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Henry Masterman Mist

Henry Masterman Mist Henry Masterman Mist (goatee on the left) in Ruhleben, ca 1915. BC Archives MS-2570

Henry Masterman Mist was working in Dresden, Germany, as an insurance agent when England declared war on Germany on August 4, 1914. Mist’s first diary documents his uncomfortable life as an “Englander” trapped on the wrong side of the conflict. He was monitored by the police, and threatened by anonymous letter writers.

Finally, on Saturday, February 6th, 1915 Mist was arrested. He writes in his second diary: “while in bed about 8 this morning was arrested and brought to Dresden and locked up in the Schiessgasse with about 24 other Britishers, white and coloured.” Two days later he was transferred to Ruhleben, a camp for enemy civilians, near Spandau, where he spent the next 3 years.

Accommodation was at first quite primitive because Ruhleben had been built as a trotting race course – and the prisoners were housed in the stables. As time wore on, the camp became better organized, and the prisoners settled into a life that included entertainment evenings, and, most importantly regular food parcels from home. 



Find these records in the BC Archives

MS-2570 Henry Masterman Mist fonds, Files 1,2,6, 1914-1918

Diaries of Heny Masterman Mist and a copy of Prisoners’ Pie, the Ruhleben Camp magazine.