Lieutenant D. Lambert

 

Although Lieutenant Lambert's account does not involve an escape, it has been included for its interesting notes on P.G. 78.

 

National Archives catalogue reference - WO 208/3307/42

 

Name: Lieut. D. Lambert.

Unit: H.M. Submarine Regent.

Captured: 22nd April 1941.

Released: 28th November 1941.

Left: Lisbon, 25th December 1941.

Arrived: Bristol, 25th December 1941.

Private Address: Little Meadow, Northam, Devon.

 

After the abortive attempt to evacuate the British Legation staff in Jugoslavia in H.M.S. REGENT, I was detained by the Italians (22 APR 41) in a hotel in ERCEGNOVIA until 4 MAY. I was then taken by car to a P/W camp (for Jugoslav officers) at PRESIA, leaving there 5 days later for TIRANA, from where I was flown to BRINDISI and thence removed by train to SULMONA and to the P/W Camp 4 kms. E.N.E. at FONTE D'AMORE (10 MAY).

 

CONDITIONS SULMONA.

 

1. S.B.O. Colonel MUNRO (Australian).

 

2. Food. On the whole good if not plentiful. There was a dearth of potatoes. There was a daily allowance per head of litre of wine or beer. There was evidence, although it may have been coincidence, that when Red Cross food parcels were distributed, the normal camp rations were reduced.

 

3. Pay. There was no issue of pay. P/W were allowed to make purchases on credit. There was talk of the Italians' intention to issue camp money or vouchers. With regard to pay credited to P.W. in their accounts in U.K., some of the P/W from the R.T.C. (notably Capts. M.M. CLIFFORD and D.L. COLBECK) complained that, since the date of their capture, they have only received the pay corresponding to their substantive war rank (Lieuts.).

 

4. Morale. (a) P/W:- high. (b) Italian:- Hard to say, those with whom P/W came into contact all spoke English and were obviously chosen for the purpose. All, however, expressed their hatred for the Germans.

 

5. Exercise, Restrictions and Privileges. Up to NOV, when the privilege was withdrawn, a third of the officers in turn were taken out for walks under heavy escort. The 4 M.O.s. (P/W) had received pay and were allowed considerable freedom outside the camp in order to purchase medical comforts. The Italians stated that this was a reciprocal arrangement.

 

I was finally released, in exchange for an Italian, who had been held as a hostage in H.M.S. REGENT, and left SULMONA on 28 NOV.

 

I was taken to ROME, left there on 1 DEC in an Italian a/c (ALA LIT.) for BARCELONA, then went on to MADRID and stayed there until 17 DEC, when I went on to LISBON (23 DEC).

 

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