Corporal George Albert Drew

 

National Archives catalogue reference - WO 208/3324/138

 

Name: 7887693 Cpl. Drew, George Albert.

Unit: 6th Royal Tank Regiment, 7th Armoured Division, 8th Army.

Left: Naples, 24th October 1944

Arrived: U.K., 2nd November 1944.

Date of Birth: 15th February 1919.

Army Service: Since 22nd February 1937.

Peacetime Profession: Baker.

Private Address: 1, Rose Cottages, Low Road, Elm, Wisbech, Cambs.

 

1. CAPTURE.

 

I was captured at SIDI REZEGH, LIBYA, on 21 Nov 41.

 

2. CAMPS IN WHICH IMPRISONED.

 

TARHOUNA (LIBYA)                           Nov 41.

TRIPOLI                                                 25 Dec 41.

CAMPO 66 (CAPUA)                            Dec 41 - Jan 42.

CAMPO 59 (SERVIGLIANO)                  Jan - Feb 42.

CAMPO 53 (MACERATA)                    Feb - May 42.

CAMPO LAVORO (APERTELLO?)      May - Jun 42.

CAMPO LAVORO 112/4 (GASSINO)  Jun 42 - 10 Sep 43.

 

3. JOURNEY FROM GASSINO.

 

After the Armistice the guards at CAMPO LAVORO 112/4 (GASSINO (ITALY 1:250,000 Sheet 9, J 13) were getting ready to leave. Several had gone already, and on 10 Sep 43 I was able to walk out of the camp, together with several other prisoners. We went to the woods near SAN MAURO (J 1131) for three weeks, and then the party split up. I was with L/Bdr/ DAVIS (S/P.G.(-) 2703), and we went to the mountains where we joined a rebel band.

 

In Oct 43 the Germans attacked us, and by order of the leader, the band broke up. DAVIS and I returned to SAN MAURO. Here we were helped by a priest, and after a short time we went on to BARGE (Sheet 8, N 79). In this village we met a Communist leader, but he would not let us join him as fighting members, so we went back to SAN MAURO again.

 

In Nov 43 we went to ALPETTE (Sheet 9, H 9867) and joined another band of Yugoslavs, English, and Italians. We stayed with this band until Jun 44. During these months we operated in the districts of ALPETTE, LANZO (Sheet 9, H 85), CHIVASSO (J 24), ARZOLA (H 87), PONT (H 96), LOCANA (H 86), SPARONE (H 9668) and RIBORDONE (H 9973). There were numerous Englishmen with us. Of these the following were known to me, and returned to ENGLAND with me:

 

L/Cpl. RODERICK (S/P.G.(-)2714)

Pte. HUGHES (S/P.G.(-)2706)

Dvr. DINNING (S/P.G.(-)2701)

Tpr. DUKE (S/P.G.(-)2695)

L/Cpl. PAINTER (S/P.G.(-)2717)

L/Bdr. DAVIS (S/P.G.(-)2703)

Pte. STEPHENS (S/P.G.(-)2718)

Pte. JACQUES (S/P.G.(-)2707)

Pte. SNAITH (S/P.G.(-)2715)

L/Bdr. BARNARD (S/P.G.(-)2700)

Pte. READ (S/P.G.(-)2716)

 

In Jul 44 we were operating in the RIBORDONE district, and were short of food, arms and boots. We were attacked by the Fascists and Germans, and were forced to retire to the mountains for a while. On 26 Jul 44, 20 caskets of arms, etc. were dropped by the R.A.F. in the district near MT ARZOLA (H 8973), and we were able to collect one heavy Browning machine gun, 2,000 rounds of ammunition, 14 rifles, and 30 hand grenades. We were able to ambush vehicles and cyclists in the PONT, SPARONE, and LOCANA districts during the weeks that followed, until we were one again short of ammunition. The Germans were spread all over the district, and food was increasingly difficult to obtain.

 

We returned to RIBORDONE for a few days in late Sep 44, and decided that we would try to get away to FRANCE. The Italian Lieutenant in charge of our band asked for advice of an Italian Captain from the RIBORDONE valley, and this man said we should leave. Earlier in the summer we had met an Italian alpine guide, who offered to lead our party over the mountains into FRANCE.

