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Most of the British servicemen taken prisoner by the Axis powers during the Second World War were not liberated until spring 1945. In contrast, a small number escaped from Prisoner of War camps and thousands more evaded capture, eventually making it back to the United Kingdom. This talk focuses on these men, the official organisations established to assist them and the civilian-run escape lines, while case studies are used to highlight the resourcefulness and courage of those concerned. Alan Bowgen has worked at The National Archives since 1996. He is a member of the Military, Maritime and Transport team and specialises in Prisoner of War records.
Professor Christopher Andrew introduces the 27th Security Service records release containing 171 files, bringing the total number of Security Service records at The National Archives to more than 4,896. As with previous releases, around three quarters of the records are personal files relating to individuals (KV 2), with the remainder a combination of subject files (KV 3), organisation files (KV 5) and list files (KV 6). The records cover a range of subjects and span the inter-war, Second World War and post-war eras.
The historian A.J.P Taylor, considering the events of 1914, once argued: 'The First World War had begun - imposed on the statesmen of Europe by railway timetables. It was an unexpected climax to the railway age.' This talk will look at how the railways of Britain and Europe prepared for war in 1914 and how central the railways were to troop mobilisation. Bruno Derrick has been employed by the Public Record Office/The National Archives for 23 years. He has a particular interest in military history and military records, and in records relating to railways, canals and transport, with a particular emphasis on railway genealogy going back to the earliest days of the railways.
This talk introduces the biggest battle of the Wars of the Roses, described as 'The largest, longest, bloodiest and most murderous battle ever fought in Britain'. It was the decisive clash in a snowstorm at Towton in Yorkshire on 29 March 1461. A new English dynasty came to the throne with Edward IV's victory, but more Englishmen may have died at Towton than on the first day of the battle of the Somme. The talk outlines the events of that day, looking at some of The National Archives' sources for the battle and examines the participants' motivations. Dr. James Ross is a medieval records specialist at the National Archives. He has a particular interest in the politics of the Wars of the Roses, and the nobility and gentry during the period.