German POWs landing Newport News 9.42

German POWs from the Afrika Korps captured in North Africa by British 8th Army debark from a ship in Newport News VA in September of 1942. Great Britain was filled to capacity to with POWs and many had to be sent to Canada, then a self-governing dominion of the British Empire. Under an agreement with the British, the United States agreed to take more than 300,000 German prisoners of war. 

Note the Afrika Korps desert boots and tropical uniforms the men are wearing. At the top right of the photograph standing just inside the hatchway is a British solider, probably a military policeman. They wore red hats but I can’t tell in this photo whether the hat is red.

A great story from the Austin-American Statesman on Camp Hearne, one of the largest POW camps in the USA holding German PWs during WW Two. At that time, the men were designated as PWs and not POWs. They had PW painted on their uniforms.


“It started with the surrender of the Afrika Korps in spring 1943, when more than 150,000 soldiers were sent to camps in the U.S. According to the Geneva Convention of 1929, which set international wartime standards for prisoners, POWs had to be moved to a climate similar to where they were captured. The American South was deemed as the most appropriate location.

Because of the availability of space, Texas had more than twice as many camps as any other state, with roughly 78,000 POWs living here by the end of the war. The prisoners, however, didn’t get back home until 1947, two years after the war ended. Camp Hearne was among the biggest camps in Texas, and today, its museum provides the most comprehensive and well-documented display of this part of Texas history.”


Austin American Statesman Story on German POWs