In this week’s Open Book podcast Dr Tristram Clarke, Head of Outreach at NRS, looks in detail at the people, the items and the stories that inspired our current exhibition, For You The War Is Over: Scottish POWs 1914-1918.

Each soldier tells a different story – some of them were imprisoned in 1918 and others were captured during the war’s first battles.  Some were treated more harshly than others, with officers and enlisted men separated and sent to different camps.

There are some remarkable and fascinating stories to tell as some prisoners dug tunnels and planned daring escapes, while others kept diaries which revealed their desperate longing for home and family.

With photographs, journals, letters and more, the exhibition reveals how prisoners resisted their captors, how they associated and sometimes plotted with French and Russian colleagues and how many of them kept up their morale, their health and their sanity.

This exhibition is the result of a unique partnership with private archives.  It was made possible thanks to the hard work of the National Register of Archives for Scotland – a part of NRS which records collections of private papers, encourages their care and makes information about them available to researchers and members of the public.

For You The War Is Over is free to visit at General Register House, 2 Princes Street, Edinburgh on weekdays between 10 am and 4.30 pm until 23 November.

You can find a selection of items that Tristram refers to below.

POW Exhibition Poster


Arthur Holmes Gallie
Lieutenant Arthur Holmes Gallie, Glasgow Yeomanry.



Ian Hamilton
Second Lieutenant Ian Hamilton, 1st Bn. Gordon Highlanders


POW Allied officers playing ice hockey Burg bei Magdeburg camp 1917 cropped
Allied officers playing ice hockey at Burg-bei-Magdeburg camp, 1917.


Andrew Clingan seated photo
Private Andrew Clingan, 12th Bn. Royal Scots


POW Andrew Clingan diary
Excerpt from the war diary of Private Andrew Clingan.


POW 1489 Map of Dutch-German border for planned escape by Campbell, circa 1916-18 compressed
Hand-drawn map of the Dutch-German border for planned escape by Colin Campbell, 2nd Bn, Argyll & Southern Highlanders.


One thought on “Behind The Wire: Scottish POWs 1914-1918, with Dr Tristram Clarke

  1. Your website is amazing, especially the images which put faces and detail to the history. I am supposed to be working but stumbled upon your 100 days article and am loving looking through the rest of the archive. I will be sharing the links to my history grad. friends. Thanks.


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