Private Eric Frank Millard

 

National Archives catalogue reference - WO 208/3320/5

 

Name: 5500120 Pte. Millard, Eric Frank.

Unit: 2nd Battalion The Hampshire Regiment, 78th Division.

Captured: Tebourba (Tunis), 4th December 1942.

Escaped: Campo 59 (Servigliano), 13th September 1943.

Left: Naples, 12th May 1944.

Arrived: Greenock, 27th May 1944.

Date of Birth: 26th September 1918.

Army Service: Since 27th April 1939.

Peacetime Profession: Van Driver.

Private Address: The Bungalow, Walk Lane, Humberston, Grimsby.

 

(All map references are to series ITALY 1:250,000).

 

1. CAPTURE.

 

I was captured at TEBOURBA (TUNIS) on 4 Dec 42.

 

2. CAMPS IN WHICH IMPRISONED.

 

Campo 98 (PALMERMO)     - 11 Dec 42 - 30 Jan 43.

Campo 66 (CAPUA)              - 1 Feb 43 - 28 Feb 43.

Campo 59 (SERVIGLIANO) - 1 Mar 43 - 14 Sep 43.

 

3. ATTEMPTED ESCAPES.

 

(a) At Campo 59 (SERVIGLIANO) in July 43 I made an attempt to escape. I was accompanied by a private of the Black Watch and an American corporal. We attempted to climb over the wall at one side of the camp, but we were discovered by a guard. We were punished with twenty-eight days cells.

 

(b) On 2 Sep 43 I was one of a party of fourteen who left the camp by means of a tunnel. I do not remember the names of any of the others. We were all recaptured. I was recaptured on 4 Sep by an Italian policeman who had seen me approaching a house where I had intended to seek assistance. He had noticed my Army battle dress. I was taken back to Campo 59 and was in cells awaiting court martial when I was released on 14 Sep.

 

4. LEFT CAMPO 59 (SERVIGLIANO).

 

I was released from cells on 14 Sep 43 after the Armistice had been declared. The S.B.O. told us that we should take cover in the district and await the arrival of the British Forces. He said that the Germans were on the way to take over control of the camp. The Italians left the camp at 2000 hrs and we walked out at 2100 hrs on 14 Sep.

 

I was in a party of forty at first, but we soon split up into small groups. I was accompanied by two paratroopers (names unknown). We walked South to S. VITTORIA (Sheet 25, X 5582), where I remained in a wood until 22 Sep as I was in a state of collapse. During this period Italians fed me and the two paratroopers continued without me.

 

On 22 Sep I started walking South to VENAROTTA (B 5876), where I stayed at a house until 27 Feb 44. On that day I again started walking and took approximately the following route:- ASCOLI (B 6572) - CIVITELLA (B 7253) - MONTE DI TRECROCI (B 6743) - PUTIGNANO (B 7341) - TERAMO (Sheet 29, B 7650) - CERMIGNANO (B 8243) - PENNE (B 9429) - CITTE S. ANGELO (C 0535) - PINETO (C 0645) - CASOLI (B 9946), where I stayed at several houses from 12 Mar 44 until 13 Apr 44.

 

On the evening of 13 Apr a South African and I walked to TORRE DI GERMANA (C 0942), where we stole a fishing boat. We were accompanied by twelve Italians. We sailed South and arrived at SAN VITA (C 3810), where we contacted British Troops on 14 Apr.

 

We were interrogated at SAN VITA, then sent to No.1 P/W Transit Camp at TORINO DI SANGRO (Sheet 30, C 4603), where we stayed overnight. On 15 Apr we were sent via FOGGIA (Sheet 37, J 2919), to NAPLES, arriving there on 16 Apr. We remained in NAPLES until our departure for the U.K. on 12 May.

 

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