With a history of educating service personnel, when war broke out in 1939, The College of Estate Management delivered correspondence courses to over 13,000 servicemen at home and abroad.
The College also worked with the British Red Cross to deliver courses to British servicemen being kept as Prisoners of War (POWs) across Europe. Educational institutions across Britain sent study materials and organised for POWs to sit examinations while in captivity. At POW camps in Germany, the Netherlands and, briefly, Italy, POWs were able to start, or continue with, their studies. This scheme provided prisoners with an intellectual stimulus and, at some camps, groups of POWs worked together to teach each other – and nicknamed them ‘barbed wire universities’.