The Richmond & Twickenham Times reported a group of German prisoners had been spotted at Richmond station. They had been discharged from local hospitals and, recovered from their wounds, were on their way to prisoner-of-war camps. Although their uniforms were noted to be “stained” and the men generally in poor shape, the article recorded the German men were “clean, well fed, and well cared for”.
This was contrasted with the condition of British soldiers in German camps, with the writer opining “there are no Wittenbergs in England”.
The German authorities had been unprepared for the large numbers of prisoners who would be taken during the war – around 2.4 million. Prisoners slept in tents, barns, and empty school buildings. The Allied blockade meant serious food shortages in Germany, which local populations suffered from as much as the prisoners. Conditions in the camps were bad and there were outbreaks of cholera and typhus, such as at Wittenberg.