 

On 1 Oct 44 we left RIBORDONE and went over the mountains to RONCO (H 9369) in VAL SOANA. The party consisted of our guide, the Italian Lieutenant, 30 Yugoslavs, five Vichy French, a South African Sergeant named NELL, and the 11 English listed above, besides myself. From RONCO we went to COLLE DU BARDONEY (Sheet 8, H 8887) then to COGNE (H 8391) where we spent one day in a mine in the mountains. We then went to PONT (ITALY, 1:100,000, Sheet 41, 7082), West of the TESTA DI MONTCORVE. Then to COLLE DEL NIVOLET (ITALY, 1:100,000, Sheet 41, 6577). We rested in a mountain refuge hut at BALLOTTA (not shown) and prepared to cross the frontier. There was already a considerable amount of snow, and a blizzard put an end to our first attempt. One Englishman in the party suffered from a frostbitten hand. Several of the Yugoslavs wore only carpet slippers on their feet. We were roped together and finally crossed the frontier in six feet of snow, on 10 Oct. We made the crossing at a point called COLLE LOSA (altitude 3280 metres) (spelling uncertain, no such name is found on either map). This region was unguarded, as the Germans considered it impassable. We crossed in the daytime.

 

We went to VAL d'ISERE (FRANCE) (also shown as VAL DE TSERE) (ITALY, 1:100,000, Sheet 41, 5175) and met a French Commandant who telephoned to the American commander news of our arrival. Transport took us to BOURG ST MAURICE (FRANCE) (ITALY, 1:250,000, Sheet 1, Z 18) thence to GRENOBLE (FRANCE, 1:250,000, Sheet 32, J 62) to the Hotel Savoy. Lieutenant WILLIAMS, Indian Army, gave us food and clothing, and we were prepared for our train journey. At 1500 hours that day (11 Oct) we were put on the train which was bringing home repatriates from SWITZERLAND. We arrived in MARSEILLES on 12 Oct 44, and sailed on 14 Oct 44 for NAPLES. We left NAPLES on 24 Oct and reached LIVERPOOL on 2 Nov 44.

 

In Dec 43 evaders passing through FORNO, VAL LANZO (ITALY, 1:100,000, Sheet 42, 9660) heard of an ex-P/W named Pte. "Jock" RUSSELL, Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders late of CAMPO 112/1 (Base) TORINO. He had been shot as an example, in the square of FORNO. He had been in action against the Fascists. I have seen his grave at FORNO. He was buried there by the British.

 

 

Lance-Corporal Leslie Roderick

 

National Archives catalogue reference - WO 208/3324/122

 

Name: 3908770 L/Cpl Roderick, Leslie.

Unit: 1st Battalion, South Wales Borderers, 10th Division, 8th Army.

Captured: Gambut, Libya, 18th June 1942.

Left: Naples, 24th October 1944

Arrived: Liverpool, 2nd November 1944.

Date of Birth: 15th June 1917.

Army Service: Since 18th September 1934.

Peacetime Profession: Regular Army.

Private Address: 7 Adelaide Street, Newport, Mon.

 

1. CAPTURE.

 

I was captured at GAMBUT (LIBYA) on 17 Jun 42.

 

2. CAMPS IN WHICH IMPRISONED.

 

DERNA                                             20 Jun - 22 Jun 42.

PALM TREE CAMP (BENGHAZI)  22 - 24 Jun 42.

Transit Camp (BRINDISI)                  1 - 5 Jul 42.

CAMPO 66 (CAPUA)                       6 Jul - 10 Aug 42.

CAMPO 87 (BENEVENTO)             11 Aug - Sep 42.

CAMPO 65 (GRAVINA)                  Sep 42 - Jun 43.

CAMPO 53 (MACERATA)              Jun 43.

CAMPO 112/5 (SPINETO)              Jun - 11 Sep 43.

 

3. ATTEMPTED ESCAPES.

 

Nil.

