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A child’s necklace and a pair of soldier’s dog-tags...what do these have in common? Both
of these very personal items belonged to a Prisoner of War (POW) during World War II, but
each tells a different story. These mementos are now being looked after by The Soldiers of
Oxfordshire Museum in Woodstock, who are planning an exhibition about POW experiences
and are appealing to the public for help in bringing the new museum to life.

The necklace was given to a young girl during the war, having been made by a German
POW held at a local camp. It was donated, along with other hand-made pieces by Rosemary
Warner from Witney. Local POWs often made toys and children’s playthings to sell for a little
extra cash.

The dog-tags are a reminder of one young man’s time in the Stalag Luft III camp, now
in Poland, and infamous for the ‘Great Escape’. Sgt Leslie Mitchell from Woodstock was
captured aged just 19 after his plane came down in 1940. He remained a prisoner until 1945,
moved from camp to around the German occupied territories. All the time he kept in touch
with home, and the letters sent to him provide a fascinating insight into war-time Oxfordshire.

If you have personal memories of POWs during the Second World War or if you were a
prisoner yourself, SOFO would like to hear from you. We would be also interested in hearing
about experiences of relatives who were POWs. Matthew Smaldon from SOFO says:

“We are seeking first-hand accounts, memorabilia, written memoirs, photos, letters, and
other items relating to POWs. We want to tell the story of local men held in POW camps, and
of how the influx of German and Italian POWs also affected life in the county - to do so we
want to ask for the assistance of Oxfordshire residents to help us build the story.”

If you can help in any way, contact Sue Cross on 01993 813832, email us at, or write to Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum, The Old Tannery, Hensington Road, Woodstock OX20 1JL. << Go Back
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