Bombardier Albert Edward Jones

 

National Archives catalogue reference - WO 208/3324/113

 

Name: 851959 Bdr. Jones, Albert Edward.

Unit: 1st Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, 4th Indian Division.

Date of Birth: 13th March 1917.

Army Service: Since 3rd February 1936.

Peacetime Profession: Regular Soldier.

Private Address: 384 Hedge Lane, Liverpool, 7

 

1. CAPTURE.

 

I was captured 35 miles South-west of DERNA, LIBYA, on 3 Feb 42 with about nine others of my Regiment who had been fighting a rearguard action.

 

2. CAMPS IN WHICH IMPRISONED.

 

BENGHAZI                          3 - 10 Feb 42.

TARHUNA                           Feb 42 (4 days).

CAMPO 66 (CAPUA)         1 Mar - 25 Jun 42.

CAMPO 75 (BARI)              Jun 42 - Jun 43.

CAMPO 53 (MACERATA)  Jun - 15 Sep 43.

 

3. JOURNEY FROM MACERATA.

 

In MACERATA we heard of the armistice on 13 Sep 43. On the morning of 15 Sep about 1500 P/W left the camp. I started South with L/Bdr. ADCOCK hoping to reach the British lines. We reached TAVERNELLE (ITALY, 1:250,000, Sheet 24, B 8055) in the province of ASCOLI. I was unable to walk because of an ingrowing toenail, and we stopped at TAVERNELLE. Here ADCOCK met two British Officers and left me. I was in TAVERNELLE for about three weeks - from 2 Oct till about 23 Oct - and was living in a cave in the hills and being fed by the local peasants.

 

About this time ex-P/W who had been further South were coming back with the news that it was impossible to get through. I therefore went North via COMUNANZA (B 5385) and AMANDOLA (B 4787) to SARNANO (X 4383).

 

At SARNANO I joined one of the bands of Italian partisans which were numerous in the district. The party I joined was about 120 strong and contained two other British soldiers. Early in Nov, accompanied by one of the British soldiers, I left the partisans with the intention of reaching ROME, but we were unable to cross the mountains because of the snow. We returned to the partisans, with whom I remained till Dec, when the Germans broke up the group.

 

I decided to try to go South and reach the British lines. I was accompanied by Cpl. John WHITTAKER of the Worcestershire Regt. We went back to SARNANO for one night and, as we had arms, we tried to form a party of British escapers to go South. I arranged to see WHITTAKER three days after we left the partisans, but he did not arrived at S. ANGELO (X 5190) as arranged. When I reached S. ANGELO an Italian told me that one of the Englishmen had been killed. I went to a cornfield near a river and met some other ex-P/W who helped me to bury WHITTAKER's body. We arranged for the townspeople of S. ANGELO to take the body next day to the local cemetery and have it preserved and put in the cemetery wall. Italians and British ex-P/W told me that WHITTAKER, whom I had left with two Poles, had been with a party of five others the night before he was shot. They said that he had told his Italian girl friend in S. ANGELO that he would be dead next day. He had killed a Fascist the day before his death, and probably thought that he Fascists were on his trail. When I found his body there were two bullet holes in the right temple. There were conflicting reports as to the company he was in - British, Polish or Italian - before his death. I had the impression that WHITTAKER was somewhat unbalanced in the weeks preceding his death. I have no further definite information about the circumstances of his death.

 

After this I set out South to reach the British lines and made for the PESCARA district, accompanied by the soldier who had been with me on my attempt to reach ROME. The journey from S. ANGELO to PESCARA took from Dec 43 - Jun 44. We lived at farms on the way South, buying our food with money supplied by the partisan band before we left. I had been given about 2,000 lire on leaving and had received previous payments. My companion and I reached a town near TERAMO (Sheet 25, X 74). We stayed in this district for nine days collecting information. I left my companion here and continued with Sgt. Edward HOLDEN, the Green Howards, towards PESCARA. One day on a mountain path we were held up by a party of Italian rebels who disarmed us and took us to their headquarters. The leader of the band invited Sgt. HOLDEN and me to remain with them. We agreed to do so and to instruct them in the use of British arms.

 

On our second say with this group (6 Jun 44) we attacked a small German cavalry group and in the engagement I received a bullet wound in the leg. The engagement took place on the main road to CASTELLI (B 7632). I was in rather a bad state when we got away, and HOLDEN and two of the Italians went to BISENTI (B 8336) for a doctor. I did not see HOLDEN again. While I was being carried by the Italians from house to house to escape the Germans we met a British Commando soldier who arranged for a party of six Italians to carry me to ARSITA (B 8334). Here I was treated by an Italian doctor, but owing to the shortage of medical supplies, he could do little for me, and my wound was still bad. By this time the Germans were now to the North of us in the TERAMO district (B 74) while the British forces were in the neighbourhood of PENNE (B 92). On 9 Jun the Italian doctor offered to take me South to the British forces, to whom he wished to volunteer his services. He took me by motor to CHIETI (C 11).

 

In CHIETI I reported on 12 Jun to Capt. LESLIE who was in command of a small British group dealing with Allied ex-P/W. I was admitted to hospital in CHIETI, but was sent next day (13 Jun) to NAPLES where I was admitted to hospital on 18 Jun. I remained in hospital until 3 Aug. I was then sent to the camp for Allied ex-P/W at RESINA near NAPLES. After interrogation at RESINA I was sent to a rest camp at SALERNO. I left NAPLES by sea on 3 Sep for LIVERPOOL.

 

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