 

4. LEFT CAMPO 112/5 (SPINETO).

 

I was in Camp 112/5 (SPINETO) (ITALY, 1:250,000, Sheet 9, J 0664) when the Italian armistice was declared in Sep 43. On 11 Sep I left the camp with two companions, Pte. SPELMAN, and Pte. STEPHENS (S/P.G.(-)2718) both of the 5th Bn. Green Howards. We walked from the camp to the village of CHIESENOVA, which lies between COLLERETTO (J 0568) and FRASSINETTO (J 0169). We slept in a barn, and were fed and clothes by the inhabitants.

 

In Nov 43, I became ill with food poisoning, and an Italian woman from the village looked after me in her house. After about a month, I was able to return to the barn. There were two German garrisons in the vicinity, one at CUORGNE (J 0464), and one at CASTELLAMONTE (J 0864).

 

In Mar 44 we were re-captured for a few hours by three Italian Fascists. The villagers, however, attacked as we were being taken away, and we managed to escape. As a result of this, we were forced to leave the village, and moved to another barn near COLLERETTO. We later heard that the barn at CHIESENOVA had been burnt down by the Germans, but I do not know of any other reprisal on the village. At COLLERETTO we joined a band of Italian partisans, and from them we heard of a group of English P/Ws in the area. We made enquiries and joined this band in Jun 44, near RIBORDONE (H 9269). From this point my story is as related by Cpl. DREW (S/P.G.(-)2698).

 

 

Private Daniel Robert Stephens

 

National Archives catalogue reference - WO 208/3324/119

 

Name: 4398222 Pte. Stephens, Daniel Robert.

Unit: 5th Battalion Green Howards, 50th Division.

Captured: Knightsbridge (Libya), 1st June 1942.

Left: Naples, 24th October 1944

Arrived: Liverpool, 2nd November 1944.

Date of Birth: 16th March 1909.

Army Service: Since 19th December 1940.

Peacetime Profession: Labourer.

Private Address: 193 Folkestone Gardens, Deptford.

 

1. Capture:

 

I was captured at KNIGHTSBRIDGE (Libya) on 1 Jun 42.

 

2. Camps in which imprisoned:

 

DERNA                                            3 - 13 Jun 42.

TARHOUNA                                   13 - 23 Jun 42.

SOUNI BEN ADEM (nr TRIPOLI)  23 Jun - Jul 42.

TRIPOLI                                          Jul - 1 Aug 42.

Campo 66 (CAPUA)                        3 Aug - Sep 42.

Campo 53 (MACERATA)                Oct 42 - Jun 43.
Campo 112/5 (SPINETO)                Jun - Sep 43.

 

3. Attempted escapes:

 

Nil.

 

4. Left Campo No.112/5 (SPINETO):

 

On 11 Sep 43 I was at Campo 112/5 (SPINETO) (ITALY 1:250,000, Sheet 9, J 0664). The Commandant informed us that an Armistice had been declared, and we left the camp the same day.

 

I was with two companions, Pte. SPELMAN, 5th Bn. Green Howards, and L/Cpl. RODERICK, 1st Bn. South Wales Borderers (S/P.G.(-) 2714). From this point my story is as related by L/Cpl. RODERICK.

 

 

Private Wilfred Read

 

National Archives catalogue reference - WO 208/3324/120

 

Name: 4079459 Pte. Read, Wilfred.

Unit: 1st Battalion, South Wales Borderers, 8th Army.

Captured: Gambut (Libya), 18th June 1942.

Left: Naples, 24th October 1944

Arrived: Liverpool, 2nd November 1944.

Date of Birth: 6th January 1914.

Army Service: Since 7th June 1939.

Peacetime Profession: Miner.

Private Address: 45 Fair View, Pengam, Blackwood, Mon.

 

1. Capture:

 

I was captured at GAMBUT (Libya) on 18 Jun 42.

 

2. Camps in which imprisoned:

 

DERNA                                     20 Jun - 22 Jun 42.

Palm Tree Camp (BENGHAZI)  22 - 24 Jun 42.

Transit Camp (BRINDISI)          1 - 5 Jul 42.

