Wednesday, May 12, 2010

India : Prisoner-of-War Coupons

Money used in Prisoner-of-War Camps in India

As a part of British Empire that often remained outside the theatres of war, India served as a safe haven for housing the Prisoners of War. Camps were set up, often in places situated in the hinterland, during the Boer War and the two World Wars. The monetary transactions in these camps were facilitated by use of Coupons, as other forms of currency were prone to be forged by the inmates and as such were a source of impending economic danger. The first ever use of such Coupons is said to have been facilitated in the aftermath of the Revolt of 1857.

During the Boer War, camps were situated in the fortified towns of Bellary, Ahmednagar and Trichinopoly. Out of these camps, Coupons for monetary use are so far known only for the Trichinopoly camp and its camp at Kaity in the Nilgiris. These were issued in denominations of 8 Annas, 1 Rupee, 5 Rupees and 10 Rupees.

Several camps were created to house the German, Italian and Japanese prisoners during World War II and a complete listing of camps using monetary Coupons have been appended. Certain small Coupons used in the Central Internment Camp, located at Ahmednagar or Dehradun are also included.

Central Internment Camp, Ahmednagar:

It is not known whether these coupons were issued for the use of World War II internees. Opinion prevails among scholars such as Dr. P. L. Gupta that these were issued for the use of political prisoners who were confined in the Ahmednagar Fort in the aftermath of the ‘Quit India’ movement of 1942. It had coupons of Half Anna (As.0-0-6) and One Anna (As.0-1-0).

Indo-Pak War:

In the aftermath of the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971, Coupons were issued for the use of Pakistani prisoners. However, the location of these camps is still a mystery.

Prisoner–of-War Camps of World War II

Several POW Camps were set up in India during the Second World War for German, Italian and Japanese POWs. These camps were located in Ahmednagar, Bangalore, Bhopal, Ramgarh, Yol, Delhi, Clement town. The central internment camp was situated at Ahmednagar. The coupons were issued by each "Wing" of the camp and were authorized by the Camp Commandment.

Some of the salient features of the currency coupons issued for use at these camps:

Type 1 and Type 2

  • Notes measured 115x57 mm.
  • Overprinted with the name of the camp.
  • One type has a 6mm vertical bar at the left.
  • Under-printed “PRISONERS OF WAR” in a semicircle near the top.
  • “CAMP” is near the bottom.
  • The denomination is in the middle on either side.
  • Camp name is overprinted under the denomination
  • In some cases, over-stamped on the face of the note.
  • Some have rubber stamp on the face or on the reverse of the note.
  • Some carry “WING” overprint on obverse and some on the reverse.
  • The notes had distinctive colours for different denominations.
  • Not all denominations are known from each camp.
  • Printed signature only in Central Internment Camp coupons.
  • Notes were printed on a continuous star-watermark sheet.
  • Some coupons are without overprinted or over-stamped camp names.

Type 3:
  • The coupon is Uniface.
  • It measures 105 x 85 mm.
  • Text on top reads “CAMP B – PRISONERS OF WAR – RAMGARH TOWN.”
  • “CASH COUPON” is printed at a slight diagonal at the center.
  • The denomination is at the lower left.
  • Printed signature is at lower right.

Type 4:

  • The coupon is Uniface.
  • It measures 105 x 85 mm.
  • Text on top reads “No.1 Internment Camp Ramgarh.”
  • “Service Prisoners of War” is printed at a diagonal at the center.
  • The denomination is at the lower right.
  • Printed signature is at lower left.

Type 4


Prisoner-of-War Camps of World War : Type 1 and Type 2:

The Prisoners-of-war were interned in India in 29 camps forming 6 Groups of camps. In addition, there were two Civil Internment Camps at Dehradun and Deoli and one camp in Delhi for the Japanese prisoners captured in Burma.

Group I – Bangalore:
Camps 1 to 8 - Italian prisoners.

Group II – Bhopal: Camps 9 to 16 – Italian prisoners. Camp 16 was a hospital.

Group III – Ramgarh: Camps 17 to 20 – German Civil Internees and later Italian prisoners. Had a punishment camp for difficult Italian pows.

Group IV - Clement Town (Dehradun): Camps 21 to 24 – Separated in Wings 1: pro-Nazi, 2: anti-Nazi, 3: Italians. One of the camps was a Central Internment Camp.

