History of the First World War: the British officer returned to captivity

History of the First World War: the British officer returned to captivity

Became known the amazing story of the First World War: a British officer, taken prisoner by German troops, was allowed to visit his dying mother on one condition - to go back to Germany.

Captain Robert Campbell kept this promise of Kaiser Wilhelm II and returned from the county of Kent in Germany, where he stayed until the end of the war in 1918. Historian Richard van Emden told BBC BBC that Captain Campbell felt obliged to keep his word. However, when he returned, Robert Campbell immediately tried to escape. Van Emden came across this story while studying the materials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Great Britain, stored in the National Archives, for his book "Encounters with the enemy: the human face of the Great War."

Captain Campbell, of the 1st Battalion of the regiment of East Surry was captured August 24, 1914 in the north of France and was sent to a POW camp in Magdeburg, in the north-east of Germany. He was then 29 years old. He was in the camp, when the news came that his mother Louise was dying of cancer. Kaiser letter

Captain Campbell wrote a letter to the German Kaiser Wilhelm II of, pleading to give him permission to return to England to visit his sick mother. And the Kaiser permitted him. But on one condition: if Campbell will give the word, that he would return. Historian van Emden said that Campbell almost certainly traveled from Germany to Holland, and then on the steamer and train reached the town of Gravesend in Kent, where he spent a week with my mother, and then the same way back to Germany. His mother died in February 1917. Richard van Emden told BBC BBC that Captain Campbell felt obliged to fulfill the promise given to the Kaiser.

"He might have thought: if I do not return, never again not a single officer will not be released on parole", - says historian. In this case, van Emden is surprising that the British authorities have not banned Captain Campbell to return to Germany. More than any of British prisoners of war did not provide "family leave". It is well known that the United Kingdom has blocked a similar request to the German prisoner Gastreyha Peter, who was in an internment camp on the Isle of Man. Duty, honor, and the return of runaway

But the amazing story of Captain Campbell did not end with his return to Germany, because as soon as he tried to flee. Together with a group of other prisoners Campbell nine months digging a tunnel under the wall of the camp. They managed to escape, but they were detained on the Dutch border and sent back. Van Emden says that, on the one hand, Captain Campbell felt a debt of honor to keep his word officer and return to camp. But the same feeling of officer's honor led him to try to escape from captivity.

The Daily Mail reported that after the First World War, Captain Campbell returned to the UK and continued to serve in the army until 1925, when both resigned. But he returned to the military service when World War II began in 1939. Campbell served as the chief observer in the Royal Observer building on the Isle of Wight.

On the Isle of Wight and he passed away in July 1966 at the age of 81 years.