Campo 66 (CAPUA)                  6 Jul - 10 Aug 42.

Campo 87 (BENEVENTO)        11 Aug - Sep 42.

Campo 65 (GRAVINA)              Sep 42 - Jun 43.

Campo 53 (MACERATA)          Jun 43.

Campo 112/5 (SPINETO)          28 Jun - 11 Sep 43.

 

3. Attempted Escapes:

 

Nil.

 

4. Left Campo No.112/5 (SPINETO):

 

At the time of the Italian Armistice, I was at Campo 112/5 (SPINETO) (ITALY 1:250,000, Sheet 9, J 0664). I left the camp with a party of 14 P/W, which included Pte. SNAITH (S/P.G.(-) 2715). I remained in hiding in a hut near COLLERETTO (J 0468) until May 44. In that month I joined a partisan group in the neighbourhood. I worked with them until Jun 44, when I heard of an English band being formed in the area. I got in touch with them, and from this point my story is the same as that related by Cpl. DREW (S/P.G.(-) 2698).

 

 

Private John Francis Snaith

 

National Archives catalogue reference - WO 208/3324/121

 

Name: 4469650 Pte. Snaith, John Francis.

Unit: 16th Battalion Durham Light Infantry, 46th Division, 1st Army.

Captured: Sedgene, Tunisia, 3rd March 1942.

Left: Naples, 24th October 1944

Arrived: Liverpool, 2nd November 1944.

Date of Birth: 9th January 1915.

Army Service: Since 8th January 1942.

Peacetime Profession: Joiner.

Private Address: 12 Thornaby Place, Thornaby-on-Tees, Yorks.

 

1. CAPTURE:

 

I was captured at SEDGENE about 30 miles South of BIZERTA, in TUNISIA, on 3 Mar 42.

 

2. CAMPS IN WHICH IMPRISONED:

 

BIZERTA                          3 - 14 Mar 42.

Campo 98, PALERMO     17 Mar - 11 Apr 42.

Campo 53, MACERATA  Apr 42 - 25 Jun 43.
Campo 112/5 SPINETO   25 Jun - 11 Sep 43.

 

3. ATTEMPTED ESCAPES:

 

Nil.

 

4. LEFT CAMPO No.112/5 (SPINETO).

 

On 11 Sep 43 I left Campo 112/5 at SPINETO with a party of about 14 P/W. We split up after leaving the camp and lived in farms and huts in the vicinity of the village of COLLERETTO (ITALY 1:250,000, Sheet 9, J 0468). We were fed by the people of the district, and I obtained some clothes and food from an organisation centre at CUORGNE (J 0464). I know of four members of the original party who were re-captured by the Germans during this period. Gdsmn. SMITH, Grenadier Guards, and Tpl. JONES, R.A.C., were both captured in Feb 44 while trying to reach SWITZERLAND. Gnr. SEAL 25 Field Regt. R.A. and Pte. COOPER W., Green Howards, were captured while hiding on 26 May 44. The originally party of 14 was finally reduced to four men, 637018 L/Bdr. ANDERSON, (regiment unknown), Pte. PAUL, G., Pte. LEE, H., Worcestershire Regt. Pte ROBERTS, T., 25th Field Regt., R.A. and myself. On 10 Aug, I joined a band of English partisans near RIBORDONE (H 9269) and my story from this point is the same as that of Cpl. DREW (S/P.G.(-) 2698).

 

 

Private Ivor Jacques

 

National Archives catalogue reference - WO 208/3324/129

 

Name: 4079153 Pte. Jacques, Ivor.

Unit: 1st Battalion South Wales Borderers, 4th Indian Division.

Captured: Gambut, 18th June 1942.

Left: Naples, 24th October 1944

Arrived: U.K., 2nd November 1944.

Date of Birth: 19th August 1919.

Army Service: Since 26th May 1939.

Peacetime Profession: Timber sawyer.

Private Address: 91 Cinderhill Street, Monmouth, S. Wales.

 

1. Capture:

 

I was captured at GAMBUT on 18 Jun 42.

 

2. Camps in which imprisoned:

 

DERNA                                                2 days.

