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MS 929

Reference code

MS 929


Second World War papers of Henry Gerson relating to Saint-Denis British Internment Camp, near Paris



Administrative / Biographical history

Henry Gerson

Saint-Denis British Internment Camp, near Paris was opened in June 1940 and remained in use until liberated by the United States army in August 1944. In early 1942, there were more than 1,000 male British internees in the camp. The food rations were augmented by the International Red Cross packages, and there was a good library with recreation provided by sports activities and theatre, so that their diet and general lifestyle in the camp was better than other internment camps or prisoner of war camps.

Henry Gerson was already living in Paris by the time the war broke out and was taken to the camp in 1941. He remained there until it was liberated in 1944.



Extent & medium

1 box

Content description

- Booklet entitled ‘Verses by British Internees’ signed by a number of the contributors. It was published at the British Internment Camp in Saint-Denis and includes the signatures of Édouard Fiset (who designed the cover) and the following who contributed poems: B.H. Morgan; James, E. Thomas; Richard O’Brien; M.R. Bremner; A.H. Pullen; Barnett D. Conlan; G.D. Taylor; Alex Potter; Tom Waltham; Colin Barry; H.J. Hantler; Paul Piet; James Clarkel; J.W. Watts; and Juliem J. Loisel

- Ephemera from Saint-Denis Internment camp, including 2 metal tags belonging to Henry Gerson; a French Red Cross card, a canteen card, a cinema ticket, and a card excusing Gerson from parades

- Playbill and programmes for concerts, lectures and plays put on at the Saint-Denis Internment Camp by the ‘Entertainments Committee’. The entertainment was provided by internees

- Weekly, then fortnightly printed newsletter called, ‘St. Denis Sporting News’. Printed between 17 January 1942 and 7 February 1943, the light-hearted newsletter was designed to keep internees up-to-date with sporting news in the camp

- Wooden block with ‘Rations 18 – 4’ written on the front and W. Wilcox signed on the back

- Woodblock with etching of Grande Caserne Saint-Denis, Paris – the British Internment Camp in Saint-Denis made by an internee of the camp in 1940-1941 – signed ‘A.M’ [A.D. Mouradian]

- A selection of 10 different French Christmas cards, printed Saint-Denis during the war. All the cards are blank

- Sporting news and theatre playbills

- [mid-1930s] postcard of ‘Drancy – Les premiers Gratte-ciels de la region Parisienne’ [The first Skyscraper in Paris]. It depicts a development built in the inter-war years for a housing program implemented by Henri Sellier. Between 1942 and 1944 it was used as an internment camp for confining Jews who were later deported to the extermination camps during the German military administration of Occupied France during World War II

- Autograph album containing signatures, sketches, verse and notes by Gerson’s friends in the camp.

- Manuscript by Gerson providing an ‘explanation of autograph album’ describing how he ended up in Saint-Denis in 1941 and why he decided to compile an album of the signatures of his friends.

- Brochure about the Canadian National Vimy Memorial


The collection was assembled by Henry Gerson during the Second World War

Associated material

This collection is part of a larger collection of Second World War papers held by Eton College Library. The other collections are:
MS 436: Second World War papers of John Henderson, principally relating to Field Marshal B.L Montgomery
MS 927: Second World War papers of Sergeant Annie Gouk
MS 928: Second World War papers of J.C. Ogle, principally relating to ‘Operation Overlord’
MS 930: Second World War collected ephemera
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