Saturday, 5 January 2013

New Ruhleben diary emerges

Long term readers will know I run a website about the First World War based Ruhleben internment camp near Spandau, Berlin, where some 5500 British and British Empire based civilians were interned for the duration of the hostilities. The site has been a bit neglected of late with other projects, although I do hope to give it a huge update in time for the centenary anniversary of the war's outbreak next year.

I received an email this morning about a gentleman called Hugo Norton Dixon who was born in Ormskirk, England, in Q4 1892, and later interned in the camp after his arrest in Bremen, where he had been working for an American cotton company. It turns out that Dixon recorded his experiences prior to the war and at Ruhleben from 1914-1916 in three diaries in order to practice the French he learned in the camp. These were later deposited at Shelby County Archives in Tennessee, with Dixon having relocated to the United States after the war, where he became something of a highly regarded philanthropist. The diaries, partially translated, are now available online, with an introduction, at

For more on the Ruhleben POWs visit my site at where there is information on about 2000 of those who were interned - and I will get my finger out asap to update it again, as I have lots of new material to add!

(With thanks to Lee H)


Pre-order my new book, Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet, through Pen and Sword (30 April 2013), or purchase early at Who Do You Think You Are Live 2013 in London. For my other genealogy books, please visit; whilst for online Scottish based genealogy courses please visit the Pharos Teaching and Tutoring Ltd site.

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