BENGHAZI                                          8 - 9 days.

BRINDISI                                             10 - 12 Jul 42.

Campo No.66 (CAPUA)                       13 Jul - Sep 42.

Campo No.87 (BENEVENTO)             Sep - Oct 42.

Campo No.65 (GRAVINA)                   Oct 42 - May 43.

Campo No.53 (MACERATA)               End May 43.

Working Camp No.112/3 (VENARIA)  18 Jun - 11 Sep 43.

 

3. Attempted Escapes:

 

Nil.

 

4. Left Working Camp No.112/3 (VENARIA) (ITALY 1:250,000, Sheet 9, H 93):

 

On 10 Sep 43 the Italian guards deserted the camp and I left the following day with two companions, Pte. HUGHES (S/P.G.(-) 2706) and Pte. Brown, J., S.W.B. We went into the mountains and after two days we split up. I continued with BROWN while HUGHES went off on his own. We stayed for a month near TORINO (Sheet 9, J 02) at a village called FIANO (H 94) where we were fed by civilians.

 

In Mid-Oct we left for PRATIGLIONE (H 96) where we remained for three weeks. At the beginning of Nov we joined the partisans working in the same area. At the end of the month we were attacked by the Germans and forced to disperse. BROWN and I went to ALPETTE (H 96), where we joined the partisans. We remained in ALPETTE till May when we moved up into the mountains with the partisans. A few days later we were attacked again and forced to disperse once more. During this time I lost contact with BROWN.

 

I made my way over the mountains to the valley of CANISCHIO (H 96) where I contacted another party of partisans. About 20 May we were forced to move up into the mountains above RIBORDONE (H 96) where we remained for a few weeks and then moved to PONT (H 96). A few days later I met Cpl. DREW (S/P.G.(-) 2698). From this point my story is the same as that of Cpl. DREW.

 

 

Private Leonard Morgan Hughes

 

National Archives catalogue reference - WO 208/3324/130

 

Name: 3908595 Pte. Hughes, Leonard Morgan.

Unit: 1st Battalion South Wales Borderers, 4th Indian Division.

Captured: Gambut, 18th June 1942.

Left: Naples, 24th October 1944

Arrived: U.K., 2nd November 1944.

Date of Birth: 29th November 1916.

Army Service: Since 8th January 1934.

Peacetime Profession: Hotel hand.

Private Address: 19 School Street, Watts Town, Glamorganshire.

 

1. CAPTURE.

 

I was captured at GAMBUT on 18 Jun 42.

 

2. CAMPS IN WHICH IMPRISONED.

 

Campo 65 (GRAVINA)                   Jul 42 - May 43.

Campo 53 (MACERATA)               Jun 43.

Working Camp 112/3 (VENARIA)  Jul - Sep 43.

 

3. ATTEMPTED ESCAPES.

 

Nil.

 

4. LEFT WORKING CAMP 112/3 (VENARIA) (ITALY 1:250,000, Sheet 9, H 93).

 

I left the camp on 11 Sep 43 with Pte. BROWN, S.W.B. and Pte. JACQUES (S/P.G.(-)2696). We made for the mountains and went to a village where we received food and shelter. After two days I left my companions and continued on alone. I wandered over the countryside for the next ten months, never staying long at any one place. In Jun 43 I met Cpl. DREW (S/P.G.(-)2698) at PONT (Sheet 9, H 96). From this point my story is the same as that of Cpl. DREW.

 

 

Lance-Bombardier George Francis Davis

 

National Archives catalogue reference - WO 208/3324/133

 

Name: 1546207 L/Bdr. Davis, George Francis.

Unit: 107 Battery, 27th Battalion Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, 8th Army.

Captured: Tobruk, 20th June 1942.

Left: Naples, 24th October 1944

Arrived: U.K., 2nd November 1944.

Date of Birth: 6th August 1904.

Army Service: 9th December 1939.

Peacetime Profession: Timberman.

Private Address: 89 Bardolph Street, Leicester.

 

1. Capture:

 

I was captured at TOBRUK on 20 Jun 42.