Group V – YOL: Camps 25 to 28 – Italian prisoners.

Group VI – Bikaner: Camp 29 – Japanese prisoners. It was also a punishment camps for difficult Italian pows.

Central Internment Camp (Dehradun / Premnagar): This was mixed civilian internment and prisoner-of-war camp. Italian prisoners of war and German civilian internees housed in separate camps. WING 1 and WING 6 held German internees.
Central Internment Camp (Premnagar): This was mixed civilian internment and prisoner-of-war camp. Italian prisoners of war and German civilian internees housed in separate camps. WING 1 and WING 6 held German internees.

Printed signature was only used in Central Internment Camp - Internees Private Funds Coupon.

Delhi – Japanese Camp: Delhi housed the Japanese prisoners captured in Burma.

Deoli – Civil Internment Camp: Deoli housed German civilian internees and Japanese civilian internees. It was also a punishment colony for Germans.


DENOMINATION

DISTINCTIVE COLOURS OF COUPONS

1 Anna

Purple

2 Annas

Light Brown

4 Annas

Blue

8 Annas

Brown

1 Rupee

Green

2 Rupees

Rust

5 Rupees

Dark Purple

10 Rupees

Blue Green


CAMP

TYPE



BANGALORE - GROUP I (RED OVERPRINT)

WB


WOB



BANGALORE (BLACK OVERPRINT) Camp No.8

WOB



BANGALORE (Rubber Stamp) Camp No.7

WOB



BHOPAL

WB


WOB



CENTRAL INTERNMENT CAMP

WB

DEHRA DUN / PREMNAGAR

WOB


WOB WING 1


WOB WING 2


WOB WING 3


WOB WING 6


WOB WING 7



CLEMENT TOWN

WB


WOB WING 1


WOB WING 2


WOB WING 3



DELHI JAPANESE CAMP

WB


WOB



DEOLI - CIVIL INTERNMENT CAMP

WB


WOB



RAMGARH

WB


WOB


WOB CAMP XVII


WOB CAMP XX


WOB 20 RAMGARH



YOL

WB


WOB CAMP 25


WOB CAMP 26


WOB CAMP 28



YOL BAR COUPON-SQUARE WHITE

WHITE 26 CAMP

WING NO. 5/C PRINTED




NOTE

  • WB - With Bar - a 6mm vertical bar at the left
  • WOB - Without Bar
  • Half Anna - 1/2 Anna - Violet colour only issued in Central Internment Camp

12 comments:

Stefano said...

Compliments it is a very interesting article full of informations and details, especially for a field of numismatic, like this of the coupons for Prisoners Of War (POW) where the informations are so few and very difficult to find.

Nelson said...

Dear Sir,

I'm Nelson, working on a project with RBI, as its Young Scholar. I would like to use the pictures of currency notes of your blog. will I be permitted to do so?

Regards,
Nelson.

Kumaravel said...

its a wonderful article....great collection :)
Regards
Kumar
DNM Bangalore

Mal said...

I have five denominations of WOB CAMP 27

Marion said...

Dear Sir,
My father-in-law was an Italian prisoner of war. His records clearly state he was interred at "Ramgarh - Camp 12". I notice you have listed the Ramgarh camps as 17-20, and Camp 12 is listed as Bhopal. Could you please provide any further information, as we are just beginning to research his time in India, and would like to find out as much information as possible.
Thanking you for any assistance you can provide.
Kind Regards,
Marion

Rezwan Razack said...

Marion,
Please let me know your email id for a reply.
You may write to me on properties@vsnl.com
Rezwan

Ajit Lakshmiratan said...

an excellent compilation...your blog is now shared in RBI Group (Facebook).

Yuvraj Johri said...

awesome info...
any ideas if the same can be bought as I am collector of rare curency and stamps
thanks
:)

Srimalya Sen said...

I have a 10 Rupee denomination coupon of 24 Clement Town Camp WOB.
Interested buyers can contact me at 09831263354 or mail me at srimalyasen@gmail.com

Kings Hobby said...

Any body know how much the POW 1Anna costs

Parth Soni said...

i have note of rs 50 and his serial number is 444444 so any one buy this note please mail me on soniparth1992@rediffmail.com

manish gupta said...

I have first indian 500 rupye serial note,if u want call my no 7428570459