Censorship on the home front ?

Discussion in 'World War 1' started by Richard Suggitt, Nov 14, 2015.

  1. Richard Suggitt

    Richard Suggitt New Member

    I've been researching the WW1 war history of my grandfather; he served in the Suffolk regiment, was wounded and captured at Ypres in 1915, and escaped from a German POW camp in 1918.

    I've found an account of an interview done in 1918 or later where he describes his time in the POW camp... evidently this is some sort of official debrief done when he got back to England. Some of the details of the escape are documented..... in particular, how he dressed to escape, used a forged pass, and was assumed by the guards to be a visiting censor.

    The interesting thing is.... some details differ from the story as he told it later. This account has it that he was dressed as a workman (not the clothing recorded in the 'debrief' account), and there was no mention of a forged pass. Also, we believe there was a newspaper article (might have been the local paper or a forces paper) showing him (and a fellow escaper) dressed as workmen.

    So, it looks as if the real details of the escape were censored somewhat for home consumption. My question is... was this common, and what was so sensitive in the real details that they had to be suppressed ?
  2. Interrogator#6

    Interrogator#6 Active Member

    Yes, deliberately getting details 'wrong' for security reasons was commonplace. I do not recall any incidents from the GreatWar but do from WWII. British Inteligence knew they themselves were reading German newpapers for Intelligence so why not expect the Huns were doing the same. There was a case in the next war when locals noted the newspapers got reports of bombing raids wrong, but thinking the reporters daft, not realizing the reports were really for the Germans.

    It the case of POWs, authorities did not want to 'queer the pitch' for other potential escapeers.

    This has the effect of confusing historians who take newspapers as gospel.
  3. Richard Suggitt

    Richard Suggitt New Member

    Many thanks !
    Do you know of any published sources that describe this (so I can include a citation in my notes).
  4. Interrogator#6

    Interrogator#6 Active Member

    Sorry, no. I have read so many books over so many years that I tend to lose track. For some reason the name of "The Game of Foxes" comes to the front of my mind, as does "Bodyguard of Lies", but I would not trust these without YOUR checking (reading) them to see if my data is accurate.
  5. Richard Suggitt

    Richard Suggitt New Member

    OK, thanks anyway !

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