 

2. Camps in which imprisoned:

 

Campo (BRINDISI)                                             25 Jul - 6 Aug 42.

Campo No. 66 (CAPUA)                                    6 Aug - 15 Nov 42.

Campo No. 53 (MACERATA)                            Nov - May 43.

Working Camp No. 112/22 (BUSONENGO(?))  May - Aug 43.

Working Camp No. 112/4 (GASSINO)               Aug - 10 Sep 43.

 

3. Attempted Escapes:

 

Nil.

 

4. Left Working Camp No. 112/4 (GASSINO) (ITALY 1:250,000, Sheet 9, J 13).

 

After the conclusion of the Armistice with ITALY the guards were removed and I walked out of the camp with Cpl. DREW (S/P.G.(-) 2698). I was with him throughout the whole of my subsequent journey and my story is the same as that contained in his report.

 

 

Driver Joseph Dinning

 

National Archives catalogue reference - WO 208/3324/135

 

Name: T/182151 Dvr. Dinning, Joseph.

Unit: R.A.S.C., 8th Army.

Left: Naples, 24th October 1944

Arrived: U.K., 2nd November 1944.

Date of Birth: 12th August 1916.

Army Service: Since 4th April 1940.

Peacetime Profession: Brewer.

Private Address: 15, "P" Block, Rochester Dwellings, Newcastle-on-Tyne.

 

1. CAPTURE.

 

I was captured at TOBRUK on 21 Jun 42.

 

2. CAMPS IN WHICH IMPRISONED.

 

Campo 60 (LUCCA)           5 Aug 42 - 12 Nov 42.

Campo 53 (MACERATA)   13 Nov 42 - 11 Mar 43.

Campo 112/4 (GASSINO)  11 Mar - Sep 43.

 

3. JOURNEY FROM GASSINO.

 

After the Armistice we were able to walk out of CAMPO 112/4 (GASSINO), and I made my way to BRANDIZZO (ITALY, 1:250,000, Sheet 9, J 13). I procured a cycle and some civilian clothes. I was ill for three weeks, and some villagers took me to LANZO (Sheet 9, H 85) where I later joined a band of partisans. I worked with this band for five months as a driver. During an action my wallet fell into the hands of the Fascists, and shortly afterwards the price put upon my head was 50,000 lire. Owing to this and to quarrels with the Partisan leader, I left the band in the Spring of 43 and joined another group, where I worked as the Commander's driver. We wrecked transport, blew up railway lines, cut telephone wires, and disarmed Carabinieri. We operated in the districts of RIBORDONE (Sheet 9, H 9973), ARZOLA (H 87), PONT (H 96), LOCANA (H 86), and SPARONE (H 9668). In May 44 I met several Englishmen, including 7887693 Cpl. DREW, George Albert, 6th Royal Tank Regiment (S/P.G.(-)2698), and from this point my story is the same as his.

 

 

Lance-Bombardier Leonard Henry Barnard

 

National Archives catalogue reference - WO 208/3324/136

 

Name: 953091 L/Bdr. Barnard, Leonard Henry.

Unit: 67th Medium Regiment Royal Artillery, 8th Army.

Left: Naples, 24th October 1944.

Arrived: U.K., 2nd November 1944.

Date of Birth: 2nd May 1918.

Army Service: Since 12th December 1939.

Peacetime Profession: Corn Merchants Assistant.

Private Address: Rose Cottage, The Drift, Hutland Road, Ipswich, Suffolk.

 

1. CAPTURE.

 

I was captured at TOBRUK on 21 Jun 42.

 

2. CAMPS IN WHICH IMPRISONED.

 

TOBRUK                                                   Jul 42.

TMIMI                                                       Jul 42.

DERNA                                                      Jul 42.
BENGHAZI                                                Jul 42.

TARANTO                                                 Jul 42.

CAMPO 85 (BRINDISI)                            Jul - Aug 42.

CAMPO 87 (CAPUA)                               Aug - Nov 42.

CAMPO 53 (MACERATA)                       Nov 42.

CAMPO 106/25 (CASANOVA ELVO?)  17 May 43.

