Private Clifford Charles Norden

 

National Archives catalogue reference - WO 208/3315/6

 

Name: 4458795 Pte. Norden, Clifford Charles.

Unit: 9th Battalion Durham Light Infantry.

Left: France, 30th September 1944.

Arrived: U.K., 1st October 1944.

Date of Birth: 1st March 1917.

Army Service: Since 15th January 1940.

Peacetime Profession: Shipyard worker.

Private Address: 170 Marsden Street, South Shields, Co. Durham.

 

1. Capture.

 

I was captured with the rest of my battalion South East of MERSA MATRUH on 29th June 1942.

 

2. Camps in which imprisoned.

 

Campo 82 (LATERINA): 6 Aug 42 - Jul 43.

Working camp attached to Campo 82: Jul - Sep 43.

 

3. Attempted escapes.

 

Nil.

 

4. Journey from LATERINA.

 

After signing of the Armistice with ITALY the Italian guards were removed from the camp some days before the arrival of the Germans. The P/W were thus able to leave the camp unmolested.

 

I left LATERINA with another private (name unknown) about 10 or 11 Sep 43. We walked to the outskirts of BORGO S. LORENZO (ITALY, 1:250,000, Sheet 18, Q 98), near which we stayed at a farm. While we were here we were provided with civilian clothing.

 

At the end of Nov we left and made our way South via ARREZZO (Sheet 23, R 23) - CORTONA (R 31) - PERUGIA (W 69) - South of MACERTA (Sheet 24, S 51) - to ASCOLI (Sheet 25, B 67). At ASCOLI we met an Italian officer who advised us to go to S. BENEDETTO DEL TRONTO (B 98) where, he said, it would be possible to get away by boat. We reached S. BENEDETTO DEL TRONTO on 24 Dec, only to hear that a Capt MONTGOMERY was the last British man to be evacuated about three days before.

 

At this time we met a party of 10 British P/W walking South and joined them. We passed through BELLANTI and CELLINO (Sheet 29, B 84) where we ran into some Germans, but managed to run off and escape. At this time my companion and I became separated from the rest of the party.

 

We returned to MONTALTO MARCE (Sheet 25, B 68) where we received shelter for a month from a farmer. We left at the end of Jan 44 and, passing through TERNI (Sheet 28, A 84), we finally reached a village near ROME called MONTE BONO (A 81) about the end of Feb. Here an Italian gave us boots and clothing through the Vatican Red Cross Association. We continued on to TIVOLI (F 97) where we met some more P/W, who told us it was impossible to go further South.

 

We therefore made our way back to MACERATA, where we contacted a group of Partisans who told us that a boating party was being arranged to take us off. In MACERATA we met Capt. FANE, Green Howards, and Capt. PATERSON, Northumberland Fusiliers. We were also joined by members of the crew of a Halifax which had crashed in the area.

 

Sometime in May the Germans returned and the party was forced to split up. I, with two other men, a Pte. WILLIAMS, S.A. Artillery, and a Private from the Green Howards, decided to head for FRANCE. We set off at the end of May and went through CINGOLI (Sheet 24, S 32) and CITTA DI CASTELLO (Sheet 23, R 53) to BIBBIANO (Sheet 18, L 26). At this point I lost contact with my companions and think that they were captured by the Germans in the town.

 

I returned alone to VICCHIO (Sheet 19, B 89) then on to BORGO S. LORENZO, PISTOIA (Sheet 18, Q 58) SESTOLA (L 42) passing through a line of fortifications between SPEZIA (Sheet 17, P 61) and RIMINI (Sheet 20, R 89) sometime in Jun.

 

At the end of Jun I arrived at VINADIO (Sheet 14, N 54) near the Franco-Italian border. Here I joined up with the Partisans and took part in all their activities, mostly doing sabotage work. About 10 Aug I met an English parachutist who told me to stop where I was for the time being. Two days later two German Divisions arrived in the neighbourhood. After a few skirmishes the partisan group broke up and we were all disbanded.

 

For the next five days I hid in some woods. Then I heard of the Allied landing in the South of FRANCE and decided to make my way there. I left MOLLIERES (N 53) with an Italian guide and just before crossing the frontier I again met the British Parachutist. He told me to contact a British Major at PUGET THENIERS. I crossed the frontier and arrived at S. SOUVEUR (N 52) on 20 Aug. I contacted the Maquis who gave me transport to PUGET THENIERS (FRANCE, 1:250,000, Sheet 37, T 36) where I reported to the Major. During the next three weeks I accompanied him on his journeys through the countryside.

 

We arrived in NICE one day after it had been liberated, and from here I was sent to AVIGNON to contact the British Advanced H.Q. From here I was sent to LYONS and then PARIS where I reported to Headquarters. I left from near BAYEUX by boat for the U.K. where I arrived on 1 Oct.

 

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