POWS BY NUMBERS
Tens of thousands of British men, women and children spent extended periods locked away during World War Two. John Ash and Tom Baker examine the key numerics that tell their story
More than 170,000 British/Commonwealth personnel were captured by German/Italian forces and a further 190,000 by the Japanese.
The Geneva Convention protected POWs and outlined standards of treatment, although Japan had not ratified the accords. There were breaches on all sides, but generally British POWs were acceptably treated by their German/ Italian captors.
Humiliation and boredom were dominant feelings among captured combatants, but the majority were too weak to attempt escape – especially in the Far East where conditions were much harsher – and other ranks were often forced to work as labourers.
10,000 British civilians