CAMPO 112/4 (GASSINO)                      4 Aug 43 - 10 Sep 43.

 

3. JOURNEY FROM GASSINO.

 

After the Armistice we were able to walk out of CAMPO 112/4, and I left on 10 Sep 43 with Pte. PERRY, Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders; Pte. Ian MacLEOD-ROBERTSON (same regiment); and Pte. Malcolm McKAY, Royal Artillery (A.A.).

 

We went to GASSINO (ITALY, 1:250,000, Sheet 9, J 13) then to RIVODORA (Sheet 9, J 1429) where we obtained civilian clothes. We were taken to a house in the village where we stayed for two months. In Nov 43 I caught typhoid fever. I was put to bed in a hay loft, and a doctor was brought to attend me. A woman who had been a nurse came to look after me daily.

 

When I recovered, McKAY and MacLEOD-ROBERTSON went off together, and PERRY and I went to SAN MAURO (Sheet 9, J 1131). We went by train to TORINO (Sheet 5, J 02), thence by train to CIRIE (H 9947). Here we met some other evaders, and were taken by car to FORNO CANAVESE (H 96) near PRATIGLIONE. We were put in touch with a band and went back to RIVODORA (J 1429). We were given food and clothes, and stayed there for three days. We then went to ALPETTE (H 9867) and lived in huts for some time.

 

In May 44 we met various Englishmen, among whom was 7887693 Cpl. DREW, George Albert, 6th Royal Tank Regiment (S/P.G.(-)2698), and from this point my story is the same as his.

 

 

Trooper Edward Henry Duke

 

National Archives catalogue reference - WO 208/3324/141

 

Name: 7907903 Tpr. Duke, Edward Henry.

Unit: 6th Royal Tank Regiment, 7th Armoured Division, 8th Army.

Left: Naples, 24th October 1944

Arrived: U.K., 2nd November 1944.

Date of Birth: 11th December 1916.

Army Service: Since 15th March 1940.

Peacetime Profession: Borough Council Employee.

Private Address: 61, Hamilton Road, Golders Green, London, N.W.11.

 

1. CAPTURE.

 

I was captured at SIDI REZEGH (LIBYA) on 21 Nov 41.

 

2. CAMPS IN WHICH IMPRISONED.

 

CAMPO 66 (CAPUA)                                            Dec 41 - Jan 42.

CAMPO 59 (SERVIGLIANO)                               Jan 42 - Feb 43.

CAMPO 53 (MACERATA)                                    Feb 43 -

CAMPO LAVORO 106/? (LUCEDIO, TORINO)  - Jun 43.

CAMPO 112/4 (GASSINO, TORINESE)               Jun 43 - 10 Sep 43.

 

3. ATTEMPTED ESCAPE.

 

During the time I was in CAMPO 59 (SERVIGLIANO) a number of us attempted to escape by making a tunnel, but this was discovered before completion.

 

4. JOURNEY FROM GASSINO.

 

At CAMPO 112/4 (GASSINO) (ITALY, 1:250,000, Sheet 9, J 13) on 10 Sep 43 we heard that the Germans were occupying the towns near the camp. After much agitation we forced the Italians to open the gates. At about 2000 hours I left the Camp with 4391655 Pte. JACKSON, John Henry, 4th Bn Green Howards (S/P.G.(-)2688). We went on to the CHIVASSO-TORINO road and asked some cyclists for information about German troop movements. We were told that the English had invaded GENOA and were advancing towards TURIN, so we decided to hide until they arrived. We hid in the woods for two or three days, and civilians supplied us with food. We were then offered shelter by a woman at CASTIGLIONE, (TORINESE) (ITALY, 1:250,000, Sheet 9, J 13). We stayed with her for two months, and were given civilian clothes. In Nov 43 we decided that we were endangering the safety of these people, for the Germans were searching the houses for escaped English prisoners. The woman gave us money and told us we could go to a small house belonging to the family, at ALPETTE, VAL CANAVESE (Sheet 9, H 9867). There, in mid-Nov 43 we joined a band of partisans. This band included about 17 Englishmen and two South Africans. The total strength was about 50 - 60 men. None of the English was allowed arms.

