Prisoners of war
Between 1939 and 1945 over 3500 DLI soldiers were taken prisoner on the battlefield. Many were captured during the fighting at Dunkirk in 1940; hundreds more were captured at Gazala and elsewhere in North Africa in 1942; and in the disaster on the island of Kos in 1943.
From Dunkirk the prisoners of war were marched and railed east into camps in Germany and Poland. From North Africa the prisoners were taken by sea to camps in Italy. Thankfully no DLI soldiers were taken prisoner in the Far East.
After Italy surrendered in September 1943, some prisoners escaped but most were taken north to camps in Germany. In early 1945 German guards marched the prisoners west away from the advancing Russian forces. In April and May these prisoners of war were freed, many by advancing American forces, and returned safely home.