Gunner David Tom Davies

 

National Archives catalogue reference - WO 208/3324/123

 

Name: 1492720 Gnr. Davies, David Tom.

Unit: Coast Regiment, Royal Artillery.

Captured: Sphakia, Crete, 1st June 1941.

Escaped: Gaas, 28th November 1943.

Left: Bari, 21st July 1944.

Arrived: U.K., 18th September 1944.

Date of Birth: 11th July 1918.

Army Service: Since 17th July 1939.

Peacetime Profession: Clerk.

Private Address: Pen-y-Banc, Dryslwyn, Carm.

 

1. Capture.

 

I was captured at SPHAKIA (CRETE) on 1 Jun 41.

 

2. Camp in which imprisoned.

 

CANEA  1 Jun - 14 Jul 41.

No.1 Camp, SALONIKA (GREECE, 1:100,000, Sheet 3672)  14 - 26 Jul 41.

STALAG XVIIIA, WOLFSBERG (AUSTRIA) (YUGOSLAVIA, 1:250,000, Sheet Y2, Y60).  Jul - Aug 41.

Working party near GAAS (GERMANY, 1:250,000, Sheet P 48, C 66), attached to STALAG XVIIIA:  Sep - 28 Nov 43.

 

3. Attempted Escapes.

 

Nil.

 

4. Escape.

 

On 28 Nov 43 I got out of the working party near GAAS (GERMANY, 1:250,000, Sheet P 48, C 66) attached to STALAG XVIIIA with Capt. Roy Spencer NATUSCH, New Zealand Army, who had joined the working party as a private, and Pte. Joseph WALKER. We had managed to prise the lock of the door leading out of the compound at 2300 hours and decided to make our way towards BUDAPEST. We had no maps and compasses but we had food saved from Red Cross parcels. We walked towards the Austro-Hungarian frontier and crossed into HUNGARY without incident near GAAS (GERMANY, 1:250,000, Sheet P 48, C 66). We walked for five miles and then travelled in an Easterly direction. We hid up all the next day in a wood and that night we took a North-easterly course.

 

5. Recapture.

 

On the night of 2 Dec we built a fire in a wood. This attracted the attention of some woodmen who questioned us. On finding out that we were escaped British P/Ws they went to fetch the Hungarian police. The police took us to a military prison in SZOMBATHELY (HUNGARY) (AUSTRIA, 1:75,000, Sheet 5157) and interrogated us. We were fairly well treated here. On 5 Dec we were taken to a concentration camp at KISKOMAROM (HUNGARY, 46 33' N. 17 12' E.). We contacted a German woman, the wife of a Hungarian Jew, and she and her husband promised to help us. The woman gave us 200 pengo and the husband said he would give us maps and compasses. We planned to cross the border into YUGOSLAVIA and join the Patriots. On 19 Mar 44 the Germans occupied HUNGARY. We contacted the German woman and her husband but the latter turned against us. The woman, however, promised to help us in spite of her husband's threats to report her to the police. The Germans, however, surrounded the place before we could get away. On 20 Mar we were moved into the town of SZIGETVAR and that night Capt. NATUSCH was taken away. As he was leaving the building he escaped and we did not see him again.

 

On 21 Mar we were taken to BELGRADE and placed in a concentration camp at ZEMUN (YUGOSLAVIA, 1:250,000, Sheet Y 17, Y 22). Here we met Sgt. Major McLEAN, a Canadian, and continued from then onwards with him. We attempted to escape several times by cutting the wire but were unsuccessful as we were betrayed by Italian internees. On 16 Mar the Allies raided BELGRADE and we attempted to get away. We were captured on reaching the outer wire.

 

6. Final Escape.

 

During the raid on 17 Apr the camp was burned to the ground and we were put in a barbed wire pen for the night. We managed to get out on the night of 17 Apr and decided to make our way across the marshes outside BELGRADE. On our way across the marshes we met two Americans, Lt. BRIDGES and S/Sgt. LOVELAND, who joined us. Just outside ASANIA (X 91) Lt. BRIDGES and Sgt. Major McLEAN were exhausted so S/Sgt. LOVELAND and I went into the town. Here we contacted a shepherd who went out to get the other two and took us all to his house. We met some YUGOSLAV patriots here and joined up with them.

 

About 29 Apr we met a New Zealander at OGAR (Sheet Y 17, X 81) and we all went to contact an officer of the British Military Mission at FRUSKA-GORA Mountain range (Sheet Y 16, X 56, X 86). He sent us with a battalion of patriots to BATROVCI (Sheet Y 16, X 25). We stayed here until 20 Jul when an aeroplane was sent from BARI to collect us and take us back there.

 

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