

    The incarceration of most New Zealand army POWs began in transit camps where facilities were rudimentary in the extreme. Generally little more than holding pens, they were

  • Page 4 – Daily life

    POW camps tended to be rather bleak places. They could not, for security reasons, have trees and other greenery growing in them, although many prisoners did receive seeds from

  • Page 5 – The Tiki times

    The Tiki Times was a hand- printed and illustrated newspaper produced weekly at prisoner of war camp E535, Milowitz, Poland from August 1944 to January 1945. Milowitz was a

  • Page 6 – Forced marches

    As the war drew to a close, POWs in the more eastern German camps were often gathered together at short notice and marched off under guard in a westerly direction  - away

  • Page 7 – Camp cookers

    A reprint of an article written by John Frizell (ex-POW) about the ovens used in POW camps during the Second World War

  • Page 8 – Liberation

    The prospect of liberation was key to POWs' morale. But a great many had no intention of passively awaiting the arrival of Allied forces, an attitude that was reinforced by the

  • Page 9 – Repatriation

    Attention was given to the problem of repatriating POWs long before 1945. A New Zealand repatriation unit was established in the United Kingdom under the command of Major-

  • Page 10 – The camps

    A list of prisoner of war camps in which New Zealand POWs were held during the Second World War

  • Page 11 – Further information

    This web feature was written by Megan Hutching and Ian McGibbon and produced by the NZHistory team.BooksD.O.W.

Featherston incident

  • Featherston incident

    Two kilometres north of the quiet little Wairarapa town of Featherston a small memorial garden marks the site of a riot that resulted in the deaths of 48 Japanese prisoners of war and one guard.

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  • Page 1 - Incident at FeatherstonTwo kilometres north of the quiet little Wairarapa town of Featherston a small memorial garden marks the site of a riot that resulted in the deaths of 48 Japanese prisoners of war

New Zealand and Le Quesnoy

  • New Zealand and Le Quesnoy

    It was the New Zealand Division's final action of the First World War. On 4 November 1918, just a week before the Armistice was signed, New Zealand troops stormed the walled French town of Le Quesnoy. The 90 men killed were among the last of the 12,483 who fell on the Western Front.

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  • Page 5 - Battle accounts, Private NimmoCaptain James Matheson Nimmo joined 3rd Battalion, 3rd New Zealand (Rifle) Brigade on 27 September

War oral history programme

The Salonika campaign

  • The Salonika campaign

    23 October is the anniversary of the 1915 sinking of the Marquette with the loss of 32 New Zealanders, including 10 nurses. They were en route from Egypt to the Greek port of Salonika as New Zealand’s contribution to the little-known Allied campaign in the Balkans

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  • Page 6 - Hidden AnzacsA number of New Zealanders served in the British imperial forces at Salonika rather than with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force.

Hospital ships

  • Hospital ships

    The Maheno and Marama were the poster ships of New Zealand's First World War effort. Until 1915 these steamers had carried passengers on the Tasman route. But as casualties mounted at Gallipoli, the government - helped by a massive public fundraising campaign - converted them into state-of-the-art floating hospitals.

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  • Page 6 - Later service and legaciesThe Marama missed Gallipoli, reaching the Mediterranean a few weeks after the Allies abandoned the peninsula. The ships’ service pattern would now be dominated by long voyages


  • Clouston, Wilfrid Greville

    Wilfrid Greville Clouston was one of the first New Zealand air aces of the Second World War. He survived the Battle of Britain only to spend the majority of the war in a Japanese prisoner of war camp.

  • On 21 December 1919 a handsomely carved oak roll of honour was unveiled at St Lukes Presbyterian Church, Remuera.

Images and media for prisoners Of War