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Abstract

All existing histories on the lives of British prisoners of war held in Germany and Italy during the Second World War focus inwards on life in the prison camps. This article looks outwards, beyond the barbed wire. It examines the material exchange of letters and parcels between prison camp and home, as well as how home was conceived in P.O.W.s’ imaginative realms, to demonstrate the importance of loved ones in enabling prisoners to make sense of their captivity. It also shows how this dependence resulted in the reconfiguration of P.O.W.s’ roles within their families.