 

Little happened until Apr 44 when the Germans began to clean up the valley. The band had grown to about 200 members, but it was short of arms and ammunition, and the English were still not allowed to be armed. We had heard that the R.A.F. had dropped arms in the valley of LANZO (Sheet 9, H 85), but out band had not been able to pick them up owing to the German activity. Some of our party went to look for them, but on the way they found that the huts used as Headquarters had been attacked, so they had to give up. Also, nine Englishmen were ill with 'flu and pneumonia, one a stretcher case. The band, therefore, split up and took to the hills.

 

Pte. JACKSON and I left on 3 May 44 and after three days in the hills we returned to the house at ALPETTE. We were again supplied with food by the local people, and remained there until Jun 44. We met an Italian ex-Navy Lieutenant, who was forming a partisan band. We rounded up about 20 Englishmen, and the remainder were mostly Alpini troops. We were still unarmed. On 13 Jul 44, the band attacked a German house in CHIVASSO (Sheet 9, J 24), we surprised them while they were in bed, and took one German and 20 republicans prisoner. We also took rifles, six trucks and a quantity of petrol. In the RIBORDONE district (Sheet 9, H 9973) we were attacked by Fascists and Germans, and had to retreat to the mountains. Before we left we managed to remove the wheels from most of the stolen trucks. We went to the ARZOLA district (Sheet 9, H 87) and were in a bad state. We were short of food and arms again, and badly needed boots.

 

On 26 Jul 44 20 caskets of arms were dropped near MT ARZOLA (Sheet 9, H 8973) and we were able to pick up one heavy Browning machine gun, 2000 rounds of ammunition, 14 rifles and 30 hand grenades. We operated in the PONT (Sheet 9, H 96), LOCANA (H 86) and SPARONE (H 9668) districts, and ambushed vehicles and cyclists till we were once more short of ammunition. The Germans were occupying the valley and food was very short. We returned to RIBORDONE for a few days, at the end of Sep 44, and decided to try and get to FRANCE. The Italian Lieutenant asked the advice of the Captain in command of the partisans in the valley, and we were told to go.

 

We left on 1 Oct 44, and from this point my story is the same as that of 7887693 Cpl. DREW, George Albert, 6th Royal Tank Regiment (S/P.G.(-)2698).

 

 

Private John Henry Jackson

 

National Archives catalogue reference - WO 208/3324/137

 

Name: 4391655 Pte. Jackson, John Henry.

Unit: 4th Battalion Green Howards, 50th Division.

Left: Naples, 24th October 1944

Arrived: U.K., 2nd November 1944.

Date of Birth: 9th June 1918.

Army Service: Since 15th July 1939.

Peacetime Profession: Miner.

Private Address: 28, Cedar Crescent, Leazes, Burnopfield, Newcastle-on-Tyne.

 

1. CAPTURE.

 

I was captured at GAZALA (LIBYA) on 1 Jun 42. I was slightly wounded.

 

2. CAMPS IN WHICH IMPRISONED.

 

Transit Camp, BENGHAZI                     Jun 42.

Transit Camp, TRIG TARHOUNA         Jun 42.

TRIPOLI                                                Jun 42.

CAMPO 66 (CAPUA)                           9 Jul 42.

CAMPO 73 (CARPI)                             20 Jul 42 - Mar 43.

CAMPO 53 (MACERATA)                   Mar - Jun 43.

CAMPO LAVORA, (VICELLI)             Jun 43.

CAMPO LAVORA 112/4 (GASSINO)  Jul - Sep 43.

 

3. JOURNEY FROM GASSINO.

 

While I was in CAMPO 112/4 we heard on 10 Sep 43 that the Germans were in CHIVASSO (ITALY, 1:250,000, Sheet 9, J 24). We were able to walk out of the camp, and at 2000 hrs on 10 Sep 43 I left in company with 7907903 Tpr. DUKE, Edward Henry, 6th Royal Tank Regiment (S/P.G.(-)2695). From this point my story is the same as his.

 

Return to Escape Menu